Book: The Children's Blizzard
Author: Melanie Benjamin
This is my 23rd read for the year
This is the story of two young teachers - Raina and Gerda - and the students they are in charge of in an 1888 blizzard that hit northern Tennessee and South Dakota. On an unusually warm January day, the weather quickly turned to a blizzard that the prarie was not expecting. Caught at their individual schools with a group of children, these young women had to make a choice. Barely beyond childhood themselves, they knew if they stayed at the schools, they might run out of heat before the blizzard past and they would all die. When Raina makes one choice, and Gerda another - both lead to very different outcomes that will change their lives forever. Told from the points of view of both Raina and Gerda plus a few other main character - this historical fiction book leads us through one of the most tragic blizzards of the time.
This was a very good book. I did not know anything about this blizzard, and while the characters are fiction, the circumstances (and the death of over 200 people) are not. The book moves quickly through the blizzard, and I was tense the whole time wondering how Raina, Gerda, and the children in their charge were going to get through the blizzard unharmed. The second half of the book is the "after" of the blizzard, and while I didn't find that as interesting as the build up and climax of the blizzard itself, it is still well written. There is even an epilogue at the end, where we climb into the future of these characters which I always appreciate.
A well written, tragic tale that I am glad I read. Don't miss this one.