In a Grove of Maples

Sheltering Trees

Christian - Historical Fiction
215 Pages
Reviewed on 04/13/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Heather Stockard for Readers' Favorite

The year is 1897. Newlyweds Beryl and Edward Massart journey from civilized Quebec to a small farm in Wisconsin to begin their lives together. Despite her sadness at leaving her family, possibly forever, Beryl is charmed by her new home and very much in love with her husband. They are happy and hopeful, but as the weeks pass and reality sets in, their optimism fades. The young couple finds marriage more difficult than they expected. Edward has a temper and they both have trouble communicating. With a baby on the way and winter closing in, Beryl is anxious, especially when her husband takes a job at a logging company to make ends meet and leaves for the winter. Over the next few months, their marriage will be tested by separation, tragedy, and temptation, and Beryl will have to rely on her friends and faith in God to see her through.

In a Grove of Maples: Sheltering Trees by Jenny Knipfer is a heartfelt tale of the struggles of married life on a nineteenth-century farm. Edward and Beryl are both relatable and sympathetic. Knipfer expertly captures the emotion and stress of their lives and relationship. It’s a touching and realistic portrayal of love, loss, and friendship. The story is told through both diary entries and flashbacks in the past, which add suspense and keep the reader turning pages. Beryl’s faith and her integrity make her a strong female character. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in historical romance.

Kristine Zimmerman

In a Grove of Maples is an engrossing historical fiction novel set in Wisconsin in the late 1800s. It is the story of a young couple, Beryl and Edward Massart, who are starting their married life away from family on a small farmstead. The story is told both in diary entries and real-time narrative. Both Edward and Beryl share their stories which make for a full picture of their life. Edward needs to leave his pregnant wife during the first winter of their marriage, and we hear about his time in a logging camp as well as Beryl’s time alone running the farm. We are also introduced to several other citizens of the small town of Maple Grove.

Jenny Knipfer has created fully realized characters and made the town of Maple Grove come to life. I enjoyed the descriptions of life on a small farm and all the challenging and rewarding tasks that come with running it. It was easy to get wrapped up in the lives of the Masserts and their neighbors and friends. In a Grove of Maples presents a fascinating look at what life was like for a young couple starting out on their own and how necessary it was to have friends and neighbors that you could call on for help. Even though the book is set in the late 19th century, the struggles Edward and Beryl have in their marriage are things many people deal with today. In a Grove of Maples is the first book in the series Sheltering Trees. I look forward to the next book in this delightful, Christian historical fiction series.