Book-In-Focus: Honoring Anna by Douglas Hoff
Honoring Anna is a story of three Norwegian immigrants as they make their journey to leave their life in Norway and search for a better future in the "land of milk and honey". Although this is a story of these three lives, it also reflects the lives of many immigrants who came to America in the 1900s.
Anna, a girl who lost a mother and brought into a new family structure that included a contentious relationship with her stepmother decides to leave and start a life of her own. When she finally saves up enough, she heads into a month-long journey towards a new life. And, in this journey, she meets a man she was set to start her new life with, Rasmus.
Rasmus, a man who is engaged to another woman back in Norway meets Anna and falls in love with her almost instantly. As they begin their life together, he receives a letter from Norway informing him that his fiance who was initially hesitant on following him to America has finally decided to make the journey to reunite. He decides to honor his engagement which ends his relationship with Anna.
Iver, a boy from the docks searching for the promise of a better life in a far away place comes to America. He meets Anna and falls in love with her.
Honoring Anna is a part biography and part historical fiction. The details of this story are taken from real life events in Anna's life as recounted by her children and friends. Some details are supplied by historical facts of that era. This book truly captures the nuances of what it was like for many of the immigrants to America at that time. It encapsulates their motivations, their hopes, their dreams, and even their misfortunes. Honoring Anna can be read simply as a romance novel however when one looks closely enough, it also tells a story of resilience, sacrifice, love, and of loss.
Reviews and What Readers Say
" This was an interesting & educational description of how immigrants from Scandinavia settled on the U.S. prairies. The obstacles & trials that they had to overcome enduring the foul smelling, illness-prone hold of the ship, praying that immigration officials would accept them & not send them back to their country of origin, learning a new language, to dealing with extremes in weather are entertained in the story. The romantic element with surprises grips the reader to the last page."
―Edith O. Crosby, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
“ The passage over must have been horrible! The writer made me feel the dread of heading back down to steerage. Well done!”
―Madmomma, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
" Honoring Anna is a novel based on the author’s research about his spouse’s immigrant Norwegian ancestors. Just enough “good” news arrived back in the fjords of Norway to convince the main character, Anna, that her future will be much better in America. Every stage of the journey West is rife with unexpected challenges and self-made good fortune. The author masterfully conveys the trials and tribulations of those who chose to settle on the wide-open plains of the western Dakotas. Success hinged on ingenuity, dogged determination and hard work. Settlers taking advantage of any bits of good weather mother nature doled out and neighbor helping neighbor leveraged their limited resources. I highly recommend this 1st novel. I was born to parents who acted on their dreams about the land of opportunity and immigrated to the US. Their experience makes this title a must-read for me." ―P. G. Jacobs
" Amazing story of those that took part in building this great nation. Compelling, surprising, realistic. Great read for those that enjoy the historical perspective of life of our early settlers. Relationships matter most and this was the focus of the characters in "Focusing Anna."
―D. Branch, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
“ Great read detailing early immigration difficulties in the U.S. Reader gets caught up in the lives and adventures of the main characters. Fascinating knowing that it's taken from actual events. "
“ Beautifully written, an amazing true story that perfectly captures the foundations of character this country was built on."
“ A beautiful testament of love, longing, hopes and dreams. "
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After college, Douglas Hoff and his wife Molly purchased the family farm. Doug was named the SD Young Farmer of the year, the North American Seedstock Producer of the year, and the 2000 US Livestock Man of the Year. He wrote Honoring Anna as a tribute to our immigrants. It is a true story of unyielding faith, love, and honor.