Thursday, July 3, 2014

Steal the North: a debut

Heather Brittain Bergstrom’s debut novel, Steal the North, focuses on love, loyalty, and family. Bergstrom has won awards as a short story author, and judging by her first book, we will become very familiar with her novel writing if she chooses to continue.
In the beginning, we meet Emmy Nolan, a fifteen-year-old girl being raised by a single mother in Sacramento, California. Kate, Emmy’s mother, created her life in Sacramento after becoming pregnant with Emmy at sixteen and escaping the fundamentalist Baptist community she was raised in and eventually ostracized by. Kate’s sister, Bethany, opted to remain in their home of rural, Eastern Washington with her husband and to continue as a member of the church even after her sister was cast out. After years of no communication between the sisters, Kate receives a call from Bethany asking her to let Emmy come stay with her for a summer to participate in a faith healing meant to help Bethany conceive a child. The faith healing requires a virgin—unbeknownst to Kate or Bethany, Emmy is not as sheltered as everyone thinks.  Reunited with an aunt and uncle that she hasn't been with since infancy, Emmy falls in love with the land she came from and a boy who is tied to it. 
This is much more than a story of teen love and people overcoming their pasts.The story line and characters are more complex than any of the reviews state--so be prepared. This is also classified as Christian Fiction. While the theme of Christianity is prominent, be prepared for sexual content, violence, and some obscenity.Overall, this is a very satisfying read that opens the door for many topics of discussion. You will come to feel like you know the characters.
In addition, Bergstrom seems to have written this novel from personal experience. She was raised in a similar fundamentalist community in a small farming town in eastern Washington. Check out her bio for more detail.


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