Steven D. Nielsen
Historical Fiction Romance Author
Two Runs of Stone Book Series
Book Three, “Hearts Desire”
Preceding Peter on his planned ocean voyage Catherine’s foreman, Torkil Olsen had quit the mill and with his uncles caught an ocean going wind ship bound for New York City! The ship was a converted rum rummer and still reeked of sweet alcohol! A few months later Peter Jensen and his betrothed Maren Carlsen departed from Denmark, and later from England to New Orleans and from there to eventually arrive in the heathen infested plains of Western America. The foundation of Catherine Jensen’s otherwise secure life was beginning to crumble.
Then before she’d even taken a breath her poorly educated, would be daughter-in-law Krista Holsen had also embraced the idea of immigration to America but with something akin to a bonfire! Not only that but Krista was learning to read English! Painfully awkward and very sluggish at first nevertheless each day the girl studied there was progress. “Observe Fru Jensen”, she stated proudly one day; “The Pres – i – dent of the U – nite – ed States is Ab – ra – ham Lincoln…”
An attitude of humility also seemed to settle upon Krista that touched Catherine deeply; she literally observed the girl evolving from a Gypsy to a quasi scholar. In addition to all of the above Catherine’s her dear friend Casten Pedersen was also talking about leaving Denmark. Was anybody close to her staying? What was left? The grist mill, but with Ferdinand drinking as heavily as his deceased father had it wouldn’t stay in business for long.
With these and other concerns, such as Evette Ericksen and her little Hans the heiress was feeling her heretofore secure world coming apart at the seams
One quiet morning sitting near a sunny window in her brown overstuffed chair, and reading from Peter’s Book of Mormon about the crucifixion of Christ and of His appearing in the Americas shortly thereafter, Catherine began to feel the spirit of God gently pouring over her soul. Like sunshine breaking thru a cloudy day tears of joy welled up and slowly streamed down her face; she felt her soul fill with light. Catherine’s heart felt at peace and somehow she knew that she too would make her way across the great Atlantic and that somehow she would also find Torkil Olsen…
A few months later we find Maren and Peter Jensen, Gunda and Claus Wangsgaard Elizabeth Anne Brown and company led by Englishman Trevor Wells somehow survivors of a New Orleans quarantine, a harrowing trip up the Mississippi and a cholera plague that killed 85 of their members quarantined on a boggy Island near St. Louis Missouri! Badly mauled by hardhearted city officials they now find themselves deposited on the banks of the frozen Missouri River on a frosty January day in 1866, near the small town of Atchison Kansas. With the goal of wintering near Omaha Nebraska before setting out in the Spring toward the Rocky Mountains; the 528 survivors, their belongings and livestock were refugees smack in the heartland of America totally bewildered but now completely disheartened.
Welcomed by a somewhat nervous Atchison town populous and finding no accommodations for so great a number the European immigrants are forced to continue their journey but before doing so did manage to procure a few wagons and ox teams in Kansas – enough to carry trunks and other heavy belongings. What couldn’t be loaded they carried on their backs.
Meanwhile Torkil Olsen and his uncles and their families have escaped the chilling grip of New York City slums and after a hazardous journey that included freezing cattle-cars, and worn-out wagons have finally arrived amid hundreds of frozen lakes near snow bound Madison, Wisconsin. On the outskirts of town good fortune provided them a small cluster of abandoned log cabins and barns littered with dry and forgotten hay – remnants of a small settlement for workers of a now defunct lumber milling company.
Spared from the freezing weather, and heavy snows yet with starvation knocking at their door, the former residents of Holbaek Denmark seem to have beaten the odds. Good fortune continues as Torkil Olsen finds employment working in a small rudimentary cheese factory. With thousands of miles and an ocean between them and each with entirely different aspirations in life, oddly enough Catherine Jensen and Torkil Olsen greet each day with hope of a future together.
Riveting adventure, poignant romance and fascinating characters await you within the pages of “Heart’s Desire.” Travel along with us as post Civil War America struggles to its feet, and a call to “Gather” sounds throughout England, Europe, Denmark and all of Scandinavia eventually washing a wave of stalwart souls upon the shores of the greatest nation on earth.
Experience the lives of those who braved the oceans and prairies, started families, cleared land, conquered the forests and desert wilds of our nation to pave the way so that others might be a free people, choose a trade, marry who they would, live where they wanted, prosper or fail all under a constitution protecting the God given rights of Americans; each person to achieve according to hard work, luck and individual choice and dictated by individual conscience and not that of tyrannical force from whence so many came.
Here’s to more good reading!