Monday, February 16, 2015

Review ~ Proving Up by Carla Olson Gade {A Novella}

About the book

Promises of free land lure thousands of hardy homesteaders to pull up stakes and head west to establish new settlements on the Great Plains. Follow nine couples as they pursue their dreams, deal with hardship, and encounter romance in their quest to build a bright future. A celebration of true grit and steadfast faith. In Carla Olson Gade’s novella, Proving Up, Elsa Lindstrom applies her scientific theories to growing trees on the Nebraska plains, intruding on a handsome homesteader’s hard work and experience. Will their dreams come to ruin, or will love prove their success? The Homestead Brides Collection is available here:

My Review Proving Upby Carla Olson Gade

Rich in historical detail, Proving Up is a fascinating story. We’re introduced to two Swedish families that traveled to the Nebraska Plains in hopes of becoming landowners by participating in the Timber Culture Act of 1873. I didn’t know much about this time period in history, especially involving the Swedish community. Facing unimaginable hardships, they persevered through many challenges before they could actually own the land they had been homesteading. After five years, they had to provide proof that they had lived and worked the land raising trees, hence ‘proving up’.  

Gade has done her research and brought a moving tale of determination to succeed, while showing a great love of the land, the trees, and the people. The focus of the story is on Nils and Elsa, neighboring tree farmers but there is much included about community and the importance of supporting one another through tough times. I especially liked Elsa’s brothers.   
photo courtesy of author

The story kept me glued to my chair, not because of any suspense factor but because of the plot, dialogue and heart of the characters;  their faith and rock solid belief that God was with them no matter what.  I thought the end wrapped up a little too quickly but it didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the story. 

This novella is worthy of high marks and I highly recommend it to any fan of historical fiction. It was reminiscent of reading a Janette Oke book, only shorter.  

Proving Up by Carla Olson Gade is part of The Homestead Brides Collection recently released by Barbour Books on Feb 1st. I was provided a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review of her novella. No compensation has been received.

About the Author

Native New Englander Carla Olson Gade writes adventures of the heart with historical roots from her home amid the rustic landscapes of Maine. With seven books in print, she is always imagining more stories and enjoys bringing her tales to life with historically authentic settings and characters. An avid reader, amateur genealogist, photographer, and house plan hobbyist, Carla’s great love (next to her family) is historical research. Though you might find her tromping around an abandoned homestead, an old fort, or interviewing a docent at a historical museum, it’s easier to connect with her online at


  1. I loved this interview featuring Carla. Her writings are always very inspirational and I greatly enjoy her books.
    I sew things for a hobby and make things for my home and gifts for family.
    Homestead Brides Collection looks like a great read and I look forward to doing so soon !
    Thank you for the giveaway.
    I follow Stuff and Nonsense by e mail

  2. Hi Jackie! Thank you for coming by and for your kind comments about my books. What a nice hobby! My mother is a seamstress, too, so I have been the recipient of many hand sewn things made by her through the years. I do not have that same gift, but do enjoy crafting sometimes.

  3. Sounds like an interesting book. Pioneer life was tough--and I'm glad it was my ancestors and not I who faced it. Pioneers were a brave lot.

    1. Me, too , Bethany! Of course, I have always wanted to be able to slip back in time for just a moment to see what it was like, except I would probably be the laundry maid or something equally distasteful. :)

  4. As romantic as the past seems, I'm also so glad that our ancestors did all the hard work and prepared the way for us!


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1 Corinthians 1:3 ~ Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.