They stare at us from old photographs; stiff, severe, unsmiling, dressed in black. They appear to be emotionless, colorless, devoid of passion. We think of them as occupying a black and white world frozen in time. But our perception is false. These people, whose genes we share, who struggled mightily to give us what we take for granted, did not live in a monochrome world and certainly were not devoid of passion. LAND OF PROMISE, LAND OF TEARS presents nine months in the lives of Ole and Helena Branjord and their children. Ole is a Norwegian immigrant; a kind, gentle man who questions his ability to provide for and protect his family. His wife, Helena, a native of Finland, was forced at the age of sixteen to find work in Norway as a serving girl and milkmaid. In addition to work, she found discrimination and sexual abuse. There, she made a powerful enemy who also has emigrated to America and lives just miles from her. Her name is Hanna and her desire is to destroy the Branjord family. The children are Oline, age eleven; Martin, age eight; and Berent, age four. Berent’s goal in life is to wear pants. It was a custom in Norway for boys to wear dresses until the age of five. This custom, to the consternation of Berent, is being practiced in the Branjord home. The novel examines the joys, difficulties, trials and tragedies of living on the Iowa prairie in 1869,
Jerry L. Twedt was born in rural central Iowa and earned his B.A. from Luther College before serving in the United States Army as a member of the Counter-Intelligence Corps. After his service, he went on to earn his M.A. in theatre from the University of Illinois. The author worked for many years as a television producer-director and twice won the National Association of Television Program Executives award for the best locally produced program in the nation. He has published a number of plays and has authored two books: “Holiday Stories” and “Growing Up In The 40’s”, originally published by Iowa State University Press. Now retired and living in Florida, Mr. Twedt is married with two grown children and enjoys tennis, golf, and reading.
When I finished the book, I was drained.It is a wonderful story of the Norwegian pioneers in Iowa, beautifully told. One of the best books I have ever read.
I started reading "Land of Promise,Land of Tears" and couldn't put it down. Author Jerry Twedt had me feeling as if I was living the life of those rugged pioneers. A great read!