Author Jenny Knipfer creates such a beautiful cast of characters and a story that leaves you wondering how strong, and brave these early settlers were and all that the endured. A story that will tug you at your heart with all the emotions that these characters bring out to show how it was back then. The true friendships that Beryl makes along the way with neighbors and people in the small town, and the love that withstands everything insight, proves to a young couple that together as one team they can move forward.” Whisperocky
“This is perhaps one of my favorite books that I’ve read, I didn’t want it to end. I loved how relatable the characters were and how the author captured true human feelings. Growing up in the rural farmland of Wisconsin I felt a true connection to the story, picturing what my ancestors must have felt settling in Wisconsin beginning to farm. The author did wonderful with historical accuracy; including running a small dairy farm, town life, social life and even down to traditional meals that folks from Wisconsin are familiar with.
“I loved how the story wasn’t a fairytale, because unfortunately that isn’t life. There are bumps, rough patches and heartache along the way. The settlers that came to these areas they tried to tame the wilderness, dealt with loneliness and feeling secluded but also enjoyed the good times with family and friends in a close knit community; that is the way it was and the author clearly shows that throughout the story. I also appreciated the true human feelings throughout the book, how many times we just don’t say how we feel and we assume which leads us to problems. This story is a blend of heartache, feelings of longing, the challenges faced by settlers and most of all the enduring quality of love.” Farmgirl
“Jenny had a way with making me feel like I was right there along with the characters and felt like I was a part of their lives. It all felt so real!” Woodkeyja
“This is set in the past and is beautifully written with some wonderful characters. The back and forth with time periods works well for this story along with the way the author breaks the changes up so the reader can follow the story.” Hfamily5
“Five stars for this sweet and wonderful read! I believe that this is Knipfer’s best yet! I think the best thing about this is story is that it offers hope to us readers that we can really get through the toughest times in our lives. Such wonderful inspirational messages!
“This book seems so realistic to me because I have some of the same problems that Beryl and Edward do. I must admit that I had to snicker at their thoughts on certain things. I could relate to half or most of what Beryl does. She’s like my twin! She has backbone that’s what I admired about her. I hope there’s more to their story soon! I will add this to my list of 2021 faves.” Lori Parish
“What a wonderful heart wrenching story. I can honestly say I’ve never read a story like this one. I personally loved the diary entries. This story is a reminder that one never knows what’s going to happen in life, just keep faith, gain lifelong friends and hold onto love.” Dawn Legros
“What an incredible story of life in rural Wisconsin in the late 1800s. Immigrants, newly weds, and the struggles they face as they build their life and home in a grove of Maples.” Mary Maccauley
“Knipfer did an awesome job portraying the challenges of a newly married couple trying to make a living on the frontier. This story was heartbreaking at times, but it is a true picture of what can happen to a marriage during times of great stress. Ultimately, this novel had a message of hope which makes it well worth the read. Other wonderful things about this novel are Knipfer’s creative use of chronology, her characterization, and her descriptions of frontier life.” Amy Walsh
“Author Jenny Knipfer creates such a beautiful cast of characters and a story that leaves you wondering how strong, and brave these early settlers were and all that the endured.” Keren Herrera-Lyles
“Knipfer’s newest release, In a Grove of Maples, felt like coming home. With hints of Janette Oke and Little House on the Prairie, Knipfer takes her readers into a place and time that felt so nostalgic, I could practically hear my own grandmother telling me her story through the pages.” Kathryn Bochman
“What a wonderful heart wrenching story. I can honestly say I’ve never read a story like this one. I personally loved the diary entries. This story is a reminder that one never knows what’s going to happen in life, just keep faith, gain lifelong friends and hold onto love.” Dawn LeGros
“A wonderful book, that makes you think of life, possibly, in a different way than you have known it to be.” Lana Burton
“I just love this book and can’t wait for the rest in the series. The writing is so clear it is easy to imagine the surroundings. It is also so honest and paints a picture of what life really is, rather than sugar coating it.” Helen
“This is the first I have read of this author, I really enjoy her writing style , its like picking up a old journal and getting immersed in the passages and memories.” Bea Followill
“There is so much that happens in this beautifully written with such wonderful characters. The back and forth with time periods works well for this story along with the way the author breaks the changes up so the reader can follow the story. Such a good read.” Erralee Hendrian
“I could envision my own great grandparents in this story. I truly felt like I knew the neighbors walking with Beryl and Edward.” Theresa
“This book gave a family feeling of love. It wasn’t without challenges, but that made it more interesting. You could feel every emotion along with the characters.” Lori Chasko
D. Donavon Midwest Book Review
Historical novel readers who choose In a Grove of Maples for its pioneer roots will find this first book in the Sheltering Trees series holds a compelling series of insights that go beyond the usual exploration of a husband and wife's new frontier home in the late 1800s.
It's an early immigrant's story because Beryl and Edward Massart have sojourned over a thousand miles from Quebec to Wisconsin to claim land sight unseen, with its promise of maple trees and a new beginning.
It's a love story because the ties that bind these two together are romantic, despite an introductory diary entry that laments the 'tornado of differences' that has driven them apart from their love of one another. The journey has promised much, fulfilling Beryl's dreams of "traveling and living somewhere other than the land she grew up on."
It's compelling because new wife Beryl faces many changes and the unexpected departure of her husband from her life when he accepts a job as a teamster in a logging camp, leaving his pregnant wife alone to tend the animals on their homestead in the face of winter.
It's also religious, because Beryl often turns to God to question His intentions and influence on their life and the unexpected courses it has taken: "My heart prays and longs for a new path with Edward. Please God, let him desire the same thing."
These new beginnings probe deeply into the psyches of husband and wife, exploring not only the ideals and realities of disparate personalities who face completely new, challenging conditions ahead, but how adversity tears them apart and places temptation and possible dangerous directions into the young family's new world.
Jenny Knipfer excels at probing the roots of these social, spiritual, and psychological influences. She crafts a vision of new beginnings and the possibility of dreams fulfilled, then sets it on end with many unexpected twists.
As Beryl absorbs new truths about life and passes them on to her children, readers receive a warm story about adaptation, survival, and love that immerses on many levels.
Readers of women's fiction and Christian historical romance will find In a Grove of Maples an engrossing story of 19th century rural life that examines matters of heart, ethics, morality, and belief as Beryl faces a new world with few resources other than her faith and love. It concludes with an unexpected twist that comes full circle to leave the door open for more.
Reviewed By Heather Stockard for Readers’ Favorite
The year is 1897. Newlyweds Beryl and Edward Massart journey from civilized Quebec to a small farm in Wisconsin to begin their lives together. Despite her sadness at leaving her family, possibly forever, Beryl is charmed by her new home and very much in love with her husband. They are happy and hopeful, but as the weeks pass and reality sets in, their optimism fades. The young couple finds marriage more difficult than they expected. Edward has a temper and they both have trouble communicating. With a baby on the way and winter closing in, Beryl is anxious, especially when her husband takes a job at a logging company to make ends meet and leaves for the winter. Over the next few months, their marriage will be tested by separation, tragedy, and temptation, and Beryl will have to rely on her friends and faith in God to see her through.
In a Grove of Maples: Sheltering Trees by Jenny Knipfer is a heartfelt tale of the struggles of married life on a nineteenth-century farm. Edward and Beryl are both relatable and sympathetic. Knipfer expertly captures the emotion and stress of their lives and relationship. It’s a touching and realistic portrayal of love, loss, and friendship. The story is told through both diary entries and flashbacks in the past, which add suspense and keep the reader turning pages. Beryl’s faith and her integrity make her a strong female character. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in historical romance.
Reviewed By Kristine Zimmerman for Readers’ Favorite Five-star review
In a Grove of Maples is an engrossing historical fiction novel set in Wisconsin in the late 1800s. It is the story of a young couple, Beryl and Edward Massart, who are starting their married life away from family on a small farmstead. The story is told both in diary entries and real-time narrative. Both Edward and Beryl share their stories which make for a full picture of their life. Edward needs to leave his pregnant wife during the first winter of their marriage, and we hear about his time in a logging camp as well as Beryl’s time alone running the farm. We are also introduced to several other citizens of the small town of Maple Grove. Jenny Knipfer has created fully realized characters and made the town of Maple Grove come to life. I enjoyed the descriptions of life on a small farm and all the challenging and rewarding tasks that come with running it. It was easy to get wrapped up in the lives of the Masserts and their neighbors and friends. In a Grove of Maples presents a fascinating look at what life was like for a young couple starting out on their own and how necessary it was to have friends and neighbors that you could call on for help. Even though the book is set in the late 19th century, the struggles Edward and Beryl have in their marriage are things many people deal with today. In a Grove of Maples is the first book in the series Sheltering Trees. I look forward to the next book in this delightful, Christian historical fiction series.
Self-publishing Review 4 and a half-stars:
Jenny Knipfer transports readers a century into the past with In a Grove of Maples, immersing the reader in an age of honor and struggle, resilience and religion, and survival in the face of impossible odds. Devoted lovers who are on the edge of a new life must battle forces both within and without to persevere in the brutal Wisconsin frontier. Dramatic character development and lavish descriptive language make Knipfer's prose shine, and carry this emotionally stirring plot from start to finish. The storytelling is casual but unmistakably aged, except for a few anachronistic moments in the dialogue, and the research into this particular time period is remarkable, while the variation in narrative format keeps the story engaging throughout.