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The Seeds of Change

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Larkspur Nielsen is ready for a change. Her parents have passed on, and her older brother is successfully running the family business. She bristles at the small-mindedness that permeates life in her small Ohio community, and she sees little chance of a satisfying future there. She has a little money saved, and after turning the tables on a crooked gambler who had fleeced s Larkspur Nielsen is ready for a change. Her parents have passed on, and her older brother is successfully running the family business. She bristles at the small-mindedness that permeates life in her small Ohio community, and she sees little chance of a satisfying future there. She has a little money saved, and after turning the tables on a crooked gambler who had fleeced several locals, including her younger brother, she can stake a new start for herself and her three sisters. As the gambler's threats of revenge echo in her ears, she and her sisters head to Independence, Missouri, to join a wagon train bound for Oregon. Knowing that four women traveling together will draw unwanted attention, Larkspur dons a disguise, passing herself off as "Clark" Nielsen, accompanying his three sisters. But maintaining the ruse is more difficult than Larkspur imagined, as is protecting her headstrong, starry-eyed sisters from difficult circumstances and eligible young men. Will reaching their goal prove too much for them?


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Larkspur Nielsen is ready for a change. Her parents have passed on, and her older brother is successfully running the family business. She bristles at the small-mindedness that permeates life in her small Ohio community, and she sees little chance of a satisfying future there. She has a little money saved, and after turning the tables on a crooked gambler who had fleeced s Larkspur Nielsen is ready for a change. Her parents have passed on, and her older brother is successfully running the family business. She bristles at the small-mindedness that permeates life in her small Ohio community, and she sees little chance of a satisfying future there. She has a little money saved, and after turning the tables on a crooked gambler who had fleeced several locals, including her younger brother, she can stake a new start for herself and her three sisters. As the gambler's threats of revenge echo in her ears, she and her sisters head to Independence, Missouri, to join a wagon train bound for Oregon. Knowing that four women traveling together will draw unwanted attention, Larkspur dons a disguise, passing herself off as "Clark" Nielsen, accompanying his three sisters. But maintaining the ruse is more difficult than Larkspur imagined, as is protecting her headstrong, starry-eyed sisters from difficult circumstances and eligible young men. Will reaching their goal prove too much for them?

30 review for The Seeds of Change

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    I have read almost every book this very prolific author has produced. With very well researched historical books you can feel the authenticity coming through as you flip the pages of each of her books. This is the first book in a new series called Leah's Garden. Larkspur Nielsen is tired of the closed mindedness of her home town in Ohio and after winning at a poker game when it comes down to it she knows she must make her escape. Escape she does with her sisters in tow in the middle of the night and I have read almost every book this very prolific author has produced. With very well researched historical books you can feel the authenticity coming through as you flip the pages of each of her books. This is the first book in a new series called Leah's Garden. Larkspur Nielsen is tired of the closed mindedness of her home town in Ohio and after winning at a poker game when it comes down to it she knows she must make her escape. Escape she does with her sisters in tow in the middle of the night and she once again uses the disguise of "Clark Nielsen" accompanying his sisters to Independence, Missouri, to join a wagon train bound for Oregon. We see the hardships they face along the way as they settle in a new territory. Published June 1st 2021 by Bethany House Publishers. I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Lauraine Snelling is a prolific author of historical romance, and she is well suited to the role. She excels at her craft which makes her books a delight to read. In her latest offering, she begins a new series and I cannot wait until the next one to come out. Four sisters and two brothers live in Ohio working in the mercantile and growing gardens with the seeds their mother left behind for them. When the younger brother gambles away their home place, the oldest sister comes to the saloon to win Lauraine Snelling is a prolific author of historical romance, and she is well suited to the role. She excels at her craft which makes her books a delight to read. In her latest offering, she begins a new series and I cannot wait until the next one to come out. Four sisters and two brothers live in Ohio working in the mercantile and growing gardens with the seeds their mother left behind for them. When the younger brother gambles away their home place, the oldest sister comes to the saloon to win back what he's lost. Larkspur, or Lark as she is called, figures out that the gambler has been cheating. When she calls him out on it, she makes an enemy, just as she had made an enemy of the deacon who had been leading the church since their pastor had met with an unfortunate accident. Fearing for her life, her older brother, Anders, sends her and their sisters to Nebraska to buy a farm and to settle in a new place. The trip to Nebraska is not without its difficulties: Lark masquerading as a man to protect her sisters, children who are suddenly orphaned, one of the sisters becoming ill, and disgruntled wagon train members. The girls take in the children and are befriended by a doctor and his nephew who were on their way to California. The one thing the girls want to do more than anything is to begin to grow and sell flower seeds. All of the girls have been named for various flowering plants and shrubs--Larkspur, Delphinium, Forsythia, and Lilac, and all of the girls are as pretty as their name-sakes. There are twists and turns throughout the book that make it an engaging read. Like I said before, Lauraine excels at weaving a tale and I am sure that in the subsequent books, she will tie up all the loose ends quite well, because the gambler and the deposed deacon are still out to get Lark. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a seed catalog to fulfill all of your floral dreams. Bethany House and NetGalley.com provided the copy I read for this review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    I so enjoyed this read, and really didn't want it to end, but at least there is another book to look forward to. The Nielson family is very close, and with danger lurking, Larkspur resumes being Clark, and they are off to a new life for the sisters. There are four sisters traveling and they increase there family along the way, they are willing to give it all for others. I loved how the title of the read resonates in several ways, and also with help in their survival. These girls are will prepared I so enjoyed this read, and really didn't want it to end, but at least there is another book to look forward to. The Nielson family is very close, and with danger lurking, Larkspur resumes being Clark, and they are off to a new life for the sisters. There are four sisters traveling and they increase there family along the way, they are willing to give it all for others. I loved how the title of the read resonates in several ways, and also with help in their survival. These girls are will prepared for their journey because of the foresight of their parents, and they share their skills with others. Such a heartwarming read, and they wear their faith and love of the Lord for all to see! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    The Seeds of Change by Lauraine Snelling is the debut of Leah’s Garden series. I have read all of Lauraine Snelling’s novels and she never fails to disappoint. I thought The Seeds of Change was well-written with developed characters. I could tell Lauraine Snelling did her research. The author captured the time period with the dialogue, clothing, attitudes, conveyances, and so much more. I was transported back in time as the Nielson sisters traveled west looking for a new place to settle. This is The Seeds of Change by Lauraine Snelling is the debut of Leah’s Garden series. I have read all of Lauraine Snelling’s novels and she never fails to disappoint. I thought The Seeds of Change was well-written with developed characters. I could tell Lauraine Snelling did her research. The author captured the time period with the dialogue, clothing, attitudes, conveyances, and so much more. I was transported back in time as the Nielson sisters traveled west looking for a new place to settle. This is an inspiring tale. We get to see what people can accomplish when they put their minds to it and rely on God. The Seeds of Change is a faith filled story. The Nielson sisters as well as the majority of the other characters are Christians who rely on God. They pray for guidance and want to make sure they are following God’s path for their lives. This is also a story about survival. It was not easy to survive in the west. This story has drama, faith, family, joy, sorrow, and romance. The Seeds of Change is an engrossing story that held my attention until the very end. I was sorry to turn the last page. I look forward to reading the next story in Leah’s Garden series. The Seeds of Change is an uplifting, engaging tale that lingered with me longer after I finished it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Larkspur gets into a jam one night when she tries to help her younger brother out of a pickle he has gotten into at the local saloon with a card sharp. Larkspur, as well as being a member of the local church is also a great poker player. She enters the saloon on the way home from church one afternoon when said brother and his friend have lost big time. She fools the cardsharp into thinking she doesn't know how to play and then ends up taking the pot and getting her brother and his friends' prope Larkspur gets into a jam one night when she tries to help her younger brother out of a pickle he has gotten into at the local saloon with a card sharp. Larkspur, as well as being a member of the local church is also a great poker player. She enters the saloon on the way home from church one afternoon when said brother and his friend have lost big time. She fools the cardsharp into thinking she doesn't know how to play and then ends up taking the pot and getting her brother and his friends' property back as well as a tidy nest egg for herself. When she exposes how the man was cheating he vows revenge. He can't stand the fact that he was bested by a young female. Larkspur and her sisters, Forsythia, Delphenium and Lilac take off to join a wagon train on the Oregon Trail, leaving their older brother to run the family mercantile and take over the house their parents left them and also their younger brother who doesn't want to come along. They end up buying some property in a small town in Nebraska on the trail and settle there. This is a great tale of women that can do it all in a pinch and just an interesting look at life in a wagon train and in a small town / farm. With four sisters I'm thinking there will end up being four parts to this series and I look forward to reading them all. I have voluntarily reivewed a copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Betsy Hale

    Lauraine Snelling wrote The Seeds of Change in the Leah’s Garden series. This was an excellent book that took place shortly after the end of the Civil War. Larkspur (Lark, Clark) Nielson is the oldest of the sisters, with Forsythia following close behind in age. Delphinium and Lilac were the other sisters with their brother Anders being the oldest of the clan. Jonah was the seventeen year old brother who had a penchant for getting into trouble and poker was not his strong suit. Lark was the on Lauraine Snelling wrote The Seeds of Change in the Leah’s Garden series. This was an excellent book that took place shortly after the end of the Civil War. Larkspur (Lark, Clark) Nielson is the oldest of the sisters, with Forsythia following close behind in age. Delphinium and Lilac were the other sisters with their brother Anders being the oldest of the clan. Jonah was the seventeen year old brother who had a penchant for getting into trouble and poker was not his strong suit. Lark was the one who taught him the game and he came to her begging for her help in getting his money back as well as his friend Bernie’s deed when they lost it to a newcomer to town. She was able to obtain the money and the deed back from the cheating newcomer, but she embarrassed him, and her brother heard that he swore revenge. Lark knew that she was already in trouble with Deacon Wiesel from the church because she had walked out on his sermon just before Jonah had approached her. When Lark arrived home around midnight with Jonah, the rest of her family rallied around to the victory and the possible trouble following her home. A decision was made for Clark to escort “his” sisters out west toward Nebraska with the brothers staying in Ohio. The girls could shoot and liked adventure . This was another great book by Snelling and one that I highly recommend. I can’t wait for more in the series. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. #TheSeedsOfChange #LeahsGarden #LauraineSnelling

  7. 4 out of 5

    Molli

    I have only read a handful of Lauraine Snelling books, and I'll be honest, this one was not one of my favorites. I love a good "going west" story and was excited to dive into this one, but the lack of romance is what got me. I'm a huge sucker for romance and half way through realizing there was no "hero" yet, made it hard to finish. Don't get me wrong, the story itself is great and I love the sister dynamic. The writing itself made me feel like I was crossing the plains right alongside them, and I have only read a handful of Lauraine Snelling books, and I'll be honest, this one was not one of my favorites. I love a good "going west" story and was excited to dive into this one, but the lack of romance is what got me. I'm a huge sucker for romance and half way through realizing there was no "hero" yet, made it hard to finish. Don't get me wrong, the story itself is great and I love the sister dynamic. The writing itself made me feel like I was crossing the plains right alongside them, and she truly showed the difficulties and devastation that the journey brought so many. Reading the synopsis, I thought this was going to be all about Lark's story, but it was also Forsythia and Adam's-- which was a first for me. I've read many "multi-character" point of views (not my favorites anyway), but for this one to almost be 2 books combined in one story was not something I really liked. Lastly, I could've just missed reading the previous book, but this is the first book in the Leah's Garden series, but it starts out more as a 2nd or 3rd book. The story kept referring to "Clark" rescuing her brother from war, so for this being the first book in this series, I was confused if there was a previous book or she was just starting this series off in the middle of their lives?? Overall, if you like a good family/sister themed western, then this would be a great book for you! But if you're like me and want a good love story, I'd skip this one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I've read a lot of books by Lauraine Snelling (the whole Red River series) but this was the first book of hers that I found a little difficulty in believing. A family of orphans, 2 boys and several girls (named for flowers, I couldn't keep track of them) who knew how to shoot, throw knives well enough to kill a man, and one of whom dresses as a man so convincingly that people are deceived. This girl also is a card shark and manages to outplay a gambler and take away his money. She also denounces I've read a lot of books by Lauraine Snelling (the whole Red River series) but this was the first book of hers that I found a little difficulty in believing. A family of orphans, 2 boys and several girls (named for flowers, I couldn't keep track of them) who knew how to shoot, throw knives well enough to kill a man, and one of whom dresses as a man so convincingly that people are deceived. This girl also is a card shark and manages to outplay a gambler and take away his money. She also denounces the church pastor, who is a weasel in name as well as in character. Due to the danger these shenanigans put the family in, the girls are forced to flee to the West to escape retribution, with the girl/boy double dressing as a man so they are not such a target. The boys stay home - one of them owns a store and is contemplating marriage, and the youngest is a problem child. Another thing I found difficult in this book was the author's tendency to drop backstory hints, about 30 pages apart. At first I thought I'd missed something. Then I wondered if this was the second in a series (no it's the first book). It was just frustrating. However, all that said, I did get interested in the story, and enjoyed reading it. I will definitely be looking for the sequel. I also appreciated the scripture references and hymns scattered throughout.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    7 out of 10. Four sisters head west by covered wagon. A younger brother's drinking and gambling made it necessary for the oldest sister to intervene in a poker game to win back his losses. She discovers a gambler has cheated and beats him at his own game. Now he vows to get even with her and the gals choose to go west to escape him. The entire premise is convoluted and the errant brother remains behind to cause more trouble. Four women alone on the trail is chancy so the oldest, Lark, impersonat 7 out of 10. Four sisters head west by covered wagon. A younger brother's drinking and gambling made it necessary for the oldest sister to intervene in a poker game to win back his losses. She discovers a gambler has cheated and beats him at his own game. Now he vows to get even with her and the gals choose to go west to escape him. The entire premise is convoluted and the errant brother remains behind to cause more trouble. Four women alone on the trail is chancy so the oldest, Lark, impersonates a man named Clark so it doesn't seem they are four defenseless women, alone. Many pages are filled with Bible verses they favor as they meet challenges. Their goal is Nebraska, but it's a challenge to get there and more challenges when they settle. Supposedly that gambler learns of their plans from that errant younger brother and is coming for them. But the story ends without solving that problem as if, "Stay tuned for the next episode." The more I think about it, the more the entire story is like a fairy tale.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    The Seeds of Change by Lauraine Snelling, with Kiersti Giron, is the first book in the Leah’s Garden series. This is a great story Christian Historical Fiction story of four sisters, all named after flowers, who flee their home after Larkspur wins back what her brother and his friends have lost in a poker game. Needing to change her identity, she dresses as a young man and goes by the name of Clark. This is such a fun story to read. I enjoyed how the girls had so many talents and were so loving a The Seeds of Change by Lauraine Snelling, with Kiersti Giron, is the first book in the Leah’s Garden series. This is a great story Christian Historical Fiction story of four sisters, all named after flowers, who flee their home after Larkspur wins back what her brother and his friends have lost in a poker game. Needing to change her identity, she dresses as a young man and goes by the name of Clark. This is such a fun story to read. I enjoyed how the girls had so many talents and were so loving and caring to those they met.. Their father had taught them how to shot a gun and use a knife for hunting and safety. Their mother had taught them the love of flowers and music. I enjoyed the way music was used in this story. I also enjoyed the strength they had to build up the farm and make a home for themselves and the children they adopted. I look forward to reading the rest of this series. I received a complimentary copy of this story from the publisher through Netgalley, this is my honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robin Willson

    1865 Another beautiful new series by Lauraine. I was hooked in the first chapter and loved every new character. Such depth and love between them all. Their parents are gone, and because of a gambler four sisters are pretty much forced to leave their home and head to Nebraska in a wagon. The journey isn't at all easy for them or for other travelers. (I could picture Ward Bond as the wagon master.) Lark is disguised as a boy to hopefully throw off anyone looking for them. Their arrival in Salton wa 1865 Another beautiful new series by Lauraine. I was hooked in the first chapter and loved every new character. Such depth and love between them all. Their parents are gone, and because of a gambler four sisters are pretty much forced to leave their home and head to Nebraska in a wagon. The journey isn't at all easy for them or for other travelers. (I could picture Ward Bond as the wagon master.) Lark is disguised as a boy to hopefully throw off anyone looking for them. Their arrival in Salton was orchestrated by a brother for them from back home. Their next task was getting settled, meeting new people. But danger still lurks in the background, keeping you on edge even as you're happy for each accomplishment. There's lots to work out. Excellent read with wonderful new friends. Wraps up way too fast. Can't wait until the next book! Love that cover. I received this book free from the publisher and NetGalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. #TheSeedsofChange #NetGalley

  12. 5 out of 5

    Judybelle

    The Nielson family is a close family, all four girls, another brother with their parents. Larkspur the oldest girl, is running from a man she outwitted in a poker game, he has threatened to get his money back and recompense for the embarrassment she caused him. So Larkspur becomes Clark, a man and they are off to a new life. They join a wagon train going west. Four sisters traveling and they increase their family as they take in children that were suddenly orphaned . The wagon master and others The Nielson family is a close family, all four girls, another brother with their parents. Larkspur the oldest girl, is running from a man she outwitted in a poker game, he has threatened to get his money back and recompense for the embarrassment she caused him. So Larkspur becomes Clark, a man and they are off to a new life. They join a wagon train going west. Four sisters traveling and they increase their family as they take in children that were suddenly orphaned . The wagon master and others look to Clark and consult him/her if needs be. There is much excitement and perils, sickness and death along the trail and they wonder will they ever arrive. But arrive they do to Salton. Nebraska. Their elder brother had arranged for the purchase of a homestead, such as it was. Their next task was getting settled, meeting new people. But danger still lurks in the background as the gambler had found out where they are. Bethany House and NetGalley.com provided the copy I read for this review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

    This is the first book in Snelling's "Leah's Garden" series, and it's co-authored w/ Kiersti Giron. After playing and winning a large sum of money from a professional gambler to save her younger brother's hide, Larkspur and her three sisters hurriedly decide to move west from Ohio to possibly Nebraska, via a wagon train. This is to flee from both the angry gambler, as well as their cantankerous Deacon Wiesel, who's currently acting as their pastor. To travel more safely, Larkspur becomes "Clark" This is the first book in Snelling's "Leah's Garden" series, and it's co-authored w/ Kiersti Giron. After playing and winning a large sum of money from a professional gambler to save her younger brother's hide, Larkspur and her three sisters hurriedly decide to move west from Ohio to possibly Nebraska, via a wagon train. This is to flee from both the angry gambler, as well as their cantankerous Deacon Wiesel, who's currently acting as their pastor. To travel more safely, Larkspur becomes "Clark", a "brother" to her other three sisters. Many trials happen along the way. Will they be able to make it to Nebraska and get land of their own? I really enjoyed this book and wished that I could continue to read the story, but alas, I have to wait for the next book to be released, which I have no idea when that will be. Snelling fans won't want to miss this read!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

    It's not quite a 5 but more than 4. Therefore, I give The Seeds of Change 4.5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although I easily guessed the ending. The characters, setting, and plot interested me quite a bit. Somewhat of an herbalist myself, I enjoyed the herbal references throughout the story. All the way through the book, I felt rather confused about how Mrs. Snelling's newest book could be such a wide departure from her previous endeavors. Then I was it has a co-author aka ghostwriter. It's not quite a 5 but more than 4. Therefore, I give The Seeds of Change 4.5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although I easily guessed the ending. The characters, setting, and plot interested me quite a bit. Somewhat of an herbalist myself, I enjoyed the herbal references throughout the story. All the way through the book, I felt rather confused about how Mrs. Snelling's newest book could be such a wide departure from her previous endeavors. Then I was it has a co-author aka ghostwriter. I look forward to other books in this series and others from the ghost.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Larkspur plays poker and wins, she was just trying to get her brother out of trouble, but the man she won from is after her.Lark and her sisters decide to go west and join a wagon train. They decide to settle in Nebraska. The story is of the hardships of the trail.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    Lovely. So sad it ended. So real from old days and the people are like family. I can't wait for the next book which she has going through finishing that one up too. What a talented storytelling and writer. No grammar errors either like some books. God bless Laura one. Lovely. So sad it ended. So real from old days and the people are like family. I can't wait for the next book which she has going through finishing that one up too. What a talented storytelling and writer. No grammar errors either like some books. God bless Laura one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    This was a beautiful story. I felt embraced by this story and didn't want to put it down. It ended way too soon for my liking. This was a beautiful story. I felt embraced by this story and didn't want to put it down. It ended way too soon for my liking.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    As always, Snelling has created a rich cast of characters in this new series!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    Lake must flee from her home with her sisters because of a card game. She and her sisters try to help others along the way to their new home in Nebraska.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dianne Parker

    loved this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Martha L

    Leah's Garden As always beautifully written. Laurine has such a way with words there is never a dull moment. So looking forward to next book in the series. Leah's Garden As always beautifully written. Laurine has such a way with words there is never a dull moment. So looking forward to next book in the series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paulette Marshall

    Good story Very good with strong characters. I loved tier love of music and how each f the women were strong and skilled.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I loved this pioneer story.💕

  24. 5 out of 5

    Donna Ames

    I really enjoyed this first in a new series from Lauraine Smelling. The trouble is, now I have to wait for the next one. There are so many more stories to tell!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carol Rupe

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sally Clausen

  28. 5 out of 5

    June Gillespie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Miller

  30. 4 out of 5

    Terri

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