(10 customer reviews)


In 1888, five young bachelors emigrate from Stranda, Norway, with a dream to become land barons in America. In southern California they pool their money to purchase affordable land. They draw names from a hat to decide who farms the better land and who must make do with the inferior. Soon after, their sweethearts arrive from the homeland and the Norwegian Colony is born. This novel uses modern fiction techniques to recreate unforgettable characters who experience heartbreak and personal triumphs. Readers will experience the struggles, joys and sacrifices of the families who settle the land and create a legacy for their children in part through original diaries, photos and letters. Written by the great-granddaughter of Nils Olsen and Ellen Fjorstad, two of the five immigrant families that settled in the Conejo Valley. The author is an award-winning novelist and storyteller who uses family history to create an emotional true story that will remain in readers’ hearts. “Write what should not be forgotten.” – Isabel Allende.

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#608,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #15,244 in Family Life Fiction (Books) #47,791 in Historical Fiction (Books)

Customer Reviews

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  1. Carmen Peone

    Finding Hope in AmericaAnne Schroeder’s fictional recount of her familites Norwegian immigration to American is fascinating. Each page sang evidence of the author’s research and authenticity whether from songs of mourning or joy. Schroeder held nothing back- struggles of sea travel for the five bachelors to America and why, obtaining and dividing their California allotment, the journey of their young ladies who later joined them and homesteaded, marriage, deaths of so many young ones, and hope. The women in this story are an example of hard work and dedication. They offer us all an example of how to survive. I learned so much about the Norwegian culture and what it took to homestead in California in the late 1800s. This was such a great read.

  2. Pamela Barrett

    Inspirational true storyThis true story of 5 young men from Norway coming to California in the late 1880s so that they could own their own farmland is one of amazing resilience. Even more inspirational is the stories of the wives they picked who toiled along side them as they built their farms from bare ground. Like the woman in Proverbs 31 these women were smart and resourceful, and in the face of overwhelming loss they dug deep and found away to go on. The Author did a fabulous job of researching and interviewing family members to show them in a true light. My heart broke for every child who died, for everyone who didn’t get to live to see the fulfillment of their dreams.

  3. BJS

    Touching memoir in fiction formNorske Fields is a beautifully written tribute to late nineteenth-century Norwegian immigrants who settled in Central California in the Santa Barbara-Venture era, by a direct descendant. It chronicles the struggles and too-few triumphs of these dreamers whose New World realities often fell far short of their expectations. Their struggle to persevere in the New World is told in great detail, providing an intimacy that grows on the reader. The ending is perfect, a touching final capstone that perfectly sums up the Norwegian experience in nineteenth and twentieth-century California. Recommended.

  4. Carolyn M.

    Fantastic readI moved to Thousand Oaks in 1959 the Conejo valley was still small and knowing the history behind it has made me even more connected to home

  5. Velyrhorde

    True Norwegian HistoryThis is a captivating tale of five families from Norway who struggle to make it in 1800’s California. The men arrive first and pool their earnings to buy land, then send for their sweethearts. The land they purchase isn’t really good farmland, but they struggle on and make a go of it. The book tells of their triumphs and tragedies as they try to survive and raise children in the American Southwest.This is written by a descendent of one of the families, so it has the feel of an old family story handed down through the generations. There are also photos, so you can see what the people were like. It’s a very interesting story, though it’s pretty sad most of the time because they’re going against nature to try to survive in the near-desert and have a tough time of it. The “colony” has its own graveyard full of tragic stories and heartbreak. They also celebrate life, though, and rejoice when the rare rains come, or when their children get their school certificates.If you like historical fiction that’s based on truth, you should try this story. There’s also a good bit of Norwegian culture if you like learning about other lands and their ways of life. The characters are well-drawn and you really feel for them as they try to become American citizens and successful farmers. I recommend this book to all history lovers.

  6. Mary E. Trimble

    Exquisite descriptions of the land and people kept me turning the pagesNorske Fields: A Novel of Southern California’s Norwegian Colony by Anne Schroeder brings to life the struggles and joys of Norwegian immigrants as they become part of the American fabric. The story takes place from 1884 through 1957.Nils Uren, together with four bachelor friends and the sister of one of the friends, leave Norway for America, the promised land. None of them are their families’ eldest sons and therefore will not inherit family land in Norway. America’s spacious land brings promise for farming and growth.The group set sail from Norway to London, board a train to Liverpool, then board a ship bound for New York. From New York they travel 12 days by train to Sacramento. They end up in the Conejo Valley, a region in Southern California. The area where the families settle becomes known as the Norwegian Colony.The group purchases 650 acres and split the land between them, agreeing to payments over a period of seven years. They work hard on this raw land, coaxing crops from the virgin soil, and building rough living spaces. All the work is done by manual labor until they can afford work horses and more efficient tools, but they persist. They also work at becoming American citizens, taking American-sounding names and learning English.Each works hard to keep the others from discouragement. Small kindnesses to one another remind them of their blessings. They are a people used to scrimping and they find creative ways to make life joyous. Their land is a constant reminder of God’s provision. American ways and its inherent freedoms are precious to the group.The story mainly centers on Nils Uren and his wife, Ellen, and their children, but includes all the families with their struggles and successes in the new land.In Norske Fields author Anne Schroeder brings to life the fictional account of her ancestral Norwegian family. Her exquisite descriptions of the land and people kept me turning the pages of this fascinating account of early America and its blending of people and ideals.

  7. MAR

    A story that reminds us of the contribution immigrants have made to this countrySo many characters right off the bat overwhelmed me, and it’s difficult to go back and forth to the cast of characters at the beginning in an ebook. I decided to not worry about who they all were and focus on the main character, Nils. After that, the fact that this book was based on real people kept my interest: hardship overcome by determination and loss by faith. The expected responsibility of the children, particularly the sons who survived giving up their personal dreams, bound by tradition and commitment to family, was indicative of that time.I can’t say that all of this book was riveting, but the movie was a nice surprise, and I did find myself invested in the main characters.Overall, a good read about times past, about history so indicative of the shaping of our country.

  8. Amazon Customer

    Based on primary documentsNorske Fields by Anne SchroederAnne Schroeder is the great granddaughter of one of the original immigrants in this story, Nils Olsen. While reading, the reader will get a true picture of what life was like in early (1888) Southern California for brave young people who wanted to have a better life. They left their country of birth and family behind, struggled to learn a new language and made a successful life for themselves. Half of the time, I laughed and then I cried as I felt both their joy and sadness. This is a story for us all. Our own ancestors came here at some point in time and while their stories are different in some ways, they are the same in others.This is not the first book I have read by this author, put her on your list of authors to enjoy!

  9. Big Red

    Great StoryI enjoyed this story of early immigration by five Norwegian families who came to southern California because they were second or third sons with no land at home they could inherit. Women from the same village followed them because there were not enough men available to marry. After working years to buy land, they were given an opportunity to buy a large parcel jointly, but parts of the land was better than the rest. They drew lots.This story of their hardships and successes, the five daughters born with some form of congenital disease that robbed them of life while still children, those who died by disease and accident, including three men in the same year, was a fascinating story of determination and stubborn drive to succeed. What an interesting ending to the families known as the Norwegian colony. A definite must read.

  10. tnlady

    Norwegian HistoryThis is s great novel based on some facts by one of the descendants.Her grandfather was one of the main.characters in the book and one of four who saved their money for yrs. to sail to America.where they thought the streets were paved with gold.They however found out,that they weren’t and that they did back breaking work day after day and did without much ,just to feed their families.They were a very close knit group and were always about friendship and family. This novel tells about three generations of friends and families ,the hardships with too little rain,too much rain,dust storms,blight and just about anything that could happen while trying to farm in the late 80’s to early 1900’s. There were to many deaths and one family.lost 5 daughters to a malady that no Doctor could diagnose back then or even today. If you like generational type novels about persons who emigrated to America,from other countries,this will definitely hold your interest.

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