Snelling, Lauraine

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Snelling, Lauraine


Married; husband's name Wayne; children: three. Religion: Episcopalian.


Home—CA. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, editor, book doctor, and educator. Instructor at writers' conferences and seminars.


Silver Angel Award, for An Untamed Land; Golden Heart Award, Romance Writers of America, for Song of Laughter.



Tragedy on the Toutle, Baker, 1982.

Song of Laughter, Heartsong Presents (Ulrichsville, OH), 1986.

Dakota December, Heartsong Presents (Ulrichsville, OH), 1996.

Dakota: Four Inspirational Love Stories on the Northern Plains, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 1996-98.

Lovesong, Barbour (Ulrichsville, OH), 1996.

Race for the Roses, Heartsong (Ulrichsville, OH), 1999.

Hawaiian Sunrise, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

The Healing Quilt, WaterBrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2002.

The Gift: A Horse, a Boy, and a Miracle of Love, Promise Press (Ulrichsville, OH), 2002.

The Way of Women, WaterBrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2004.

Amethyst, Bethany House (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

(With Lenora Worth) Once upon a Christmas, Steeple Hill Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Saturday Morning, WaterBrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2005.

The Brushstroke Legacy, WaterBrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2006.

A Promise for Ellie, Bethany House (Minneapolis, MN), 2006.

Breaking Free, FaithWords (New York, NY), 2007.

Sophie's Dilemma, Bethany House (Bloomington, MN), 2007.


An Untamed Land, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1996.

A New Day Rising, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1996.

A Land to Call Home, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.

The Reapers' Song, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Blessing in Disguise, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

Tender Mercies, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.


A Dream to Follow, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Believing the Dream, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

More than a Dream, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.


Daughter of Twin Oaks, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 2000.

Sisters of the Confederacy, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 2000.

The Long Way Home, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.


Ruby, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Pearl, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.

Opal, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.


The Race, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1990.

Eagle's Wings, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1991.

Go for the Glory, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1991.

Kentucky Dreamer, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1991.

Call for Courage, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1992.

Out of the Mist, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1993.

Shadow over San Mateo, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1993.

Close Call, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1994.

Second Wind, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1994.

The Winner's Circle, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1994.


DJ's Challenge, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.

Olympic Dreams, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.

Setting the Pace, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1996.

Out of the Blue, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1996.

Storm Clouds, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.

Close Quarters, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Moving Up, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Letting Go, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

Raising the Bar, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

Class Act, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN), 2000.


Start Your Own Business: After 50, 60, or 70, Bristol (San Leandro, CA), 1990.

100 Good Things That Happen as You Grow Older, Bristol (San Leandro, CA), 1992.

A Hand to Hold: Helping Someone through Grief, Revell (Grand Rapids, MI), 2004.


Creator of "Writing Great Fiction" audiotape series and materials on query letters and other topics related to writing and publishing. Author's works have been translated into three foreign languages.


Author's books have been adapted to audiotape.


Lauraine Snelling has written many inspirational novels for both adult and adolescent readers. Several topics surface repeatedly in her work: history, romance, and, in her young-adult novels, horses. Her books also reflect her Christian faith. "My stories show real people struggling with their faith or the situations they are in, and through the struggles learn to trust that God is in control and that He loves them," Snelling told a contributor to Faithful Reader.

Snelling's heritage also informs some of her novels. Her "Red River of the North" and "Return to Red River" series deal with Great Plains settlers who, like Snelling, are of Norwegian descent. An Untamed Land, which opened the "Red River of the North" series, follows the Bjorklund family as they sail from Norway to America in the late nineteenth century and establish a farm in North Dakota. They encounter many hardships and barely make it through their first Dakota winter, but they endure. The novel is "accomplished" and free of the cliches usually found in stories set on the North American prairie, commented John Mort in Booklist. The next book in the series, A New Day Rising, finds Ingeborg Bjorklund learning to perform many tasks traditionally done by men after her husband is lost in a blizzard and presumed dead. Mort found that the novel presents farm life realistically and includes "gentle humor" along with inspiration. A Land to Call Home, the third installment, continues the Bjorklunds' story and features such crises as the birth of a deaf child and a railroad accident that befalls a recently arrived relative. The novel features "some compelling characters and conflicts," remarked Melissa Hudak in the Library Journal. Hudak recommended the next entry, The Reaper's Song, to readers who liked the first three books in the series, but she found some new characters, fugitive from justice Zeb McCallister and his cronies, more interesting than the Bjorklunds and wished they were given more space in the novel.

The Bjorklund saga continues in the "Return to Red River" series, which begins with A Dream to Follow. This novel focuses on Ingeborg's son Thorliff, who has a troubled conscience about leaving the farm for college. Booklist reviewer Mort called the story "predictable" but thought Thorliff an appealing character and again praised Snelling's detailed portrait of the rural environment.

Another series, "Dakotah Treasures," has as its eponymous protagonists women named for jewels—Ruby, Pearl, and Opal. Like the Bjorklunds, these women are also late-nineteenth-century settlers in the Dakotas. Sisters Ruby and Opal Torvald inherit a brothel-saloon in the town of Little Missouri and turn it into a hotel and restaurant of good repute; teacher Pearl Hosfuss comes to the town from Chicago, wanting to avoid dealing with her widowed father's new wife and stepchildren. The novels portray the women's efforts to make a living in the often inhospitable territory, their romances, and their religious faith. "The characters' reliance on God is refreshing and uplifting," commented Melissa Parcel in a review of Pearl for Parcel added that "the historical background is well researched."

Snelling's nonseries titles include The Healing Quilt, in which several women come together to make a quilt that will be sold to raise funds for a hospital's mammography machine. Some of the women have lost loved ones to cancer; some have other troubles. The novel is a "treatment of loss mitigated with humor, wit and faith," related a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who also praised its realism and Snelling's "lovely descriptive writing." The Way of Women, another standalone book, portrays a variety of characters going through personal crises at the time of the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. A Publishers Weekly critic termed the novel "uneven" but added, "laudably, Snelling does not offer a happily-ever-after pat ending."

In Saturday Morning, Snelling "offers another round of light inspirational fiction," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. At a San Francisco women's shelter called J House, four women meet and become friends as their lives and troubles intersect. Andy struggles with how to deal with her career-obsessed husband, whose recent transfer threatens to disrupt the family and take Andy away from her profitable lavender farm. Julia's granddaughter has run away, and Clarice is devastated over being recently rejected by her second husband, who took all the couple's resources and disappeared. Hope, the owner and operator of J House, keenly wishes to have children. As the four women become a strong support network for each other, seeking and finding solutions to their problems through prayer, they must also face a threat to J House itself, under attack by developers and the city of San Francisco, who have declared the house to be deficient in meeting earthquake codes. Snelling "weaves the four stories into one compelling whole," remarked the Publishers Weekly critic.

The Brushstroke Legacy finds protagonist Ragni, a North Dakota woman in personal turmoil over her father's Alzheimer's disease, reluctantly agreeing to renovate her great-grandmother Nilda's remote cabin. She takes her teenage niece, Erika, with her, unmindful of Erika's recent descent into Goth culture and manifestation of teenage sullenness and rebellion. Soon, Ragni's life and Nilda's story begin to show parallels, as both struggle with hardship and life in the cabin. When Ragni, a painter, discovers some of Nilda's own paintings, both she and Erika feel an even greater bond to the woman across the gulf of time. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that "the book is written in a style that will appeal most to older readers."

Snelling explained to Faithful Reader that, as a Christian, she feels a spiritual calling to write and to mentor other writers. "I am called to write great stories that people love to read," she said. "Writing, teaching, loving unconditionally, encouraging anyone and everyone and hugging are my assignments and the things I do best."



Booklist, March 1, 1996, John Mort, review of An Untamed Land, p. 1122; January 1, 1997, John Mort, review of A New Day Rising, p. 819; August, 2001, John Mort, review of A Dream to Follow, p. 2088.

Library Journal, June 1, 1997, Melissa Hudak, review of A Land to Call Home, p. 98; June 1, 1998, Melissa Hudak, review of The Reaper's Song, p. 96.

Publishers Weekly, June 24, 2002, review of The Healing Quilt, p. 39; May 17, 2004, review of The Way of Women, p. 35; July 25, 2005, review of Saturday Morning, p. 47; June 5, 2006, review of The Brushstroke Legacy, p. 29.

School Library Journal, December 1, 1995, Blair Christolon, review of Olympic Dreams, p. 109.

Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 1993, review of Shadow over San Mateo, p. 302; June, 1994, review of Out of the Mist, p. 91; December, 1994, review of Second Wind, p. 281; August, 1999, review of Moving Up, p. 180; August, 2000, review of Daughter of Twin Oaks, p. 193.

ONLINE, (October 11, 2006), Violet Nesdoly, review of A Promise for Ellie., (August 10, 2007), Melissa Parcel, review of Pearl.

Faithful Reader, (August 10, 2007), "Faithful Fifteen: Lauraine Snelling."

Lauraine Snelling Home Page, (August 10, 2007).