It’s a novel I’m very proud of, maybe more than any of my previous novels. It stretched me as a writer—perhaps the better verb is “pushed.” Because the story, centered around a real blizzard that swept the Great Plains on this day in January of 1888, challenged me to do it justice. These characters challenged me; they spoke to me, they delighted and frustrated me. But ultimately, they moved me.
I wanted to write a great big sweeping, thrilling story; I wanted to write about the land, the people who were on it first, and the people who came in great waves from far off countries to “settle” it when the government took it from its original owners. I wanted to write about ordinary people forced to act under extraordinary circumstances. I wanted to write about tragedy. I wanted to write about courage and survival. I wanted to write about love taking root in the cold prairie ground. I wanted to write about how decisions made in an instant can change the trajectory of a life.
And I wanted to write about heroines and villains.
They’re all here, in this novel that Publishers Weekly calls a “sprawling, well-told story. . . . There’s great suspense inherent to the events. Benjamin achieves a balance of grand drama and devastatingly intimate moments.” (Personally, I like what a reader on Goodreads said; she described it as “Stephen King meets Little House on the Prairie.”)
Named one of the most anticipated historical novels of 2021 by Oprah Magazine, and one of The Washington Post’s Top Ten Books of January, as well as a January Indie Next Pick and a January Library Reads.
If you want a book that will make you feel all the emotions, this is the book for you! It’s also a very personal book for me, and if you tune in to one of the many virtual events I’ll be doing starting tonight, you might find out why I named some of the characters in the book after my own relatives, including my grandfather and grandmother. Please check out the information on my website; many events—all virtual, so you can be in your pajamas!—require registration beforehand.
Thank you for your support these past eleven years since I first published Alice I Have Been; believe it or not, The Children's Blizzard is my seventh historical novel. And please, a word of advice: People who have read it have told me that it’s best to be cuddled up under a blanket, with a warm cup of cocoa by your side, while reading.