BEYOND THOSE HILLS
Set in 1937 Minnesota, this first book of the series opens with Matthew Anderson feeling dismayed and beaten when he awoke with his older brother’s words announcing that the family farm is his.
Matthew’s anger almost cost him his life, so he realizes he must forgive his brother. He realizes that forgiveness would lead him to a new life. He bought a bigger and better farm where he moves his family. However, Matthew’s problems have just begun when he learns that his older brother, P.J., has criminal connections. And Matthew’s family is drawn into the problem.
Through their lives in the farm, readers will experience how life used to be back then, without modern amenities and facilities, and how modern conveniences arrived gradually into their rural life. As the first book draws to an end, Matthew welcomes his new baby to the world as his four older children become teenagers. And he continues to look Beyond Those Hills with new hope.
BEYOND THE STORM
P.J. continues to cause problems as he rents out the family farm. Plus, the looming storm of World War II becomes a reality when Joe, Matthew’s friend and hired man, enters the army.
The famous Armistice Day storm almost brings disaster to Matthew and Ellen, his wife. After they return from visiting P.J. in the hospital, they must take refuge from the storm in a school house. The next day, P.J. dies, feeling intense guilt for the wrongs he has done.
At home, Matthew and Ellen’s children develop each of their own story and personality. James dreams of being a writer and observes the drama around him. Johnie loves machines and the outdoors and wants to farm and work with machinery. Margaret is the model young woman, especially in the eyes of her father. Carol doesn’t live up to her sister and something of a rebel.
A March snow storm, as bad as the earlier storm, brings the whole family face to face with life-and-death situations. Law enforcement catches up with P.J.’s son Larry, who is sent to prison. Matthew’s sister, Victoria, hires lawyers and manages to get most of the family farm land back to the family.
BEYOND THE DARKNESS
The dark destruction of WWII and other dark force threaten the Anderson’s family and way of life. Matthew’s wife and mother meet every week to pray for the boys in the service. At times, the family does not know whether Johnie or the others are dead or alive. It’s the faith of the Anderson family that takes them beyond the darkness.
Matthew and Ellen face challenges as each of the older children grows up. After being in the service, James returns home to leave for college to fulfill his dream of being a teacher and writer. Johnie, who always thought he would take over the farm, returns first to a veteran’s hospital and recovers enough to return home. He experiences a call to become a pastor. Margaret marries her first love, Joe, and with the help of Aunt Victoria, they take over the original family farm. Carol becomes pregnant and runs off with the banker’s son; but later, her husband ends up frozen to death. Michael, the youngest child, remains at home and begins grade school.
BEYOND THIS HOME
Matthew, Ellen and their family enters the turbulent 1960s. The four children have grown up and moved away. At home, Michael goes through difficulties of growing up, leaves home and rejects many of the family values. Matthew needs to slow down and retire but he hates the idea of leaving his beloved farm.
Each child is living his or her own life. James, who has a wife and family, is a professor at a state college but has not fulfilled his dream of becoming a writer. Johnie is a popular and successful minister, but he faces tragedy when his wife dies of cancer and leaves him with three young children. Margaret and Joe are on the original home farm, with their six children. Carol has come through a divorce with her second husband and has married for the third time with a wealthy businessman. After being away, Michael sees the error of his ways and returns home with a beautiful young school teacher.
An important section in this novel is the Kennedy Assassination and its effects on each member of the Anderson’s family.
Vernal Lind grew up in the Leaf Hills on a farm in West-Central Minnesota, not far from Inspiration Peak (second highest point in Minnesota, named by Sinclair Lewis). He graduated from St. Cloud (Mn.) State University with B.S. and M.S. degrees. He also attended a number of other colleges and universities to do post-graduate work. He taught English for 36 years at the senior high level—and one year at the college or university level.
He moved to Battle Lake (MN.) after retirement. Presently, he is a freelance writer and an active volunteer; published in GRIT, CAPPERS, LIFEWISE, TEACHERS OF VISION and other periodicals; and his stories appear in WRITING SO HEAVEN WILL BE DIFFERENT, RIDING THE AIRWAVES, and OTTER TAIL REVIEW (anthologies). He writes a regular column for TEACHERS OF VISION as well as occasional articles.
He is involved in church, has held a number of positions—congregational president, committees, part-time organist, coordinator of adult education, etc.—for 16 years. He is a volunteer at a care center—doing Evergreen Reading Program, play and sing, lead hymn sing; he also volunteers at Otter Tail County Historical Society—researching, recording materials, proofreading, and some editing of newsletter. He also proofreads for a weekly column in FERGUS FALLS DAILY JOURNAL and CONNECTIONS magazine.
He delivers Meals on Wheels once a week, volunteers at B.L. Senior Center, and worked at the Food Shelf as chairman of the board for several years.
He is active in the state organization, Minnesota Christian Writers’ Guild, and received Best New Writer and Writer of the Year awards from the Write to Publish Conference.
Vernal Lind is single but very much involved with his family. He loves his two sisters, nieces, grandnieces and nephews and considers them as a big part of his life.
You may contact the author via PO Box 467, Battle Lake, MN 56515.