Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $43.89

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Aviator's Wife comes a story of courage on the prairie, inspired by the devastating storm that struck the Great Plains in 1888, threatening the lives of hundreds of immigrant homesteaders, especially schoolchildren.

“Melanie Benjamin never fails to create compelling, unforgettable characters and place them against the backdrop of startling history.” (Lisa Wingate, author of The Book of Lost Friends)

The morning of January 12, 1888, was unusually mild, following a punishing cold spell. It was warm enough for the homesteaders of the Dakota Territory to venture out again and for their children to return to school without their heavy coats - leaving them unprepared when disaster struck. At the hour when most prairie schools were letting out for the day, a terrifying, fast-moving blizzard blew in without warning. Schoolteachers as young as 16 were suddenly faced with life-and-death decisions: Keep the children inside, to risk freezing to death when fuel ran out, or send them home, praying they wouldn’t get lost in the storm? 

Based on actual oral histories of survivors, this gripping novel follows the stories of Raina and Gerda Olsen, two sisters, both schoolteachers - one becomes a hero of the storm and the other finds herself ostracized in the aftermath. It’s also the story of Anette Pedersen, a servant girl whose miraculous survival serves as a turning point in her life and touches the heart of Gavin Woodson, a newspaperman seeking redemption. It was Woodson and others like him who wrote the embellished news stories that lured Northern European immigrants across the sea to settle a pitiless land. Boosters needed them to settle territories into states, and they didn’t care what lies they told these families to get them there - or whose land it originally was.

At its heart, this is a story of courage, of children forced to grow up too soon, tied to the land because of their parents’ choices. It is a story of love taking root in the hard prairie ground and of families being torn asunder by a ferocious storm that is little remembered today - because so many of its victims were immigrants to this country.

©2021 Melanie Benjamin (P)2021 Random House Audio

What listeners say about The Children's Blizzard

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding in every way!

First class novel, on many levels! Valuable, from a historical point of view, great creation of plot and characters. Masterful description of Nebraskan prairie, its inhabitants; mostly Immigrants who had been lured from all corners of disillusioned Europe by fairytale descriptions of Nebraskan prairie lands, for sale.

Beautifully recounted by a true professional!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Phyllis Relyea
  • Phyllis Relyea
  • 22-01-2021

Homesteaders

An adventure thriller like no other on January 12,1888 when a blizzard struck the prairie
And hundreds especially children were killed!
The author does a great job of describing the storm and its affects on the homesteaders struggling to cope!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for gwenma1
  • gwenma1
  • 20-01-2021

Mesmerizing

This author, Melanie Benjamin, allows the reader/listener to relax and ease into the lives of the people who lived on the prairies and to witness the fate that would befall them all.There will come a point in the book where you will sit on the edge of your seat and visualize the horrific circumstances and details of that fateful day.
Based on a true event that happened, Benjamin takes us through each life in a manner that exposes the underlying hearts and motives of the horrific blizzard that unexpectedly blew in that day. You will witness the devastating realities of everyday life and come to see how some could also see and enjoy the beauty of it. Choices and outcomes, are displayed in such a manner that leaves the reader mesmerized by the wonder if it all.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jayep99
  • Jayep99
  • 28-02-2021

Has good intentions

I really wanted to love this book but I kept getting confused with who was a sister, etc!!! Maybe because it didn’t hold my interest so I wasn’t paying attention???!!! Maybe that’s it !!! Narration was perfect!!!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lindsey Davidson
  • Lindsey Davidson
  • 16-02-2021

Heart wrenching

Absolutely heart wrenching and heart breaking. You want so much for all the characters and you know it doesn’t always happen. I didn’t want it to end.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 14-02-2021

Fascinating

It is hard to believe that some thing so tragic in our history has been lost. For I for one have never heard of this Tragic happening. The children’s blizzard is a tail mostly made up but based on true stories of actual events. For those who like to read about history this is a very good book.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for K. Blake
  • K. Blake
  • 14-02-2021

Took a couple chapters to get interesting but good story

This book introduced a lot of characters. A new one in each chapter, that later would intertwine with one another. Initially I was lost and didn’t know who was who, but the book came together well and I enjoyed the story. I’d never heard of the Children’s Blizzard and I love anything that sparks of historical. The reader was great. She performed all the voices well and with enthusiasm. I’m glad I purchased this book even though I was unfamiliar with the subject matter.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for RueRue
  • RueRue
  • 13-02-2021

Change of perspective

If you’ve read this author previously, you know that those books have focused on real people ( Anne Lindbergh, the real Alice in Wonderland, Mary Pickford, etc). This book switches that perspective, and explores a real event, a catastrophic blizzard in 1887, and imagines its impact on fictional characters. It mostly works, but to make a weather event the “star” character isn’t quite as compelling as real-life people IMHO.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for E. Ament
  • E. Ament
  • 05-02-2021

Little house on the Prairie time period

I loved it. Learned a lot about homesteading and this time in America. Didn’t realize the Scandinavian influence on the Midwest.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Debra
  • Debra
  • 25-03-2021

Riveting Read

This book was remarkable in the way it told a piece of history that few know happened. I was unable stop listening. It caught my interest right away. Although an excellent read I was a bit disappointed in the last 45 minutes. The main character whom we are all fascinated to find out about. Will she marry? Will she find a content life after the tragedy? Her story is not finished by the end of the book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for BarbieAlaska
  • BarbieAlaska
  • 08-05-2021

could not finish

i wanted to hear the story..about this event and the people... but the abuse of children kept me from going very far...

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for alphabet
  • alphabet
  • 03-04-2021

Fascinating

This is a most engaging retelling of the story of the time in Nebraska when a blizzard struck without warning and the consequences upon the lives of those who survived. Perhaps it shouldn’t have done but it did remind me a little of the Laura Ingles Wilder books as it is about teachers and their charges, for
The most part, and the Homesteader families who lived on the Prairie. It was fascinating and I very Much enjoyed it.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.