This was a sweet story that dealt with hard things in a way that left me thinking but not depressed. Ethnic tension is a difficult subject for a number of reasons, but Clark simply showed individual people struggling with individual choices in their own circumstances. There was no “us versus them” mentality, which was refreshing. (I only regret the publishing house style guide that evidently enforced modern racial capitalization choices in the historical narrative, which jarred me every single time.) Although the jumping-around of the historical chronology was a bit hard for me to follow at times, I found myself equally invested in both timelines, eager to keep going in whichever era I was in at the time.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and are ready for the annual Black Friday Book Sale! Hundreds of clean or Christian e-books are free or 99 cents from today through Cyber Monday (November 24–27) and many physical books are discounted as well. Browse the genres at sale headquarters, run by author Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick. (Her Emily Abbott series of clean spy comedy novellas is a hoot and highly recommended.)
This is a great resolution of Camilla’s story, which begins in For Time and Eternity and stops with an abrupt cliffhanger at the end of that book. We see Camilla moving forward through going back, returning to the faith and family she left as a girl. As with the first book, this is a fascinating look at the early Mormon era, not only the Mormon faith itself but also life in general at that time. I would have liked to see more of the conflict between the US military and the Mormon settlements, but I understand why it wouldn’t have fit well into Camilla’s journey.
I could hardly put this book down. I did not expect to be so engaged in the story, although I was excited to find an author willing to tackle the subject of Mormon history from a Christian perspective. I’ve seen too many cases lately where LDS doctrine is equated with true Christianity, especially by LDS authors who want to be (or already are) seen as Christian. (Note that the term Mormon is now considered pejorative by many LDS adherents, but it was the historically accurate term at the time of this book’s history, so I’m sticking with it in this review.)
C. S. Forester may be best known for his Horatio Hornblower series, but this book deserves some attention as well. I am astounded by Forester’s ability to create a sense of narrative tension despite an utter lack of action or dialogue in the entire first chapter (which really feels more like a prologue in some ways). This is a book I thoroughly enjoyed despite the sad overarching theme of a man who is very devout yet has no joy or peace. I enjoyed it not only for the story but also for the rhythm of the writing and the picture it painted of life at sea hunting German submarines among friends and allies and men one is never sure one can completely trust.