Friday, November 2, 2012
Book Review: True Sisters
In True Sisters Sandra Dallas has once again written a fascinating tale woven around a unique piece of American history. This time her subject matter takes us out of Colorado mining country to the Mormon Trail in the mid-1800s.
This group of Mormon converts, including four women whose stories are told in alternating chapters, is anxious to get to the Promised Land: Salt Lake City. They set off from Iowa City for the 1,300 mile journey, and under the instruction of Brigham Young, take their few belongings (17 lbs per person) in handcarts rather than wagons.
The Martin Handcart Company is headed for disaster. They are led by an arrogant, self-righteous man, Thales Tanner, who insists that anyone who decides not to make the journey is a heretic. Although many of the people believe that they should wait until spring to make the journey, they follow him anyway, terrified that their faith would be questioned.
The people face incredible hardships on their four-month journey. The novel centers around the stories of these four women and their struggles and ultimate triumph. They lose spouses, children, health, and all their possessions, but they make it to Utah ultimately. They also lose their idea of marriage and face plural marriages, and I really liked the way Dallas handled this.
I don't love reading straight history necessarily, so I tremendously appreciate Dallas's presentation of snippets of American history told in narrative form. As always, I look forward to her next novel. Below are the ones I have read and reviewed thus far: