I've spent the past two days reading Season of Sacrifice, and I must say, I am very impressed. I'm sure most of you have figured by now that I'm a bit of a fantasy girl. Okay, that's an understatement--I am a huge fantasy fan to that point that it is what I read almost exclusively. I throw in a few mysteries and most recently LDS fiction, but I would have to say that probably 9/10ths of my books fit into the speculative fiction category. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable history can be.
Besides the obvious differences between history and fantasy (real world happenings verses anything the mind can conjure), the biggest obstacle for me to overcome was time. No, not finding time to read, but the fact that most fantasy takes place over a period of days or weeks and occasionally a year, but history takes years, all within the scope of one book. Once I passed that obstacle, the book was a fabulous read.
Season of Sacrifice is the story of Tristi's own ancestors. Here's the description from her site:
"Sarah Williams is a young Welsh immigrant, coming to Utah to join her sister Mary Ann Perkins. When the Perkins are asked to join the San Juan mission to pioneer a trail through Southern Utah, they take Sarah along to help care for the children. But a six-week journey turns into six agonizing months of hard work and toil as the Saints blast their way through a cliff to bring their wagons through what would become the famous Utah landmark "Hole in the Rock."
"Finally settled in the San Juan, Sarah's true hardship begins when Ben Perkins asks her to be his second wife. With their faith and testimonies challenged to the core, both Sarah and Mary Ann struggle to find the true meaning of Christ-like love and obedience. Will they make it through?"
The story is full of hazardous journeys, personal challenges ,and faith-testing experiences. It also deals with the issue of polygamy in a very believable manner, one that helped me to understand perhaps how challenging it might have been for the early saints.
My favorite scene is that of a story shared by one of the men going through the hole in the rock. He had been helping the families to ferry their wagons across the river all day and his family and wagon had been forgotten. After going back up the hill and seeing there was no one left to help him, he was furious, but his wife said it would be okay. She sat the three year old down with the baby in his lap and their older child facing them and told them not to move until they came back. They weren't sure they would survive the trip down with nobody at the top to hold the wagon back. The wife took the rope and tried to hold back the wagon but was quickly thrown under the wagon and dragged all the way down the hill until the wagon hit a boulder, jumped over it and threw the wife back to her feet. They arrived safely at the bottom with only a gash in the wife's leg to show the trauma she'd experienced. When they got back to the top to collect the children, the young ones said they had waited there with God the whole time. It was a powerful testament to me of how He watches over us, even in our most challenging moments, and can truly make the impossible possible.
If you haven't had the opportunity to read Season of Sacrifice yet, I would encourage you to do so. If you have a heart in your chest, it will be touched. Tristi is my favorite kind of writer: she has an amazing way of letting you climb into the shoes of her characters for a moment and live their lives along with them. I laughed, I cried, I got goosebumps galore, and couldn't put the book down, especially during the last half of the story.
I asked Tristi, "If you could send your readers away with one thing from this book, what would it be?" Her answer was this: "I would like the reader to come away from the book feeling that God can and will reach into their lives and make all things possible for them, just like He did for these pioneers, and that if we will turn our will over to Him, He will send more blessings our way than we ever thought possible."
What more can be said than that? Congratulations on your new book, Tristi. It is fabulous!
Quote of the Day: "When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing."
~Enrique Jardiel Poncela