The Locket by Adell Harvey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
BOOK DESCRIPTION: In the late 1850's, thousands of poverty-stricken Scandinavians were lured to America by missionaries of the Latter-day Saints with promises of great prosperity. Ingrid Thirkelsen’s marriage to Brother Rasmussen is as surprising to her as the hope he stirs within. Assigned to the Martin Party of immigrants, she sets out after him, encountering for the first time the horrors of polygamy, blood atonement and blind obedience to cult leaders. As she makes the handcart trek across the Plains and Rocky Mountains, a locket she has promised to deliver in Zion and her Ma's Bible are the only items that give her comfort and the strength to endure the unendurable.
MY REVIEW: The themes in the LOCKET are interesting. Particularly so, given the author has served as a counter-cult missionary in southeast Idaho to Mormons for over 20 years. Some of the former Mormons she has worked with gave her access to their families' genealogical records, diaries and other materials which led to the writing for this book. It's an enjoyable read and the author is clearly committed to accurately portraying the historical events within which her main character, Ingrid, is placed. The problem I have with the book is that it isn't horrifying enough. It seems to me that a lot of Christian writers, because they are writing for Christians (I assume), pull back from making their stories as raw and gritty as they need to be to come across as authentic. When I started the book, I was looking forward to a hard-hitting narrative. But, while it does describe some of the hardships of the immigrants and the cultic doctrines and practices of Mormonism in its early history, it reads too much like a "nice" romance more than anything else. As I read, I couldn't help feeling that the author wasn't quite hitting the right style for material that intends to enlighten the reader on the incredible suffering, particularly of women, during this period of history. So, if you are looking for a light read about some very serious issues, this piece historical fiction might be for you.
NOTE: I received a free copy of this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
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