I admit, though I’ve had Tristi's historical novels Nothing to Regret and Strength to Endure on my list of must-reads for several years now, I haven’t gotten around to reading any of her books until Season of Sacrifice. Have I ever been missing out!
The beginning of the book is fast paced with great dialogue and descriptions, pulling you into the scene of a mine cave-in from the beginning. This glimpse into the life of Ben Perkins is a sign of the man he becomes, and the faith that directs his life as an adult.
Several years later, Ben is a young man, preparing to emigrate to America, leaving behind his family and sweetheart Mary Ann Williams. Before leaving, he extracts a promise from Mary Ann to join his family when they came to America. He struggles to learn English and to fit into the new world as he works to save the money to send for his loved ones. After Mary Ann joins him in America and they are married, the focus of the story turns to her much-younger sister Sarah, and the struggles her family, who still lives in Wales, goes through over the next several years.
After several difficult years, Sarah and the rest of the Williams family join Ben and Mary Ann in Utah and Sarah agrees to help the married couple with their children as they make the journey to form a new settlement in San Juan. The trip is long and arduous, lasting six months instead of the expected six weeks as the group of fifty families are forced to make roads where there were none, and the blast holes in narrow canyon slits to make them large enough to pass a wagon through in the dead of winter.
I gained a new appreciation for the struggles the members of this group went through as they dealt with dangerous passes, lack of grazing for their animals, freezing weather and exhaustion. These pioneers received amazing inspiration to have known what was the best course of action in a trek that should have been completely impossible.
Tristi's writing is rich and engaging and her history was well researched. Though I had been very concerned about how Tristi might handle the touchy subject of Polygamy, it was deftly handled so any reader could understand the struggle it was for everyone involved. I learned a new appreciation for the difficulty the those who practiced it endured.
Now for the contest. Everyone who comments on this blog (and leaves me an e-mail address so I can reach them) will be eligible for a drawing for Tristi's new book. This contest will continue through June 10.