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Book review: 'My Loving Vigil Keeping' remembers Utah mine disaster

By Rosemarie Howard

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 17 2012 4:11 p.m. MDT

"MY LOVING VIGIL KEEPING," by Carla Kelly, Bonneville Books, $9.99, 440 pages (f)

Carla Kelly's new novel "My Loving Vigil Keeping" is a tender historical romance set in the Utah mining town of Winter Quarters at the turn of the 20th century.

Della Anders leaves the relative security of a teaching position and comfortable home in Salt Lake City to embark on a new teaching adventure in the Winter Quarters mining community near Scofield, Carbon County.

Winter Quarters is a small, multi-cultural community of mostly immigrant miners and their families from countries such as Finland, Germany, Italy, France, Scotland and Wales. They value education and are delighted at Della's arrival.

Along with her teaching duties, Della attends the small branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where she meets a handsome Welsh widower, Owen Davis, who convinces her to join the branch choir. They both have ghosts from the past to put to rest before they can move on with their lives.

Music plays an important part in the story. The book's title is taken from a line of the Welsh lullaby, "All Through the Night," which Owen sings to his daughter, Angharad, each night to put her to sleep. Words to many hymns of the LDS Church are also integrated into the story.

The characters have depth; dialogue flows easily and feels authentic. It's evident the story is well-researched and told by an author who has written many other such novels.

Although there is a discrete description of a Finnish sauna that refers to women as bare and naked, there is nothing in the book that is inappropriate for family reading.

Kelly dedicates the book to the 200 or more miners who died in the Scofield mining disaster on May 1, 1900.

The award-winning Mormon author and her husband, Martin, live in Wellington, Carbon County.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.

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