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Book review: 'Steamship to Zion' shows unbreakable spirit of one pioneer family

By Branden Hurst

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 2 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"STEAMSHIP TO ZION," by Jerry Borrowman, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 246 pages (f)

It's the spring of 1850 and the recently converted Chandler family of Liverpool England has made plans to make a secret pilgrimage to Salt Lake City to join with other Latter-day Saints. While buying passage on a steamship headed for America under the guise of a vacation, they cross paths with Gloria Palmerston, a troubled young woman who is unable to buy a ticket because she is a member of the upper class without an escort. The Chandler family decides to help Gloria by acting as her chaperones until they get to New York, a choice that changes their lives forever.

When they arrive in New York, the reason for their travel is revealed and Gloria's trouble in England has followed her, forcing her to reluctantly stay with the Chandlers. Short on money, the Chandlers decide to press on by laboring on a steamship. As the adventurers travel to Panama, San Francisco and into the Utah territory, they encounter heartbreaking loss, betrayal, bandits, love and an unforgettable cast of historic characters along the way.

Author Jerry Borrowman expertly weaves historic figures and factual events throughout the novel in a natural way, which adds a very good sense of realism to his characters and the story. The characters are likeable and believable and the readers will find themselves rooting, crying and cheering for them by the end of the book.

Borrowman, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Sandy, has coauthored several biographies, including "Stories from the Life of Porter Rockwell" and World War I and World War II historic novels. He and Rudi Wobbe earned the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge National Award for "Three Against Hitler."

"Steamship to Zion" is an endearing novel about the strength of the human spirit and is sure to be a favorite among fans of historic fiction.

Branden Hurst is a proud father of four who grew up outside of Utah - and the LDS faith. He has worked in the IT industry for over 14 years, but in his free time enjoys sharing in wholesome activities with his family and working on genealogy.

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