Book Review: ‘Journey of Promise’ tells beautiful story of pioneer courage, faith

By Sandra Nazar

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 8 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

"JOURNEY OF PROMISE," by Vickie Hall, Cedar Fort, $17.99, 275 pages (f)

“Journey of Promise” by Vickie Hall shares a journey of promise, hope and encouragement. While this book serves as a sequel to Hall’s first book, “All That Was Promised,” it is complete and capable of standing on its own.

It is a touching, endearing story of the trials, sacrifices and blessings experienced by a group of Welsh Mormon emigrants in the mid-1800s. Hall tells the story with such rich, descriptive imagery and detail the reader feels almost magically transported into the book.

The main character, Richard Kenyon, is a courageous man with great faith and trust in God. He is also a compassionate, caring man who shows great love and concern for those in his care. He and his wife Leah, with other family and friends, sacrifice much to prepare for their journey to America.

They face severe persecution, the money they have saved for their voyage is stolen, one of their children falls gravely ill and Richard is falsely accused and imprisoned for murder. While these trials delay and discourage, they are determined to do whatever is necessary to join with fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Zion.

However, they soon discover that their journey across the Atlantic Ocean and their travel on the Mississippi River require even greater sacrifices of them. They are forced to endure poor treatment, rough seas, meager rations, poor living conditions and sickness. They also are faced with the loss of one of their party and the difficult birth of another.

This story is engaging and riveting from start to finish. However, the somewhat abrupt conclusion may be mildy disappointing. At the very least, it is left open for another sequel.

The book touches on the violence and persecution suffered by the characters but does so very gently and should be considered appropriate for all ages. While non-LDS readers would most assuredly enjoy the book, some of the references and jargon might not be fully understood or appreciated.

“Journey of Promise” is a beautifully written story that illustrates the struggles and heartaches experienced by some of the early Latter-day Saint immigrants. Through her characters Hall teaches the reader about the courage and great faith that they had in their Heavenly Father.

Sandra Nazar lives, writes and blogs in Oklahoma with her husband and five children. She blogs at www.sincerelysandra.net

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