Book review: 'Eastward to Zion' tells a different pioneer story
While the Mormon pioneers in the United States were migrating west and establishing a new home in Utah, missionaries continued to preach the gospel throughout the world, including Sydney, Australia. James and Eliza know none of this when they migrate separately to Australia in search of new opportunities, but it isn't long before they cross path with two Mormon missionaries with a strange message.
Eliza, a staunch Catholic, and James, a faithful Protestant, hit it off the moment they meet, but their religious differences are a constant thorn in their relationship. But when they decide to feed the missionaries a few times a week, even their religious differences start to align as they learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Loosely based on the lives of the author's great-great-grandparents, "Eastward to Zion" by Susan Aylworth focuses on a period of history most LDS readers are familair with — the Restoration. However, instead of focusing on the typical pioneers journeying from Palmyra, New York, to Utah's Salt Lake Valley, readers are treated to a setting not often associated with the Mormon pioneers: Australia.
But even on the other side of the world, the call to gather to Zion is the same. As the small settlement of Sydney Saints slowly trickles away to America, James and Eliza must decide if they are willing to leave their close friends and prosperous livelihood behind to cross oceans one more time to be with the Saints.
The language is clean and there isn't any violence or sexual content.
"Eastward to Zion" is Aylworth's lucky 13th novel. She lives in northern California with her husband, who is also a writer.
Angela Carter is a writer and editor. When she's not absorbed in words, she enjoys going on walks and playing the piano. She blogs at palydudeman.blogspot.com.
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