"ABIDE WITH ME, BANNER IS UNFURLED VOL. 4" by Marcie Gallacher and Kerri Robinson, Covenant Communications, 233 pages, $23.99
"Abide With Me," the fourth volume of the A Banner is Unfurled series and the continuation of the Johnson family saga, is an emotional journey that will grip readers' hearts. The story follows Ezekiel and Julia Hills Johnson and their children as they navigate life in a new and greatly persecuted religion called Mormonism.
"Abide With Me," written by Marcie Gallacher and Kerri Robinson and published by Covenant Communications, plunges into fresh drama as the family is divided due to difficult choices.
Relying on strength derived from their faith in God, each character faces arduous struggles when members of the family embark on a pilgrimage from Kirtland, Ohio, to Far West, Mo., to join the Mormon Saints.
Already separated from the wife he loves, Ezekiel's pain is only heightened as he helplessly watches most of his children follow their prophet Joseph Smith to a new settlement. He and his daughter Almera are left alone in Ohio pining for the loved ones they may never see again.
Having already buried four of her children, Julia is determined to care devotedly for those who remain. With Benjamin and Joe at her side, she gathers her younger offspring and travels with the Kirtland Poor Camp in its exodus toward Zion.
This chapter continues to focus on the families of Almon and Lymon, budding church leaders, but also begins to spotlight the conviction and faithfulness of young Benjamin and Joe. Deeply dedicated to his Father in Heaven, Benjamin begins to see the depth of his testimony as he follows in his brother Seth's footsteps. Joe also steps into the spotlight as he strides into position at the head of his mother's family.
This book is much faster-paced than previous books in the series. Readers are drawn deeply into the feelings and heroic actions of each character. The commitment of the individuals to their beliefs is inspirational.
"A Banner is Unfurled" is based on actual events and has been meticulously pieced together from letters, autobiographies and journal entries. Gallacher and Robinson, both descendants of Julia and Ezekiel Johnson, have researched extensively and strive to bring the depth of this remarkable family to life.
"Abide With Me" is a heartening account of people who helped shape the history of the early LDS Church. The story is dynamic and engaging. With the fifth volume of the series likely to be the final installment, this work tracks the Johnsons as their lives are placed on the knife's edge awaiting the choices that will lead them to their ultimate destiny.
"Abide With Me" is a book to uplift and inspire.
Melissa DeMoux is a stay-at-home mother of six young children who lives in West Valley City, Utah.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company