“FRESH COURAGE TAKE: Come to Zion, Vol. 3,” by Dean Hughes, Deseret Book, $25.99, 422 pages (f)
Author Dean Hughes wraps up his Come to Zion series with “Fresh Courage Take.” As each couple faces the challenges of building Zion in their respective eras, the book shows that it takes faith, courage and hard work regardless of the time period.
“Fresh Courage Take” continues the story of Mormon pioneers Will and Liz Lewis and his descendant Jeff Lewis and his wife, Abby, that Hughes started in “The Wind and the Waves” and continues in “Through Cloud and Sunshine.”
In pioneer-era Nauvoo, Illinois, the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are reeling from the deaths of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum and are working to finish the temple despite the animosity from those around them.
While preparing to head west, Will is one of the men asked to join the Mormon Battalion, and their story is divided in story of the battalion’s journey through what is now the southwestern United States. Readers also follow Liz as she is trying to take care of her boys and is expecting another child while in Winter Quarters, Nebraska.
For Jeff and Abby, in modern-day Nauvoo, they are working to remodel their rental home as their previously medically fragile son continues to thrive. Life isn’t simple as Jeff and his friend decide to start a business together, and Abby begins a part-time job and is called to be Relief Society president.
Both Will and Jeff face struggles of employment and supporting their families and look at different ways to do so. They put on themselves for church assignment and personal expectations: Will to fulfill a promise he made to his father-in-law before they left England, and Jeff is torn between continuing with his IT job and his dream to go to graduate school.
Hughes, who is the author of more than 100 books, brings to life each character, including many minor characters, as they face struggles and triumphs with their faith, emotions and physical situations that at times brings out the best, and other times, less than noble attributes.
The details in his fictionalized account also reflect the level of research that Hughes has put into his writing. It’s a satisfying ending to the series that is easy to get emotionally invested in.
For Hughes, he writes in the author’s note that the pioneers “were not superhuman. They fought through the challenges of their time as best they could. For me, that’s inspiring.”
The language is clean and there is no sexual content and only a handful of general descriptions of mob violence.
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