"A FAR HORIZON," by Anita Stansfield, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 208 pages (f)

In “A Far Horizon,” the second book of the “Shadows of Brierley” series, award-winning author Anita Stansfield launches her characters into a journey that spans two blossoming worlds.

After a miraculous spiritual experience solidifies their testimony of the Book of Mormon’s truthfulness, Ian and Wren feel compelled to leave their beloved home in Ireland and travel to America in search of this new religion. Setting sail with Bethia, Wren’s pregnant sister, and two new friends, Millie and Ward, the group has no idea the struggles that lie in store.

Tragedy dogs the travelers first on their ocean journey and then as they wait out a frosty New York winter. Dreadful misfortunes pile up causing heartbreak and despair to push Ian’s spirit to the breaking point. Ian and Wren face physical and emotional turmoil, and Ian is left wondering if his choices have really been for the best. Should he continue his quest for truth, or should he return with his family to the Irish home he loves?

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This book feels depressing and even daunting at times. The pace of the tale is heavy and plodding. Blow after blow strikes the tenderest parts of the character’s lives, dragging readers through an arduous and sometimes grueling plot. However, that may be exactly the point Stansfield was reaching for as many fledgling LDS converts did face extreme trials in order to join the Saints in America.

Still, the story does have its bright spots. Near the end, these early pioneers begin to find peace, and Wren and Ian, as well as the other surviving characters, start to see hope for their future. This book is an emotional journey, but a continued undercurrent of faith and hope ripples through to the end.

Stansfield’s latest book is sure to leave readers curious about where the next piece of the saga will lead.

Melissa DeMoux is a stay-at-home mother of six young children who lives in West Valley City, Utah. Her email is mddemoux@gmail.com and she blogs about her adventures in motherhood at demouxfamily.blogspot.com.

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