by Marsha Ward
One of the books I've read this summer is titled Season of Sacrifice, a historical novel by Tristi Pinkston. It's a fictionalized biographical account of her ancestor, Ben Perkins, whose skills and imagination provided the way for the Saints going to the San Juan in Southeastern Utah to get through the Hole in the Rock.
The book began in Wales, where Ben was put to work in the coal mines at a tender age, learning how to use blasting powder to blow coal loose for carting out of the mine. After he joined the LDS Church, he was presented with the opportunity to go to America to Zion--the Great Salt Lake Valley. He left behind a budding relationship with Mary Ann Williams, but before he left, he received her promise to come to America later with his family.
The novel continues with Ben and Mary Ann's marriage when she arrives in Utah, their settling in Cedar City, and then their call to go on the San Juan mission. An expected six-week trip turned into a horrendous journey of six month's duration. The Saints battled the elements and the terrain, building roads and scaling mountains, always facing seemingly unsurmountable odds in achieving their goal to take their wagons and their families to a new place for a new life.
The final section deals with the difficulties wrought on the family by polygamy, when Ben proposes to Mary Ann's younger sister, Sarah. As Mary Ann put it, "I had prepared myself for a stranger, for a woman I hardly knew. You would build her a house far away from mine, and I could pretend the whole thing didn't exist. I could do that, Ben. I could love you and care for you and pretend that there wasn't some other woman out there, also loving you and caring for you . . . You've taken that blissful ignorance away from me."
Once the author realized that the characters (her ancestors) weren't converted to polygamy, but to obeying God, and believing in His promise that all would be made right someday, she was able to tell the story of how they came to the same conclusions.
The book contains over 300 pages of text, including notes. Frankly, given my eye problems in the past, I wondered how long it would take me to read the novel. Once I began, I flew through it, even staying up far too late at night to finish. It's a satisfying read, one I recommend.