Sunday, July 13, 2008

Season of Sacrifice

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.

4 comments:

  1. Great book reveiw, Marsha ~ I look forward to reading it. I'm also looking forward to the retreat this week!!! See you soon!

    Blessings,
    Stephanie

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  2. Sounds like something worth reading. I must confess I try to sweep the polygamy questions under the rug. I like the way you put they weren't converted to polygamy but to obeying God.

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  3. Thanks, Stephanie. See you soon.

    Terri, Tristi said she couldn't bear to write about the subject until she understood that they were convinced that they were following God's commandment and were willing to obey Him.

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  4. I bought a couple of Tristy Pinkson books and hurried to check the titles. Guess I'll have to buy another. Loved your report.

    My Grandfather Liljenquist had three wives, my grandmother being the third. I know she felt she made the right choice in marrying a man some thirty-odd years her senior, but life was never easy for her. (Maybe it wasn't easy for anybody back in those frontier days. Grandma walked almost all the way across the Great Plains when she was eight, and my dad was born in 1881.) I recall hearing how the other two wives argued over what to call her. One wife was Annie, the other Cristine, and Grandma's name is Annie Christine. Grandma lived pretty much alone with her sons after the manifesto, and my dad said he only knew his father as being kindly, but only an occasional visitor. He lived in Utah, Grandma homesteaded in Idaho, north of Rexburg. But oh, how I do appreciate both of them. I wish I had had the foresight to ask a bunch of questions before Grandma died. I could have, if I'd only thought to. Some day I'll be able to -- if it will make any difference then.

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