Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Season of Sacrifice by Tristi Pinkston



Season of Sacrifice, Tristi Pinkston, Golden Wings Enterprises, Trade paperback, 321 pages, $16.95 U.S., ISBN: 978-0-9794340-1-3

Visit Tristi Pinkston at: www.tristipinkston.com

Season of Sacrifice by Tristi Pinkston is a heart-wrenching story about a group of Mormon faithfuls and their struggle to build a new life for themselves and their families in the rugged hills of Utah.

Ben Perkins is a religious man who seeks an escape from a lifetime of toil in the Welsh coalmines. He seizes upon an opportunity to go to America. He must first travel to New York and then on to Utah with his church, the Church of Latter Day Saints. He takes with him only half of his family, but promises to earn enough money to pay for the voyage of the remaining relatives and his fiancee and true love, Mary Ann Williams.

Even though a great deal of time passes, Ben proves true to his word. Mary Ann departs for America with the remainder of Ben’s family. Soon after her arrival, Ben and Mary get married. A few years pass and then to Mary Ann’s delight, her own family, including her sister Sarah, joins them in Utah.

When Ben decides to take his family and join the San Juan mission to Southern Utah, much to Mary Ann’s delight, Sarah decides to join them.

The wagon train sets forth, but no one anticipates the trials and tribulations they must face in order to reach their destination. Steep cliffs, rough terrain, and mountains of rock block their way. In order for their wagons to make it through, they must blast holes, build roads, and survive brutal weather. Yet despite all this, they manage to reach their destination without the loss of a single life. Together, they made history and became famous as the group that made it through the “Hole in the Rock.”

As they settle into their new lives, their happy life is once again disturbed when Ben decides to enter into a plural marriage. His choice for second wife is none other than his sister-in-law, Sarah.

Before reading this novel, I knew little about the Mormon faith except for the fact that plural marriages are steeped deep in the Church’s ancient history. Polygramy is a difficult subject at the best of times because of its conflict with today’s social values. Yet Tristi tackled the topic with tenderness and class. Her dignified accounting of the reactions of people involved in the plural marriage gave the reader a three dimensional view of the contraversial subject and the impact of polygamy upon the lives of those involved.

Based on Tristi Pinkston’s own family tree, and with photographs of the actual family members provided, the reader can easily bond with the characters. I especially enjoyed the list of notes separating fact from fiction at the end of the book.

Long after the final pages were turned and I closed the book with a satisfied sigh, the memory of the novel and the story of the people stayed with me. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who wants a peak inside the lives of the Mormon Saints who, against all odds, forged a home out of the harsh Utah landscape.