What True Sisters is about:
Sandra Dallas delivers the story of four women---seeking the promise of salvation and prosperity in a new land---who come together on a harrowing journey. In 1856, Mormon converts, encouraged by Brigham Young himself, and outfitted with two-wheeled handcarts, set out on foot from Iowa City to Salt Lake City, the promised land. The Martin Handcart Company, a ragtag group of weary families headed for Zion, is the last to leave on this 1,300-mile journey. Three companies that left earlier in the year have completed their trek successfully, but for the Martin Company the trip proves disastrous. True Sisters tells the story of four women from the British Isles traveling in this group.
Why I wanted to read it: I love Sandra Dallas and gobble up her books every chance I get. I requested this one from my library as soon as I knew it was available!
Source: Public Library
- One of the main reasons I love to read historical fiction is because I am almost certain to learn about an event that without the book I would never have heard about. This is most certainly the case with the story in Dallas' newest release. I have been to SLC and to Temple Square and had I been more aware of the Mormon's history I would've spent more time looking at the statues that I saw on the grounds that depicted the Mormon Handcart Pioneers.
- I found it hard at first to keep track of all of the characters and who belonged where, but eventually I got it all squared away and was able to really enjoy the story. I found myself more often than not in absolute awe of what these people endured all in the name of religion and believing that the valley was Zion and if they stopped for any reason their souls would burn in hell. That part was hard for me to swallow. These people endured hardship beyond belief. They had to push/pull their handcarts 1300 miles from Iowa City to Salt Lake City through all types of weather conditions, without food towards the end, and with no help in sight. Many of the women were pregnant, many became sick and laid down on the path and died right there, and others lost limbs to frostbite. The loss of life was devastating to read about.
- "The oxen could not paw away the snow to reach the dried grass beneath it, and each day, one or two fell and would not rise. So the Saints slaughtered any beast that was almost starved or was chilled to death, hitting it with hammers and hatchets and even frying pans to knock it senseless so that is throat could be cut. Then two or three men who could do the butchering cut up the carcass, setting aside the tenderest parts for the leaders" When I finished reading that sentence I was pissed beyond belief. The leaders got the best part of the oxen, imagine that?? Here were all of these people who believed the Leaders were godlike and never questioned any of their decisions. The Blizzard was God's plan, children dying was a part of God's plan, and if you didn't follow these men, they would excommunicate you and leave you on the trail to die.
Sanda Dallas never fails to deliver a well executed novel that grabs my attention immediately and makes me care desperately for the people she introduces to the reader. I am so glad that I read this book because I love to learn about the history of the United States and I also like to read about people with extreme faith. Even though these women were not real people, the journey they traveled was very real and has been written about extensively. I have tremendous respect for those whose faith never wavered and made it to their final destination. My heart aches for all the ones who lost their lives in search of God and who didn't feel that they could question the Leaders without fearing eternal damnation.