Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Sons of the Covenant: Vol. 1: Sophia
Sons of the Covenant: Vol. 1: Sophia by Keith Terry
When the editor of this book contacted me about reviewing this most intriguing historical novel, I wasn't quite certain of what was in store for me. What insued was a much clearer and deeper understanding of one of our much beloved Prophets, Joseph F. Smith, son of Hyrum Smith, who was murdered along with his brother, Joseph, our first Prophet, in Carthage Jail in June 1844.
Brother Terry was approached by descendants of Joseph F. Smith with his unpublished journals, providing rich material for a sweeping story surrounding our 6th President and Prophet. When you read this wonderfully captivating and spiritual historical novel,take in consideration what the times were like in the mid 1800's and later and that Joseph had trials and frailties like everyone else. Some might be shocking, but be not judgmental.
Our story does center around Sophia Krushchenko, a young 17 year old Catholic postulant from the Ukraine, who is traveling to Vienna via train with her parents and younger brother. When an unforeseen incident occurs, it leaves Sophia and her family s tranded in a snowy blizzard in the mountains. With Sophia's courage and strength, she finds help, then finds herself in the jungles of primitive Borneo along side a Catholic nun. There she finds untold danger, but soon finds her way via train and ship towards Vienna, but with the onslaught of the war, she finds her way home delayed. She winds up at a small hospital in Santa Ana, California, where she is treated with scorn and indifference by the new doctor, Jared McBride, who has lost his faith.
When Sophia observes Joseph on the dock in Honolulu, she feels like he is very familiar to her. When she finds out that Joseph is a passenger on the same ship, she finds a way to meet him through Joseph's biographer, Caroline.
Just a few of the unknown stories of Joseph's life to bem ade public here are total details of little Joseph, just 5 years old when his father Hyrum and Uncle Joseph were murdered, was touching his father and not knowing his father was really dead inside that pine coffin lying in the Mansion House, seeing his father and Uncle's bodies change in looks.
Because Joseph also lost his dearly beloved mother, Mary Fielding, at such a young age, he didn't have a father figure to look up to, so he did some things not appropriate for a young LDS boy and young man. It did take Joseph a long time to get a handle on his violent temper, the one negative trait he had that concerned he and those closest to him.
I've just touched on a couple of these interesting and noteworthy episodes from Joseph's life. We know he became quite a man and implemented Family Home Evening as one of the most important programs we have in the Church.
I highly recommend this book for everyone, even those who are having struggles with their Testimonies. Towards the end, Joseph shares his vision he had as Prophet just before he spoke at his last General Conference in Oct 1918. This sharing in his own words affected me so much, I was literally sobbing. Thank you Joseph and Keith!!!!
I received my Review Copy from Sally Johnson, Creative Director and Editor of this historical novel.
Publisher: Digital Legends Press
Date Published: July 2011