Saturday, May 19, 2012

Forsaking All Others

In this continuation of the “Sister Wife” series, Pittman continues the story of Camilla Fox, whose flight from her Mormon husband corresponds with her spiritual awakening. Found half-frozen on the prairie by the United States Army, Camilla finds new hope even as she must undergo excruciating surgery as well as anguish over the loss of her children. Determined to rescue her young daughters from Mormonism, Camilla risks her life, health and heart in an odyssey which tests both faith and the full extent of maternal love. Throughout the novel, Camilla is torn between her passion for Nathan Fox and her awakening love for Colonel Charles Brandon, the soldier who has given her his protection.

While there are a few anachronistic expressions in the course of the narrative, the reader is given a fascinating glimpse into Mormon pioneer life and explores the psychological and social aspects of polygamy. It is interesting to see existence inside a cult. No character is stereotypical, however, and one sees why Camilla was drawn to the Mormons in the first place. It is also clearly shown why she ran away. Pittman weaves an unusual tale of the Old West, a tale which is both inspiring and romantic.

This review originally appeared in the May 2012 edition of the Historical Novels Review.

(*NOTE: This book was sent to me by the Historical Novel Society in exchange for my honest opinion.)


1 comment:

Karenee H. said...

I've been coming to your blog for some time now, and have liked it. You frequently link to articles I find both interesting and insightful.

I was very disappointed, however, to see this book reviewed so positively. Looking at other reviews and synopses, it seems that this is yet another addition to the many myths about Mormonism.
First: Yes, polygamy was practiced. But it was not a widespread, general thing. No one was ever forced to participate. Forcing someone to do something is against the tenets of our faith. Anyone practicing polygamy today, or any time in the past hundred years and more, is not a member of the LDS Church. They are frequently members of off-shoot sects, but are no more Mormon than Anglicans are Catholic.
Second: The Mormon faith, more properly called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is not now, nor has it ever been, a "cult", any more than Catholicism, Lutheranism, Judaism, or any other organized religion. We are, and always have been, Christian. There is nothing to "rescue" anyone from, any more than there is to rescue someone from being Catholic or Jewish. We are a law-abiding, charitable, hard working, helpful people. We don't perform weird rites, we don't force people into a lifestyle they don't want. (Well, some teenagers may feel that way, but teenagers from all sorts of backgrounds rebel against their parents!)
We get a lot of bad press, particularly from former members of our faith. But people who harbor resentment and dislike are poor sources of information. The best place to get information about Mormonism is from Mormons, or at the least disinterested historians. I am aware that asking anyone LDS about their faith is a quick way to end up with our missionaries at your door - we can get over-enthusiastic. But there are plenty of books that give accurate information. (The first, and easiest to access, that comes to my mind is one of those "For Dummies" books, despite the rude title.)

Thank you for the time you put into this blog, and for sharing your interests and passions. Thank you also for the time you have taken to read this quite lengthy comment! I look forward to more of your posts in the future.