Monday, May 3, 2010
In the Company of Angels by David Farland
Based on the true story of The Willie Handcart company of 1856, In The Company of Angels unfolds the triumphant tale of pioneers who struggle against unendurable hardships-persecution, buffalo stampedes, rampaging Indians, lingering starvation, and the early onset of the coldest winter in US history-to find the gentle homeland of the soul.
I went on Trek last summer with my church youth. We went the end of July when it was hot. We pulled handcarts for over 50 miles, experienced a sudden lightening/rain storm, went without water longer than we should have, put up and took down camp, grew blisters and soothed heat rashes.
You can ask anyone who went and they will tell you it was the best week. We grew spiritually and mentally, realizing we can do hard things.
It was hard going over Rocky Ridge in the summer, I can't imagine what it was like for the pioneers, who were starved and exhausted, to attempt the climb in the middle of a blizzard.
David's story is told from three viewpoints: Eliza Gadd, Bodine Mortenson and Captain Willie.
At first I was a little taken aback by the viewpoint her choose of the one non-LDS pioneer in the company. But as I read, I saw the strength in this character.
I already had a soft spot in my heart for Bodine, but after David's sketch of her, I loved her more.
And Captain Willie was made human and strong and amazing in this story.
I waited for parts of the story I was familiar with and was disappointed when they weren't given much light in the story. On the other hand, I learned more about the start and middle of the handcart trek.
I also waited for the part in the story that I assumed was the title. I wasn't disappointed, especially as I cried. And I don't cry easily. But after going over Rocky Ridge and spending time in Rock Creek Hollow, my tears easily surface at the mere mention of those places or the pioneers I associate there.
David self-published this book so I think I was hyper-aware of any mistakes. There were a few but for the most part I skimmed right over them.
Thank you,David, for giving us another look at an American tragedy that made so many strong people.