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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:


28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

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2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

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2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

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33 / 50 books. 66% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

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2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

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39 / 52 books. 75% done!
Monday, January 06, 2014

Mormon Mentions: Eric Pierpoint

If you're not sure what a Mormon is, let alone a Mormon Mention, allow me to explain:  My name is Susan and I'm a Mormon (you've seen the commercials, right?).  As a member of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or LDS Church), I'm naturally concerned with how my religion is portrayed in the media.  Because this blog is about books, every time I see a reference to Mormonism in a book written by someone who is not a member of my church, I highlight it here.  Then, I offer my opinion—my insider's view—of what the author is saying.  It's my chance to correct misconceptions, expound on principles of the Gospel, and even to laugh at my (sometimes) crazy Mormon culture. 


***

It's pretty much impossible to write a book about the settling of the Western United States without mentioning the Mormon pioneers.  The Last Ride of Caleb O'Toole by Eric Pierpoint is no exception.  Here are several passages from the book:

"It's all right, they're Mormons.  Those men in the black coats are leaders.  Their wagons crossed over the river at Fort Laramie.  They've been trailing us.  They're all headed to Utah and the Mormon Trail" (164).

"The Mormon wagon train was just ahead, the leaders standing guard like military men while the travelers bought and traded goods for their journey west.  They kept apart from other pioneers, preferring not to engage ...

He watched as Julie began an animated conversation with the Mormon prairie doctor" (173-174).

"Mormons mainly took their wagons across the Oregon Trail on the northern Platte road to avoid conflict with others who did not approve of Mormons or their religious practices.  They crossed over near Fort Fetterman and continued west until they picked up the Mormon Trail to Utah" (291).

-- Before The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints grew into a worldwide church, respected for its dedication to wholesome living, the preservation of the family and humanitarian causes across the globe, it was a small, struggling organization that drew a great deal of criticism and ridicule from outsiders.  Because the early Saints believed in things like a modern prophet (Joseph Smith), divine revelation, The Book of Mormon and polygamy, they were persecuted cruelly and continually.  Always in pursuit of the freedom to practice their religion, they moved from place to place, often driven out by angry mobs.  After the murder of Joseph Smith in 1844, the Saints were driven out of Illinois and begin the arduous journey west.  Eventually, around 70,000 Mormon pioneers would make their way to the Great Salt Lake Valley.  Along the way, they suffered greatly from hunger, thirst, extreme weather conditions, disease, and injury.  Led by their incredible faith, these early pioneers finally found refuge in what is now the state of Utah.  Read more about them here.    

(Images from Barnes & Noble and Lds.org)


Rousing Wild West Adventure Teaches And Entertains

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When cholera claims both his parents' lives, 12-year-old Caleb O'Toole knows the safety of his two sisters is now up to him.  Somehow, he's got to get what's left of his family to his aunt's ranch in Montana's Bitterroot Mountains.  It's an impossible distance—over 1300 miles away—and yet the ranch is the only home the O'Toole children have left.  They can't stay in Great Bend, Kansas, anyway, not since Caleb became a witness to a vicious murder committed by the Blackstone Gang.  With the outlaws hot on his trail, Caleb has no choice but to leave town.  Now.  

With so many dangers along the trail—wild animals, savage Indians, the blistering hot sun, tornadoes, etc.—the children have little chance of actually reaching their destination.  But, as their journey puts them in the path of both friend and foe, they'll learn a great deal about family, fortitude and friendship.  As they encounter peril after peril, one question remains (okay, two):  Will the O'Tooles reach safety in Montana?  Can they survive the brutalities of both the Oregon Trail and the Blackstone Gang?  Only time will tell ...

Bursting with action, The Last Ride of Caleb O'Toole by Eric Pierpoint tells a fast-paced Wild West tale guaranteed to enthrall readers of all ages.  It's a rousing historical adventure that teaches while it entertains.  The characters could have been better developed, but overall, I enjoyed this one.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language, violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Last Ride of Caleb O'Toole from the generous folks at Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky.  Thank you!
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Reading

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The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof

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Glass Houses by Louise Penny



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