Non-Fiction Book Review | “Saints at Devil’s Gate: Landscapes along the Mormon Trail” by Laura Allred Hurtado and Bryon C. Andreasen

Posted Sunday, 26 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I received an enquiry from the (LDS) Church Historian Press regarding working with them on select non-fiction releases – which interested me as I have been reading LDS Fiction and Non-Fiction for the past two years. My interests in non-fiction (LDS or otherwise) tend to parallel through the historical past (as I love learning about History) and thread through biographical accounts of persons who lived. I love to seek out a variety of topics across different sub-interests of mine – including Science, Philosophy and Feminism as well. Being an ancestral sleuth in my family alongside my Mum, I love finding out the hidden histories not as well known as other aspects of the historical past, too. Therefore, when they approached me about reviewing for them, I was quite keen to find out more about their releases. This marks my first review with a second shortly following: ‘At the Pulpit’ a special overview of LDS Women.

I received a complimentary copy of “Saints at Devil’s Gate” direct from the publisher The Church Historian’s Press (in conjunction with The Church of Latter-day Saints) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keenly interested in this particular release:

Originally, I was meant to post my review on behalf of ‘Saints at Devil’s Gate’ in January – however, due to personal reasons (related to life after my father’s stroke) I haven’t been able to post as frequently as I had beforehand – I’ve been spending the past few months re-adjusting to my father’s recovery and being his main caregiver whilst my Mum works full-time in order to offset my father’s recovery. It hasn’t lended itself to feeling very readerly or in the mood to blog – I’ve had to make adjustments to my online life as I re-emerge into my reading life one story at a time. I admit, I haven’t quite found the balance I am seeking but throughout January & February, I can say, my family and I have found positive enroads moving forward with my father’s recovery, as well as keeping observant on how the after effects of his stroke’s are affecting his everyday life.

Having said this – I originally wanted to post this review far ahead of my second review for the LDS Church, however, sometimes in our lives things happen which upset the course we’re walking. The best we can do is try to make amends lateron and follow-up after the dust settles. I’ve been struggling to re-inspire myself forward in my readings – finding that whilst I feel more confident in what I’m doing offline to help my Dad, I haven’t quite transitioned through to finding down-time to focus on things outside our personal sphere. I’d like to find a way to read and blog more regularly similar to the pace I was starting to set forth as my ‘new regular norm’ last Autumn, as despite pairing down my commitments, I was finding reading several books a week to be quite enjoyable – especially with a more relaxed pace of deadlines.

I am hoping with each new post and book I consume now, will be one story closer to finding my bookish spirit renewed as I inch towards balancing being a caregiver and a hearty reader of stories – coming full circle since the fateful day I watched my father have a stroke before the paramedics and doctors were involved. Some events cause small ripples of changes and other times, our lives change in such distinctive ways, it takes us a bit of time to ‘catch-up’ to realising we’re not quite the same as we were but that doesn’t mean life won’t continue forward – it’s simply we need to allow ourselves a bit more breathing space to sort it all out. Find our way, and hope everyone along the way understands our absences where we cannot always pull things together.

The reason I wanted to accept receiving ‘Saints at Devil’s Gate’ is because it’s a photographically inspired art book – following in the footsteps of the Mormon Pioneers who went West in search of a new place to call home. Through my ancestral research – I have come to find out more about how all of our ancestors made their way in the world. Courtesy of the LDS Church for providing us with the best resource to seek out our ancestors: FamilySearch.org. I’ve mentioned this previously on my blog – how thankful I am to Family Search and the LDS Church for providing all of us a method of researching our family and ancestral lines.

Although I am non-LDS Protestant, part of what I researched led me to find I have Pioneers of the LDS Church in my ancestral past – where a marriage separated part of my ancestral family. The wife of one of my ancestors had to say ‘goodbye’ to her family as they moved West – taking the long road out to Utah, whilst staying behind to start her family, having been recently married. This is as much as I can pull together by what is left behind to be found. At least, I think this is what happened! There is always an error of caution when researching your ancestral heritage – are the pieces pulling together in the right way and are we interpreting the clues in the right way to understand the lives of our ancestors? I am unsure if I will find more at a later date or not, but for now, I thought it was keenly interesting on the fringes of finding out about this – a book about the Mormon Trail was available to be reviewed!

I also appreciated the Church Historian’s Press for being open to having a diverse group of reviewers and book bloggers receiving their releases from different backgrounds – as this highlights something I’ve been trying to understand better about why there is such a division of interest in INSPY Non-Fiction and Fiction releases. INSPY is the shortened word for Inspirational Fiction and Non-Fiction – the main umbrella of literature for faith-based literature – not limited to one religion nor branch of Christianity; as sometimes I think is wrongly perceived. I read INSPY Lit as it was intended – across cultural and religious backgrounds whilst finding inspiring stories in both fictional and realistic (non-fiction) settings of interest.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comNon-Fiction Book Review | “Saints at Devil’s Gate: Landscapes along the Mormon Trail” by Laura Allred Hurtado and Bryon C. AndreasenSaints at Devil's Gate
Subtitle: Landscapes along the Mormon Trail
by (Artist) Bryan Mark Taylor, (Artist) John Burton, (Artist) Josh Clare, Bryon C. Andreasen, Laura Allred Hurtado
Source: Direct from Publisher

The book showcases fifty-two landscapes paintings of the Mormon Trail, the 1,300 mile route from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City that some 70,000 Latter-day Saint pioneers travelled between 1846 and 1869. Each painting is paired with quotations from the original journals and reminiscences of pioneers who made the journey.

The paintings were created from 2011 to 2016 by award-winning Latter-day Saint landscape artists John Burton, Josh Clare, and Bryan Mark Taylor. Jean Stern, executive director of the Irvine Museum in Southern California, said that these artists are 'noted for their remarkable ability to paint beautiful and elegant works, filled with natural light and brilliant colour.' He added that the paints will 'appeal to all viewers, those who seek meaning and enlightenment in the historical background of the trail s well as those who seek beauty in art and nature'.

The pairings of the paintings with historical quotations allows modern-day readers to share in some of the feelings that Mormon pioneers experienced while travelling west. For example, Bryan Mark Taylor's Looking Back which depicts Nauvoo as seen from across the Mississippi River in Iowa is paired with a May 1846 excerpt from Wilford Woodruff's journal: 'I left Nauvoo for the last time perhaps in this life. I looked upon the temple & city of Nauvoo as I retired from it and felt to ask the Lord to preserve it as a monument of the sacrifice of his Saints'.

Laura Allred Hurtado, global acquistions art curator for the Church History Museum points out that 'not all the experiences of the Mormon pionners were tragic. Journal entries capture the mundane and practical toiling of daily life', such as finding places to wash clothes, picking flowers, and dancing and playing music.

Pioneeers also commented regularly, sometimes quite poetically, on the beauty and grandeur of the land they were traversing. Referencing bluffs she had passed in western Nebraska on the journey in summer 1853, English convert Hannah Tapfield King wrote, 'The Bluff ruins... are very beautiful - I should like to have an explanation about them - but I suppose none know their history - They stand out in bold relief with a silent eloquence that speaks trumpet-tongued to every thinking mind - They are looking eternally silent.'

The new book accompanies an exhibition of the same name that opened at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City on November 17. The free exhibition is open to the public and will run through August 2017. The exhibition is also available online via LDS Church History Department.

Places to find the book:

ISBN: 978-0-692-78585-0

Genres: Art & Art History, Biography / Autobiography, Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Fine Art & the Natural World, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Interviews & Conversations, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Travelogue


Published by The Church Historian's Press, The Church History Department

on November, 2016

Format: Softcover Edition

Published by: The Church Historian Press (imprint of) The Church History Department

of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Formats Available: Softcover

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #ArtBooks. #OilPaintings, #LDSChurch, #MormonTrail, #MormonPioneers

About (Artist) Bryan Mark Taylor

Bryan Mark Taylor

A world traveler and an accomplished painter, Bryan Mark Taylor has won numerous top awards at the most prestigious plein air invitationals and is regularly featured in western art magazines. His work can be found in private, corporate, and museum collections around the world. He received his BA from Brigham Young University in 2001 and his MFA from Academy of Art University in 2005. He lives with his wife and four children in Alpine, Utah.

About (Artist) John Burton

John Burton

John Burton is an award-winning oil painter best known for his stirring and vivid depictions of the transitory beauty of our ever-changing world. A graduate of Academy of Art University, Burton has traveled and painted around the globe, always maintaining his home in the American West. Burton’s deep American roots permeate the rich, natural character of his art and inform his work’s reverent tone. John is married with four children.

About (Artist) Josh Clare

Josh Clare

Josh Clare graduated with a BFA in illustration from BYU-Idaho in 2007 and has earned numerous awards, including Artists’ Choice at the 2012 Laguna Plein Air Invitational and second place in the Raymar 6th Annual Art Painting Competition. His work has been featured in Western Art & Architecture, Southwest Art, and Art of the West. He lives with his wife, Cambree, and their children, Nathan, Anna, and Emily, in Cache Valley, Utah.

About Bryon C. Andreasen

Bryon C. Andreasen

Bryon C. Andreasen earned a JD at Cornell University and a PhD in nineteenth-century American history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently a historian at the Church History Museum, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. Previously he was the research historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, where he also edited the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association and helped found the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition that pioneered heritage tourism in Illinois.

About Laura Allred Hurtado

Laura Allred Hurtado

Laura Allred Hurtado works as the global acquisitions art curator for the Church History Museum, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. She has curated exhibitions at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, CUAC Contemporary, Alice Gallery, Rio Gallery, Snow College, and the Granary Art Center. Previously, she worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.

Read More

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Posted Sunday, 26 February, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christianity, Family Life, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, The Church Historian's Press

#ChocLitSaturdays | Book Review “To Turn Full Circle” (Book No. 1 of Emma series) by Linda Mitchelmore

Posted Saturday, 25 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “To Turn Full Circle” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Why Jorie wanted to read this series:

I’ve been wanting to read more serial ChocLit – as ChocLit has such a lot of lovely series to dig inside where you can travel through time slipped worlds, tuck into the historical past or feel a heart grab for Rom Suspense where their authors give you a thrilling ride of the unknown! I love reading series because it allows me to spend more time with certain characters and gives me such a lovely insight into an author’s particular style for crafting a long arch of narrative together. Series also are expansive and happily devoured for how the story doesn’t have to end in one installment nor does it always have to resolve on an up note if there is a cliffhanger between volumes.

I’ve had the joy of soaking inside ChocLit serial fiction for the past year, even though I have sought out their series since I first started reviewing for them. The series which I have focused on previously are as follows: Little Spitmarsh (see thread); Shadows of the Past (see thread); Rossetti Mysteries (see thread); Charton Minster (see thread); Immortals of London (see thread); London & Cambridge Mysteries (see thread); Pirates of Ile Sainte Anne (see thread); Coorah Creek (see thread); Kumashiro (see thread); Middledip (see thread) and Stitch in Time (see thread).

The Emma series felt like a good fit for me as it takes place in the early 20th Century – where one girl’s life is upturnt when her mother and brother die prematurely, casting her life into the unknown. I love the historical past, as it’s one of my favourite methods of telling a story: to pull out the historical context and constructs to enliven a hidden glimpse of the past or to tell a story which simply could not be explored outside a historical lens. Historicals are wicked brilliant for creating a periscope into how we once lived and of the things we have learnt from as a society. We all share a common knowledge of the past but it’s how the people who lived before us can re-inspire Historical Fiction to entreat us into corners of history we might not yet have traversed. For these reasons, I tend to lean towards reading ‘historicals’ more than’ contemporaies’ except of course when there is a time slip or time shift involved, where both the past and present are dearly important and co-dependent upon each other!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

 #ChocLitSaturdays | Book Review “To Turn Full Circle” (Book No. 1 of Emma series) by Linda MitchelmoreTo Turn Full Circle
by Linda Mitchelmore
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Life in Devon in 1909 is hard and unforgiving especially for young Emma Le Goff, whose mother and brother die in curious circumstances leaving her totally alone in the world. And while she begins to recover from her grief, her callous landlord Reuben Jago claims her home and her belongings.

His son Seth, is deeply attracted to Emma and sympathises with her desperate need to find out what really happened. He’s ashamed of his family but can do very little to help without incurring the wrath of his father.

For her part, Emma’s long held a torch for the handsome Seth. But how can she be with him now that his father has behaved so despicably?

When mysterious fisherman, Matthew Caunter comes to Emma’s rescue. Seth is furious and insanely jealous. He seeks solace with another woman and is determined to forget Emma. However, it’s not as easy as he’d hoped.

While Emma is drawn to the charismatic Matthew, he makes it clear he is only passing through. With his help she starts to rebuild her life but regardless of the turns it takes there is always something missing.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781906931728

Also by this author: Grand Designs

Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance Fiction


Published by ChocLitUK

on 13 March, 2013

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 352

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

Converse via: #HistRom + #ChocLit

About Linda Mitchelmore

Linda Mitchelmore

Linda has had over two hundred short stories published worldwide. She has also won many short story writing competitions – Woman’s Own, Woman & Home and Writespace to name but three. In 2004, Linda was awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary by the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and has a story in their 50th Anniversary Anthology. Linda also won Short Story Radio Romance Prize 2010. Having started her writing career doing a short story course with Writing Magazine, she has now come full circle and is a preliminary judge for their short story competitions. Linda lives in Devon and is married with two grown-up children.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 25 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bootleggers & Smugglers, Britian, British Literature, Brothers and Sisters, Chefs and Sous Chefs, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Cookery, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, England, Green-Minded Publishers, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Siblings, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Suspense, the Nineteen Hundreds