Guide In the Company of Angels

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Clean Read. Excellent Read Feb 06, Sheila rated it really liked it. This was such a well written story of the Willie Handcart pioneers.

In the Company of Angels by William Hofeldt

I was so melancholy while reading this book. As an LDS person myself, I already knew the fate of this handcart company. As I read this book, it was so hard to not feel such sadness and heartache for these brave men, women and children. Interesting account of the Willie Handcart Co I have to admit the only reason I read this was for a book club. It took me a while to get into and in fact I almost quit reading halfway through. I only continued because of my bookclub. I really like the Fact vs Fiction at the end of th Interesting account of the Willie Handcart Co I have to admit the only reason I read this was for a book club.

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I really like the Fact vs Fiction at the end of the book. I too wondered what parts were true or not. There are numerous typographical errors which for me were kind of annoying. Made me wonder if the author had an editor. Overall a good story and interesting to hear the account of events. Oct 17, Megan rated it really liked it. I always hesitate to read LDS fiction, but I felt this was written well. I usually like historical fiction, with a fictional main character set in a historical setting with the real people.

However, this one used the real people as the main characters. But, I was able to go along with the story. There were definitely parts that made me cry and parts that made me think of what I would have done or felt in that situation. I would give this a pg rating. Aug 17, Lisa Shepherd rated it really liked it. Having previously studied the Willie Handcart Company, I felt like there was a lot of really good information and stories left out or merely glossed over. But I recognize that it would be impossible to include everything, and I think the author did a great job of taking some key figures and bringing them to life for us.

I have deep admiration and respect for these pioneers. Very enjoyable and thought-provoking read. Sep 09, Stephanie rated it it was ok. I love historical fiction but I feel like the author blurred the lines between fiction and reality too much for me. There was a section at the back of the book distinguishing truth from fiction but reading it at the end of each chapter was too disrupting to the story so I stopped referring to it.

I prefer historical fiction when the main characters are fictional and real characters play a more minor role. Sep 13, Jolene rated it really liked it. Having walked the more difficult areas of the trail in good weather, I feel it took angels for these people to finish this trek with faith and honor. Wonderful book! This is such a devastatingly sad book. It is also filled with so much faith, love and perseverance I can't believe anyone lived through this time.

This book is a great historical book. Jan 09, Katie rated it really liked it. This is a great book about the Willie Handcart company that made its trek from Iowa to Utah. I liked how the book focused mostly on three main characters: Eliza Gadd, the only person traveling with the company that was not a member of the LDS Church; Baline Mortensen, a ten-year-old girl traveling with another family while her parents save up money to travel to Utah the next season; Captain Willie, in charge of the handcart company.

Each chapter designates which of these three voices will be hea This is a great book about the Willie Handcart company that made its trek from Iowa to Utah. Each chapter designates which of these three voices will be heard. I really loved Eliza's character and Baline's character too.

They seemed very real, with real human flaws and emotions. They also showed true courage on such a dangerous trek across the country. There are notes in the back of the book which specifically tell you which parts of the characters are fictional and what is true to the history. Captain Willie was an interesting character with his true, unflinching courage and faith. I like how the author also depicts Captain Willie's weaknesses and maybe even moments of doubt himself as the journey became more and more dangerous.

The only thing I didn't like about his character is that I think the author puts a little too much emphasis on a disagreement between Captain Willie and one of the other leaders of the group. While it's known that they disagreed on whether to continue on the journey to Utah so late in the season or to try to winter over in Winter Quarters somewhere, I think the author just made too big of a deal of the disagreement, dragging it on and making Captain Willie seem vindictive and unforgiving towards this man at times.

One thing I really enjoyed about the book was how much information was given about the Indians and what a danger certain tribes were to pioneers at this time when there was so much tension between certain tribes and the US militia.


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I had heard a lot about how much cold and hunger the pioneers had endured, but I never really knew what a constant danger they were in from attacks from Indians. Because of this, the men had to take shifts guarding the camp at night which just added to their already desperate state of exhaustion and could only have hurried their demise. Oct 26, Garrett rated it it was amazing. I actually finished this about a week ago, but needed a little time to separate myself from it - for entirely good reasons.

I was deeply affected by this story and the pain and suffering this group of people endured. I'm not sure if it was just the story, or the writing, or something else, but it is probably a bit of all of those. This is historical fiction, so there is some supposition going on here about conversations and some things that happened. Dave has an appendix that gives mo I actually finished this about a week ago, but needed a little time to separate myself from it - for entirely good reasons.

Dave has an appendix that gives more details about what is real and why he made certain choices. I'm not sure it is exactly fair to analyze this book like I usually do, so I'll give a brief summary and some of my thoughts. This is the story of the Willie handcart company all this time and I never realized the Martin company was not traveling with them. They leave late in the season to get to Utah from England. Lots of problems hampered them, from delays in getting a ship from England to no handcarts being ready for them to rough weather to Indian trouble. Of course, the biggest problem that Dave points out so well is the lack of food for such an arduous journey.

They are eventually rescued by a group sent out from Utah, but not before many people die of starvation and exposure. Willie is the confident, religious captain of the company. Eliza is the non-believing wife of a faithful leader. And Baline is a young girl fleeing persecution. Of all of the stories, I felt drawn most to Eliza and her struggles with her family and their "blind" faith.

Baline's story, too, brought me to tears on a couple of occasions.

Summary and reviews of In the Company of Angels by Thomas E. Kennedy

At first I didn't like James. But as the story went on, I grew to see him in a new light and gained great respect for all that he did. After reading this, I felt like I wanted to be more like Baline and the other members of the company who worked so hard to create unity and love in their group. It gave me a new commitment to my life, and for that I am extremely grateful.

Mar 06, Wm rated it liked it Shelves: mormon , wm-reads-lds-genre-novels , historical-fiction , whitney-award-finalists. Note: this is one of the novels I'm reading as a voter for the Whitney Awards. My rating and review may or may not be indicative of how I will cast my vote. I didn't know what to expect going in.

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The later books don't do much for me, but the first three books in Farland's Runelords series are quite good so I know he is a good writer. But how would he approach historical fiction? And, more importantly, how would he handle Mormon historical fiction. Very well, as it turns out. This i Note: this is one of the novels I'm reading as a voter for the Whitney Awards.

This is a tragic tale, and Farland doesn't avoid the messiness of the situation. But neither does he try too hard to assign blame. Certainly, it's sympathetic to Mormonism, but it's not rank apologetics or sugar coating either. Which is probably why he ended up self-publishing the novel. In fact, he plays things straight -- the mistakes, the hypocrisy, the stubbornness, the fear, the death, the camaraderie, the faith, the differences in opinion, the sermons, the hardships, the miracles.

And unlike Gerald Lund in Tthe Undaunted , he doesn't force the narrative -- he propels the story along. And then after the narrative is done, Farland provides a coda that includes a candid look at blame there is plenty to go around, but as Farland notes, the biggest issue was simple ignorance of body chemistry -- the handcart pioneers were burning way more calories than they were consuming even when food was somewhat plentiful , quick summaries of the rest of the lives of some of the characters and a chapter by chapter look at what is historical and what he made up.

It's the right approach, in my opinion. I have not read much Mormon historical fiction, but this is easily the best example of that genre I've read so far. May 16, Jessica rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction. In clear and simple language, Farland beautifully illuminates the struggle of the Martin-Willey Handcart Company.

For those who do not know the story: many of the Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains to settle in Utah could not afford the livestock needed to make the trek by wagon.