|Available in book on CD, paperback, and hardcover from Beehive Books|
by Gerald N. Lund
Reviewer: Celeste Estes, daughter of the Queen Bee
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 804 pages
Goodreads Summary: When it comes to creating spellbinding historical fiction, nobody does it quite like Gerald N. Lund. In The Undaunted, he transports readers first to the coal mines of Yorkshire, then across the ocean and the plains to the territory of Utah, where, even in 1879, there is pioneering to be done. A little-known and perhaps even less-appreciated chapter in the Church's history comes to life in this gripping story of a stalwart group of Saints called to create a settlement to serve as a buffer between the established communities of Utah and the lawless frontier of the Four Corners area. Their challenge will be enormous—but the biggest part of it just may be getting there in the first place. Skillfully interweaving historical figures and events with fictional characters, Gerald Lund takes us through the Hole in the Rock and over miles of uncharted country that even today is impassable without all-terrain vehicles. His account of the adventure, romance, and sacrifices of these undaunted pioneers will resonate with readers who love a good story as well as those who want to better understand the incomparable legacy and unconquerable faith of those valiant Saints.
My Thoughts: Okay, so I just realized that the Goodreads summary is actually pretty biased: "spellbinding historical fiction," "skillfully interweaving," "will resonate with," etc. I agree that this book as history is great. It educates and brings to life for us a part of history that we do not know much about.
However, as a story, I think it attempts to cover too much time, starting in Yorkshire and ending in the Four Corners area. I can see why Lund does this. He wants us to understand the main character and the main character's father with a depth that would be otherwise impossible. However, because we start so far back, the story ends up having a long and dragged out feel to it. I found myself liking parts of the story but having to force myself to keep reading when it would switch gears. Also, although the love story added a fun touch, I felt it could have been executed much better, giving more attention to it and less to some of the other things. The love development just was not there, and suddenly the story ends with a marriage, surprise!
Overall, I learned enough to make reading this worthwhile, but it was not my favorite historical fiction.
3 out of 5 stars.