By Orson Scott Card
As a lifelong Mormon I am sometimes skeptical to read literature about Mormons, especially Joseph Smith. I find that too often the author appears to either be on a quest to convert (which has its place in some circumstances) or they are looking to argue for or against the criticisms of a certain practice or principle. But when I read a novel, unless I am looking for something specific, I am there for the story. Orson Scott Card provided just what I was looking for in Saints. I especially loved the pioneer story of Dinah being converted in England. The setting and experience of being abandoned by her father was very moving. There were a number of places that brought tears to my eyes, and even made me angry, especially when her husband took her children off the boat. I wanted to fight the whole world, perhaps most of all her, for such an obvious injustice to the children.
I also really enjoyed the last half of the book that involved Joseph Smith. As the founding Prophet of the Mormon Church there is a great deal of controversy around him. I felt that Card did a very good job of illustrating Brother Joseph as both a Prophet and a man, for he was without a doubt, both.
Saints has been criticized greatly. For the most part I understand why people have a problem with it, the first part was depressing (but it was also very real, which I LOVE about historical fiction), and the second part perhaps took a few too many liberties with the specifics of plural marriage and Joseph Smith. However, I tend to rate a book based more on what I remember from it weeks after I have finished reading it and I seemed to remember the things I liked more than the things I didn’t. Yes, sometimes I was very uncomfortable with the discussion of plural marriage and sex but the historical, emotional, and personal character value I gained from the book boosted its rating a great deal. I didn’t seem to have a problem remembering this is a book of fiction. I found the story very compelling.
Historical Value- 4
Emotional Value- 4
Entertainment Value- 3
Personal Character Value- 4
Age recommendation- 18+