Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Palmyra by Susan Evans McCloud

I received this book as a gift probably 5 years ago and it has been sitting in a box ever since where I discovered it a couple of weeks ago. The book is set in Palmyra, New York after Joseph Smith has revealed his first vision. The plot revolves around the lives of 5 women who have been friends their entire lives and is told from Esther's perspective. You would think that the story revolves around the events that happened in Palmyra around this time but it doesn't. Rather it follows the lives of these 5 women as they grow and marry and start families and explores how friendship changes as we age. The book is neither exciting nor doctrinal. While the book is not in any way a page turner it was really wholesome and I came to feel about the characters and their lives like I would a dear friend. My complaint with many LDS novels is that they can become really heavy on the praying, scriptures, and general Holy Ghost feelings to the point that it becomes cheesy. Thankfully, I did not find that to be the case with Palmyra. I felt uplifted but not because McCloud shoved it down my throat. My only complaint was that it was very centered on having babies and losing babies...which I guess for this time period would have been very common given their age. By the time the third character had either lost a child or miscarried I was a little spent with the concept and this was the only thing keeping me from giving it more that 4 stars. Other than that I really came to love Esther and the friendship she shared with the other women.

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