This is an epic of independence and devotion, of hardship and fulfillment, of a woman so strong that knowing her could change your life.
When 10-year-old Dinah Kirkham saw her father leave their Manchester home in the middle of the night, she asked when he would be back. “Soon,” he replied. But he never came back. On that night in 1829, John Kirkham laid the foundation of his daughter’s certainty that the only person Dinah could ever really trust was herself.
From that day forward, Dinah worked to support her family, remaining devoted to their welfare even in the face of despair and grinding poverty. Then one day she heard a new message; a new purpose ignited in her heart, and new life opened up before her.
©1984 Orson Scott Card (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Card’s magnum opus deserves a wider readership than it has hitherto enjoyed. Best known for his fantasy fiction…Card does an excellent job of depicting the Dickensian horrors of England undergoing industrialization in the early 19th century as well as the early trials of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints as experienced by his heroine…Not just for the LDS faithful…this ambitious novel will appeal to anyone interested in a sensitive examination of the roots of religious feeling.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Orson Scott Card is a powerful storyteller with the gift of making mundane things sparkle…an engrossing epic.” (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
I have read every single book written by Orson Scott Card, and this is Card at his best. Though I was first drawn to his works through my love of science fiction, it was his religious writing that kept me coming back for more. I myself am not a member of the Latter-Day Saints, nor am I affiliated with any other religion; however, religious writing (both fact and fiction) fascinate me, especially when presented by a sincere adherent and from a personal point of view.
"Saints", formerly published as "A Woman of Destiny", is a wonderful example of fiction that puts forth some of the doctrines of a faith without proselytizing, without becoming pedantic, and without necessitating any previous knowledge of said faith. In addition, it offers a well-written and -conceived story about a single woman's struggle with the trials and vicissitudes of life during the Industrial Revolution in the early nineteenth century-- the injustice, political and personal, inherent in being an impoverished woman during this time, and most of all, her endeavors to find faith in God, to find happiness, and to find happiness in her faith.
As usual, Card displays his astonishing understanding of the female mind, and Dinah Kirkham is a strong, believable character. I have long hoped for an audio production of this novel-- yes, I have read it in traditional paper format and I am still buying the audio version, as I have with so many other books by Card-- and if the narrative cast is any indication, this will be an excellent listen. Whether you are using member credits or paying full price, "Saints" is definitely worth your time and your money.
Yeah, this was good until I started doing some googe searches. He takes a lot of "artistic license" and his own interpretation of history. But I guess I have to cut him some slack, this book was apparently written in the mid 80's and since them there have probably been new research. So I will assume he was making the best assumption he could based on what he had at the time of this novel's writing. But the story was compelling and far from boring. Good book, just not great. Don't believe everything you read in it as "gospel truth".
Very inquisitive about different paths to God, or Truth, or Reality, I have been perplexed about Mormonism for some time. I am very glad there is a book like "Saints" by Orson Card to give an engaging narrative, with substantial historic veracity, not hiding anything that will strike a non-Mormon as dirty, and showing also the doctrine as a devout would see it. Bravo, dear Orson Card, you are always a victorious generous giver in all your many books I have read.
I would have selected a single narrator - one who could invest themselves in each of the characters. Alternatively, I would have had each of the multiple narrators stick to a character, so that each character could have a unique voice.
Several times in the story, the main character, Dinah Kirkham, is described as having a "Lancashire accent" - although you couldn't prove it from the narration. Each of the narrators who read Dinah's words gave her a different voice & only once or twice did that voice have anything but the narrator's own (American) accent.
Otherwise, the story was excellent. The book describes what life was like for early Mormons, but makes no attempt to proselytize. The author does a fine job of fleshing out each character. By showing the characters' struggles - physical, emotional & intellectual - the author lets us see them as real people.
I love Orson Scott Cards work, and I knew going into this book that it would heavily biased towards the LDS church. However, that didn’t keep me from disliking the moral judgments of some of the characters in the story. While the overall story is very solid, I think non-members of the LDS church will be quite offended by some of the doctrine discussed in the book. If you have an open mind, I think it’s well worth the listen and Stefan Rudnicki’s performance is up to his usual high standards.
I like many of Card's books, but this one just didn't work for me. It is historical fiction - kind of. That is the biggest problem I have with it: It is a series of hypotheses based on the extrapolation of sketchy historical documents at the time of Card's writing of this novel. Since Card wrote this book, most of his major plot twists and events have now been shot down and are "very improbable" or just flat out wrong. It was a nice try (and maybe plausible) at the time of his writing of this novel based on the facts that were known at the time, but now it is almost laughable. If you do read this book, do yourself a favor and google - particularity search for "fair lds wiki" and you will see what I am talking about...
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