Saints

Length: 25 hrs and 50 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (284 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    128
  • 4 Stars
    87
  • 3 Stars
    38
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    15

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    127
  • 4 Stars
    64
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    9
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    4

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    107
  • 4 Stars
    55
  • 3 Stars
    35
  • 2 Stars
    9
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    15

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

"A Woman of Destiny"

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.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Long winded

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I was unaware that this was a Mormon story. Since I enjoy history, I liked the historical setting of the book. When I discovered that it was a fictional accounting of the early Morman church I was interested in how the story would sell their ideas, in particular polygamy. It was enlightening. I didn't feel the book particularly preachy. If it were, I would not have finished. I gave the story 2 stars because everything could have been said in a much shorter story. It droned and many chapters could have been combined. I didn't finish the book anxious for more, feeling a kinship with the characters. I was relieved when it ended. I didn't feel that I received anything valuable for my 20+ hours of listening time. I probably would have given the story a 3, possibly 4 stars if more substance was packed into half the time.

Would you ever listen to anything by Orson Scott Card again?

I might.

What three words best describe the narrators’s voice?

Multiple voices, some more pleasant than others.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes. It's important for people to have a belief in something greater than themselves. We may not all believe the same things, but the basic need for something greater is inherent in us all.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

informative and engaging

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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

This is a story about Mormons

A well-written and interesting historical fiction about early Mormons. I enjoyed it even though I am not a Mormon.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not What I expected

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Nothing could have helped this book - unless I was looking for a historical novel regarding the Mormon Church.

What was most disappointing about Orson Scott Card’s story?

I kept waiting for the story line to develop a normal Orson Scott Card bend, but it never happened

What aspect of the narrators’s performance would you have changed?

The narrators did fine with the story.

Any additional comments?

I need to remember to always look for the genre, not just assume by the author that it would be in his normal story lines.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Too long

this story could have finished ages ago....it was much too long. it became a chore that i was so stubborn i had to finish. goodbye Dinah.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

I would like to return this one!

Would you try another book from Orson Scott Card and/or the narrators?

No

What could Orson Scott Card have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It was too gruesome.

Would you be willing to try another one of the narrators’s performances?

Yes

Any additional comments?

I would like to return this book...too cruel and crude for my taste!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

An Epic Story with Indifferent Narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?

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.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good book!

Maybe a little more worldly or possibly just more human than I expected. Was well written and well worth reading, as are all of Orson Scott Card's books. I read the book shortly after it was published and certainly enjoyed listening to it this time.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very disturbing but well worth reading

Any additional comments?

The author does a terrific job in presenting certain aspects of life in England during the 1820's and 30's and in the U.S. during the 1830's and 40's. His portrayals of the industrialization of England and the growth of a new religious movement in America are very disturbing and revealing.

The character development, plot, and story are among the best that I have read. The pacing is also excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for sarahmoose2000
  • sarahmoose2000
  • 03-31-11

How much is too many?

A young family are abandoned by their father in Manchester. The children are sent to work and gradually make their way in the world.

A mormon preacher converts siblings Dinah and Charlie and their mother; and they set sail to America to live with other converts. They have to go back to the basic life they escaped, then deal with polygamy and prejudice.