I have had this behemoth sitting on my shelf for awhile now, waiting until I could get to it. We love Gerald Lund's books for their fun stories and the way he incorporates history into them. I knew nothing about the Hole in the Rock pioneers so I was anticipating learning about them.
The book begins in England, Yorkshire to be more precise and spends quite a long time establishing the background of one of the main characters, David Draper, who is 6 years old as the book begins and just starting to work in the coal mines. David and his father John find that they need to leave Yorkshire rather quickly to avoid arrest soon after the death of his mother. They make their way to Liverpool to find passage to America. They hear about the Mormons and find that their passage, food, and train fare would all be included in a very affordable price. They are thrilled and start to book passage, then learn that they must be members in order to go with them. They attend a meeting with missionaries that night, and join right away.
They travel to Utah to begin a new life but David always feels guilty that they joined the Church under false pretenses. He attends church sporadically but never really commits his heart to it until he goes to Cedar City to work for Patrick McKenna. There he meets a remarkable family and he joins his fate with theirs even when they are called to colonize a very forbidding part of the country.
The book is, ahem, daunting (sorry!) being 800 pages long. There were probably things that could have been cut out to make it shorter but I feel like all those details increased my understanding of the many difficulties they faced. I love how gospel principles are interspersed with the history and the romance. Despite it's length, I found it to be an easy and enjoyable read. Rated G.