Today I'm reviewing a great book. UPON DESTINY'S SONG is about the Ole Madsen family who came across the plains in the Willie Handcart company. It's a gripping read and comes complete with a CD of wonderful music.
This book puts you right into the handles of the handcart. My muscles just ached with empathy while reading about real people who felt each bump in the road and who complained sometimes of the hunger and cold. I felt the anguish of poor Ane Madsen as she said good-bye to her eldest daughter before they left Europe. I found myself reading into the dark of the night to find out how they weathered the night up on Rocky Ridge. Did Marie found peace in her life? Did Ole help guard them against further terrors from beyond the grave? Did they ever know what heroes we would think they were?
The thing that makes this story so fascinating is that these were real people experiencing a very real set of challenges. They were tried so sorely that I can't imagine how they didn't just kneel down in the snow and give up.
This book also adds a second storyline: the author's experiences in searching for his ancestors and their stories and how they impact the author's life. I enjoyed reading about how his heart changed in trying to find what drove his family to carry on.
At times the book got a little disorganized, but searching for ancestral records is often that way. One comes by information by bits and pieces. This work got to me in a very real way.
I too had ancestors who came across the plains. My great great grandfather (at least I think it's two greats) was one of Brigham Young's scouts and one of the first 100 white men into the Salt Lake valley. His name is on the seagull plaque in Temple Square.
My husband had people who came across in the Christiansen Handcart Company just before the Martin/Willie Company.
This book has gotten me more interested in finding my own stories and putting them into written form.
I fully recommend UPON DESTINY'S SONG. Make sure you have lots of tissue handy.
You can purchase this book at latterdaycottage.com
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