About the Books

Children of a Northern Kingdom

Children of a Northern Kingdom  relates the story of a group of non-polygamous Mormons who flee to the north when their prophet and leader, Joseph Smith Jr., is assassinated in 1844. Leaving their city of Nauvoo in Illinois, they make their way to Voree, Wisconsin, where a man named James Strang has declared himself their new prophet.

Rusty Manning, a blacksmith, is part of this group, along with his wife Marie. Marie’s brother, Gabriel Romain, a physician, is the leader and driving force behind the group of friends. He gets them north to Wisconsin and eventually to Beaver Island in Lake Michigan, where they hope to be safe at last from persecution.

Their years on the island, where James Strang proclaims himself king and begins to practice plural marriage; their trials and persecutions; and their unsuccessful attempts to pacify their neighbors are depicted and described. Unable to leave the island without abandoning all their material possessions, they are eventually driven out by the non-Mormons when Strang is assassinated.

They are put on boats, with some separated from their families, and dispersed all along the Michigan and Wisconsin shorelines. The persecution and treatment of these Beaver Island Mormons is considered by most historians to be one of the darkest periods in Michigan history.

How Rusty, separated from his wife and his family, finally manages to reunite with them is an integral part of the story.

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In Clouds of Fire

Love, violence, and death on the American frontier play a part in this story of the early Mormons and their search for peace and freedom from persecution. Nathaniel, a young man from a Shaker background, has promised to help Hannah and her brother get safely from Ohio to Missouri, where her fiancé Dan is building a cabin for them. Despite his determination to assist, Nathaniel finds himself falling in love with Hannah. How can he hand her over to Dan and never see her again? His dilemma is made worse by the journey’s trials and the threat of persecution.

In Clouds of Fire also explores the diversity of people who were attracted to this new, unique religion, and the groups from which they came. Some came from a Huguenot background, one from the French settlement at Gallipolis, Ohio, some from the group known as “Seekers.” One is an ex-slave. All these people combine to form a family group within the greater community, where they face the realities of persecution and sacrifice in order to stay together. Based on accounts and journals of the time, the book brings to life an exciting portion of American history.

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The Way to the Shining City

Love and violence on the American frontier characterize this exciting novel about the early Mormons and their search for a place of peace and religious freedom. Thwarted in their attempt to settle together in northern Missouri, they flee to Illinois where they establish a city called Nauvoo on the Mississippi. The novel describes their search for a place of refuge, the heart-rending story of their persecutions, and the ultimate destruction of their city.

The novel’s main character is Gabriel Romain, a blacksmith and physician, who tries to deal with persecution, slavery, and death. How he eventually becomes the leader of his little group is part of this story. His attempts to protect them and find safety for them is related against the background of this turbulent time in American history.

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Elaine Stienon

Elaine Stienon