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FTC FYI: I was given a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Book Description:Belonging to Heaven
Descended from the Hawaiian royal line, Jonathan Napela became one of
the first—and most influential—converts to the Church in Hawaii. A man
of intelligence, social status, and wealth, he used his considerable
position to further the gospel in his native land. He developed a
lifelong bond of brotherhood with Elder George Q. Cannon, helping to
translate the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian and establish a gathering
place for the Hawaiian saints in Laie, Oahu. But when his beloved wife,
Kitty, was stricken with leprosy, Jonathan made the defining decision of
his life. He would leave his life of privilege to become her caretaker
and spend the rest of his life on Molokai, the island of lepers. To
those who suffered similar heartbreak and banishment, Jonathan’s
self-sacrifice became their lifeline. Based on true story, this is an
extraordinary novel of a man who chose love in the face of death.
Excerpts from Belonging to Heaven
"She stepped out of the cooking house and moved into the yard. "My
heart is full of joy today. My feet and fingers wish to talk of this
joy." Slowly she began to sway, her feet moving smoothly over the packed
ground, and her gnarled fingers floating through the air, painting
pictures with each movement. "I will tell the
story na wai 'eha. The four waters of Maui." She began to chant:
"Fed by the tears of heaven and the hidden pools of"
"Oh, life-giving waters"
"You flow down to the children of the land."
"Catherine Keliikuaaina Richardson walked beside his son in regal
splendor. Her brown hair hung in waves down to her knees. She wore a
white holoku in the style that was part missionary and part Hawaiian.
Long sleeves covered her arms and a high collar came up to cover her
neck.The soft fabric hung loosely from a square yoke that was edged with
white ruffles. On her head she wore a wreath of bright yellow 'ilima
flowers woven with ferns and the golden tail feathers of the o-o bird.
Her golden brown skin glowed in the morning light and the sight of her
drove reason from Waaole's head."
Once again Gale Sears has written a beautiful story full of heart and rich history. This time the story is about the early Hawaiian Saints, highlighting the life of Jonathan Napela, a son of Hawaiian royalty. We learn about the LDS church's early experience in the 1850's, in the Hawaiian Islands (then known as the Sandwich Islands). I love reading about Elder George Q. Cannon and his mission to the Sandwich Islands.
Reading about the courage of Jonathan, and his excitement about the gospel was inspiring. He faced a lot of opposition from his native people as he listened to and accepted the gospel in his life. There are many moments in this book that will bring you to tears, especially when it comes to the awful disease of leprosy.
Gale has been blessed with a gift to be able to write such engaging works of historical fiction. I am always swept up in the culture and the lives of the people she writes about. I highly recommend reading Belonging to Heaven, which is a book full of stories of faith, love, compassion and endurance.
Gale Sears is an award-winning author, known for her historical
accuracy and intensive research. Gale received a BA in playwriting from
Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in theater arts from the
University of Minnesota. She is the author of the bestselling The
Silence of God and several other novels, including The Route, Christmas
for a Dollar, Autumn Sky, Until the Dawn, and Upon the Mountains. She
and her husband, George, are the parents of two children and reside in
Salt Lake City, Utah.