Friday, December 18, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: Soda Springs by Carolyn Steele


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Soda Springs, by Carolyn Steele
2015, 288p, LDS Historical Fiction
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review



When Tessa Darrow discovers her father burning his Civil War uniform, she has no idea how his secret will devastate their family and drive them from their home in North Carolina. The family journeys along the Oregon Trail until tragedy strikes, leaving Tessa and her father to build a new life in Soda Springs, Idaho. This sweeping story illuminates an oft-forgotten era in LDS Church history. Filled with life and passion, it's a thrilling read for history buffs and romantics alike.

At the beginning of this book, Tessa Darrow was 13 years old and lived with her family in North Carolina. One day, her father burned his Confederate uniform and the next morning announced that they were leaving for Oregon. She was sad to leave her home but really had no choice. She experienced profound loss along the way and she and her father finally made it to the small town of Soda Springs, Idaho. Their relationship was strained as Tessa was trying to deal with what happened along the way and the reasons they needed to leave their comfortable home in the first place. 

Tessa was likable from the beginning. Because of her circumstances, in some ways she grew up quickly, but in other ways she acted her age. It took a while to adjust to her new situation. Over time, there were two romantic interests, but it wasn't a triangle. She truly loved one of them and was willing to settle with the other one. This book spanned several years so she had lots of opportunity for growth and time to figure out her feelings. There were some humorous moments as she realized where her heart truly belonged.

I was especially interested in reading this book because my parents grew up near Soda Springs and I've been there a few times. I wasn't aware of the history of the town and how it began. The residents of the town broke off from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("LDS"). Polygamy was part of the story and the negatives and positives associated with it. Tessa and her father were not LDS and it was interesting to see how they reacted to certain situations (especially one that I found repulsive, as did they).  

Overall, I enjoyed this book. There were a few times that it moved a little too slowly for me. There were some great characters which added to the town and the story. This is the second book by this author and I've enjoyed them both. I'm looking forward to reading what she comes up with next!



About the author:

Born and raised in Utah, Carolyn Steele was introduced to western novels at a very young age by her grandfather, the son of a gold miner. She has been writing technical and marketing communications for most of her adult life. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in numerous national magazines. She earned her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Utah. Her first novel, Willow Springs, was published in 2014.

1 comments:

Carolyn Steele said...

Thank you for your kind review, Melanie! I loved writing Soda Springs and watching as Tessa's story arc developed. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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