Reviews * Giveaway
Winds of Change by Jean Holbrook Mathews
The year is 1854, and change is in the air throughout India. Within the walls of her grand home in Calcutta, Sarah McCune anxiously awaits the future. After eighteen months at war, her husband, a sergeant in the Bengal Army of the East India Company, has made an extraordinary proposal: leave all the comforts of their life in Asia for an unknown future in America. As recent converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sarah and her husband are drawn to the promise of Zion. So, despite their fears regarding the dangerous voyage before them, they and their four children embark on a journey of faith that will test the limits of their conviction and define generations to come. This breathtaking saga, based on the historical journals of one Latter-day Saint family, invites readers to experience the sacrifices and perils of these early pioneers as they faithfully seek a land of promise.
I'm a big fan of historical fiction, so when I was given the opportunity to read Winds of Change I was excited to learn about the time in Calcutta and the East India Company since I'm not very familiar with that.
When I opened the package I was intrigued by the cover. It's one that would catch my attention at a bookstore/library.
This story is based on real people and events, but the presentation was a challenge for me to get into. I found myself doing a lot of skimming.
I struggle with stories where I don't care for the main character, and Matthew was very off-putting. He had moments of strength and kindness (especially as he was leading people across the American wilderness), but more often than not the story told of events where he wasn't being kind or thoughtful to his family or servants. I know the time period makes a big difference, but he was the ruler of his house. He wasn't interested in anyone else's opinions. Sarah stood up to him once, and eventually it worked out, but I cannot imagine being married to someone like that.
I think it must be kind of difficult to write historical novels, where you are basing most of your story on journals and letters and trying to keep it as real as you can. I think the author does a good job of bringing in the history of the family, but sadly, the book was just not that interesting to me. It read more like a journal than a novel, and I found my attention wandering over and over again. Perhaps if I had gone into it expecting it to be less novel and more journal, then I would have enjoyed it more.
I have always found history fascinating, but I have to be in the mood to read it, and lately I have really been craving a good, keep-me-up-too-late novel, so maybe that's part of the reason why I didn't like the book.
I was surprised how much of the book took place in India. When I first read the description, I assumed that most of the book would focus on the family's journey to the Salt Lake Valley, but that doesn't come into play until nearly half-way through the book.
Beautiful cover, no? I'm not entirely sure what it has to do with anything in the book, but it is something that I would pick up off the shelf out of curiosity.
I'm not sure what I was expecting going into this book, but I think I was expecting more fictional story, less historical journal. Which was probably stupid of me since that is exactly what the description of the book describes.
The point-of-view switches quite a bit. Everyone from Sarah, to Matthew, to Henry, to friends of the McCunes. There really didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the switching. I'm assuming it was what information the author was able to find and base the story around.
There were some interesting tidbits in this story, and the more I read about the early pioneers the more convinced I am that I would have made a terrible pioneer. I am filled with awe at these wonderful women who were so strong in their families and faith, but from my frame of reference (Which doesn't fit, I know...different times, places, cultures, and traditions) didn't get any recognition for their sacrifices.
While this book wasn't exactly my cup of tea, I do know some people who would probably really enjoy it, and I can't wait to see what they think of it.
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Title: Winds of Change
Author: Jean Holbrook Mathews
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: May 2017
ISBN 13: 978-1-52440-057-6
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for honest reviews.
Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book