Nauvoo was supposed to be the kingdom of God on earth, but Will and Liz Lewis are learning that it takes more than dreaming of Zion to make it a reality. Sickness, poverty, and just plain human nature add to the struggles for the Lord's people, but every now and then a glimpse of heaven shines through. Just when things are starting to get settled, though, the old problems start rearing their heads, leaving Will and others wondering if they will be there to reap the harvest they have so carefully sown.
Meanwhile, Jeff and Abby—in modern-day Nauvoo—are dealing with challenges of their own. As their newborn baby fights for his life, they must come to grips with their personal faith. Can they, like their ancestors, continue to trust in God when there seems to be no trace of Him in their trials?
Beloved novelist Dean Hughes skillfully interweaves the stories of two couples separated by five generations and 150 years, providing a unique perspective on Church history and showing how much we can learn from those who went before us.
I've often found that second books in series fall far short of my expectations, but Through Cloud and Sunshine is better than the first volume. Jeff and Abby's present day story is much more engaging in this book, and the connection between past and present is clear and enjoyable.
The historical time period covered is a tough one in Church history. There were so many problems, physical and spiritual, going on, and I think Hughes did a nice job with this portrayal.
A few aspects of the history seemed glossed over initially (ie. polygamy), and while this bothered me at first, when it was eventually addressed it made sense that it was written this way because many of the Saints weren't aware of the practice (or had just heard rumors).
There are some pretty intense moments in the story, along with some touching and emotional parts. It was great to see the main characters grow and become better people. I also enjoyed that this series and my current Sunday School lessons are coinciding.
Some notes at the end of the chapters or the end of the book with the actual historical information would have been a great addition to this series. While I really enjoy historical fiction, I like to have the details to discern fact from fiction right at my fingertips.
I look forward to reading more about Will, Liz, Abby and Jeff when the next book is written.
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