Allison Pittman is another gifted author who has no need of a review from me. But I'm writing one because I really just need to. Don't ask me why.
Ms. Pittman tackles a subject only a motivated and knowledgeable writer can handle well: Mormonism and Christianity. More people have gut-level reactions than erudite opinions on the subject, and I was among them until I read this book.
For Time and Eternity is gutsy, fair, and extremely well written--oh, and don't forget entertaining. That's probably why it's a 2011 Christy Award finalist. It's neither a treatise nor an exposé, but rather a heart-gripping and heart-warming story of culture and faith, but mostly love.
Camilla Deardon is a Christian girl growing up in an austere pioneer environment--an environment that lends its austerity to the Christian instruction she receives from her stalwart mother, and enforced by her strict father. A Mormon encampment abuts their property, providing her the opportunity to observe from a distance their orderly and devout ways. It also provides her the opportunity to meet Nathan Fox, a young orphaned man rescued by a Mormon preacher from the streets back East with his sister Rachel. Mormonism's emphasis on community and familial love envelopes Nathan, he adopts the Prophet's teachings wholeheartedly, and is on his way to the new Zion at the shores of The Great Salt Lake.
A series of events thrusts Camilla into Nathan's arms and into the Mormon community, and she leaves her family and cleaves to her new love. Nathan's and Camilla's young family flourishes in the close community...until. It's the "until" that turns the heart-warming into the heart-gripping.
Ms. Pittman bestows on the reader more than insight into the early Mormon culture, more than a love story in search of a happy ending, but also an honest portrayal of a clash of faiths that engenders the gut-level reaction. Happily, it converts that reaction to the erudite opinion in an honest appeal to both the mind and the heart.
For Time and Eternity is the first in the Sister-Bride series. The ending of the book will have you tapping your fingers on the table waiting for the sequel.