**Finalist for the Western Writers of America’s 2020 Spur Awards for Historical Novel**
**Finalist for the 2019 Association for Mormon Letters Awards for Novel**
“Compelling historical fiction…. Part love story, part religious explication, part mystery….A journey you won’t forget.”—Houston Chronicle
In the inhospitable lands of the Utah Territory, during the winter of 1888, thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler waits for her husband, Samuel, to return home from his travels as a wheelwright. It is now the depths of winter, Samuel is weeks overdue, and Deborah is getting worried.
Deborah lives in Junction, a tiny town of seven Mormon families scattered along the floor of a canyon, and she earns her living by tending orchards and making work gloves. Isolated by the red-rock cliffs that surround the town, she and her neighbors live apart from the outside world, even regarded with suspicion by the Mormon faithful who question the depth of their belief.
When a desperate stranger who is pursued by a Federal Marshal shows up on her doorstep seeking refuge, it sets in motion a chain of events that will turn her life upside down. The man, a devout Mormon, is on the run from the US government, which has ruled the practice of polygamy to be a felony. Although Deborah is not devout and doesn’t subscribe to polygamy, she is distrustful of non-Mormons with their long tradition of persecuting believers of her wider faith.
But all is not what it seems, and when the Marshal is critically injured, Deborah and her husband’s best friend, Nels Anderson, are faced with life and death decisions that question their faith, humanity, and both of their futures.
Weisgarber's marvelous third novel (after The Promise) is set in the rugged canyon country of southern Utah during the winter of 1887 1888 as a Mormon woman struggles to hold her faith in the face of religious persecution and her fear of the law. Deborah's husband is overdue to return from a trip, having left her alone in the remote hamlet of Junction, Utah Territory, a collection of eight Mormon families living their faith as each sees fit. One winter night, a stranger arrives at Deborah's cabin asking for help, speaking in a code that she knows means he's a polygamist running from the law. He is pursued by a U.S. marshal, and, despite her fear, Deborah hides him, then passes him on to her brother-in-law, Nels, to guide to safety. A tense encounter between the marshal, Nels, and the stranger results in an act of violence and reveals that there's more to the marshal's pursuit of the stranger than meets the eye. The moment of violence rocks and divides the small Mormon community; when two more strangers arrive, Deborah and Nels must protect their faith and their community without further violence, while dealing with tender feelings for each other. This is a rich, powerful, and wholly immersive tale grounded in Utah and Mormon history.
A Good Read
I enjoyed the book that kept my continual attention. It was difficult to stop reading when I saw the late night become early morning.