True Sisters is a novel written by Sandra Dallas.
While this story is not an actual true story and the characters are not based on real people, it is a story of an event in American history. It is based on journals, accounts and stories from the people who survived the hardships of the 1,300 mile journey across the United States from Iowa to Salt Lake City, Utah.
This novel is about the struggle for survival against enormous hardships. At the same time it is also the story of strong, courageous women from very different backgrounds who learn to love each other and form bonds as strong as any blood sisters, thus making them True Sisters.
Ella and Nannie
Ella and Nannie
Ella Buck is a young married woman, who along with her husband Andrew, and her sister Nannie have come from Edinburgh, Scotland as new Mormon converts. They made the decision to seek a better life and follow their faith all the way to Salt Lake City, Iowa. Brigham Young has declared that the Utah territory will be the Mormons new Zion. They will sail from Europe, then go by train to Iowa where they are to meet up with other new Mormon converts.
Ella is pregnant with the couple's first child and Nannie is hoping to find a husband when they arrive in Salt Lake City. All three are full of hope and confident of a bright, happy and prosperous future when they reach Salt Lake City. But they have no idea what hardships they will face along the way west.
Annie Sully had been given little choice about making the trip to America and the journey west. She had not converted to Mormonism and did not want to give up her own faith but her husband John had converted and he had made the decision to leave London and join the other converts in Iowa. Annie had been quite content with her life in London. Her father had left her a successful gentlemen's clothing shop. Annie was happy to continue the business with her husband. Annie also had three small children and is pregnant with a fourth child. She is quite concerned with giving birth in a strange country while pushing a handcart across the country for 1,300 miles. Nevertheless, John has sold their business and even given most of their money to the elders of the church so that others can afford to make the trip also.
Annie has made the choice to follow John against her better judgment, but she will face many trials, heartache and hardships along the way. But she will also find other women who will love her, and care for her and her family even though she holds steadily to her own faith.
Louisa Tanner is a newly married young woman whose husband is Thales Tanner, one of the missionary leaders. He is in charge of one hundred of the new converts who will be heading west. Louisa feels she is very lucky to have such an important man as her husband. Along with Louisa, her sister Huldah and her elderly parents will be making the journey west. Not all of them would survive the grueling journey.
Jessie Cooper and Louisa Tanner have always been good friends. Before Louisa married Thales Tanner, he had previously courted Jessie. The two friends did not let this come between them, because truthfully Jessie was happy that Louisa had married Thales. She felt that Louisa was a much better match for Thales. Jessie was sure that when she arrived in Salt Lake City that she would find a husband of her own. Jessie and her brothers Ephraim and Sutter had made the decision to leave their tenant farm in the hopes of finding good fertile land in the Salt Lake Valley. So they sold their small farm and belongings and paid for their passage to America. They met the handcart train in Iowa. Jessie and her brothers were optimist and excited about their future never guessing what hardships lay in store for them.
The Journey Begins
Near the end of July 1856, the Martin Company of converted Mormons slowly started on the long journey. Everyone was in high spirits and excited to be on their way. Families would walk and push and pull their handcarts which held their meager possessions. Each person was allowed seventeen pounds to be put on their carts but along the way much of their worldly goods would end up being left behind.
The carts were made of green lumber and poorly made. There were no oxen or horses to pull the carts, they would be pulled by human power only.
This is the story of these four brave, courageous women as they faced unbelievable dangers, heartbreak, death of loved ones and hardships on their journey. These women would have to learn to help, love and lean on each other. There would of course, be many other members of the Martin Company they would meet and help along the way but these four would become Truly Sisters for the rest of their lives.
Reasons I Recommend Reading True Sisters
- I truly enjoyed reading True Sisters. I had never even heard of this part of our American history until I read this book. If you enjoy reading about history, this is a great novel
- The book is well written and the characters well developed
- It is an emotional story that will tug at your heart. It did mine
- It is the type of book that will keep you interested from start to finish