Read In the Company of Angels by David Farland Online


Based on the true story of The Willie Handcart company of 1856, In The Company of Angels unfolds the triumphant tale of pioneers who struggle against unendurable harships-persecution, buffalo stampedes, rampaging Indians, lingering starvation, and the early onset of the coldest winter in US history-to find the gentle homeland of the soul....

Title : In the Company of Angels
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780615300535
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 448 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

In the Company of Angels Reviews

  • Josi
    2019-02-07 16:47

    This is one of my all time favorite novels I have ever read. So well written, so honest and so faith affirming in ways I'd have never expected. Absolutely loved this book and recommend it to anyone with any interest in the early members of the LDS church. Not preachy, not always kind, but very worth the read; the kind of book where you feel like a better person with a better view of the world when you finish.

  • Vivian
    2019-02-08 14:39

    I am a great great grand-daughter and a great great great grand-daughter of two members of the Willie Handcart Company of 1856. As such I picked up this novel about the trek west by the 400+ persons who left Florence, NB in this company--68 of whom died on the way. Not one of these was from my Scottish family--all women except a six-year-old boy. However, this book does not include any narrative of my family, except a mention of their rescuer--a son and brother who was already in Utah and had urged them by letter to come in all haste.The strongest points of this author's narrative include his research and traveling to various sites of the trail during the time of year and weather conditions they would have experienced, his experience with story crafting, and the afterword which includes brief biographies of some of the people he included in his interpretation of their story. I appreciated his chapter by chapter disclosure of "what's true and what's not" which he includes at the end of the book. I wish I'd read that first as it would have encouraged me to pay better attention while reading. I confess to a lot of skimming through the first 2/3rds of the book. The final 1/3rd was gripping and emotional.I certainly prefer this account over the one crafted by Gerald Lund, The Fire of the Covenant. I felt Lund was simply plugging 20th Century characters into a 19th Century experience. I could not gag down his audacity. It seemed to me that he trivialized them, misrepresented them, and misunderstood them.Their was one person in the Willie Company who had not been baptised a "Mormon". The author weaves her voice with the voices of others to examine the experience from several points of view.A

  • Shelah
    2019-01-23 18:23

    Like many Mormons with pioneer heritage, my husband's parents love to tell the stories of their illustrious ancestors: the grandfather who lived with two wives in Salt Lake City into the 1950s, the uncle who should have won a Nobel Prize, the many-times great-grandfather whose hymns figure prominently in our hymnbook, the brothers (named Mormon and Moroni) who helped settle the town where my in-laws now live, the other many times-great-grandfather who used to have a church college named after him, the aunt who was married to a prophet. One of the most touching stories is of the grandma and grandpa who traveled to Utah with the Martin Handcart Company. After pulling their baby thousands of miles, she died shortly before the family reached Salt Lake City. Unwilling to leave her behind, exposed, on the frozen ground, they wrapped up her body, hid it in the handcart, and she's now buried in the Salt Lake City cemetery. I may be a convert, but after 20+ years of experience in the church, I know that in our cultural history the word handcart is synonymous with hardship. In the Company of Angels documents the experience the approximately 400 members of the Willie Handcart Company had crossing the plains in the summer and fall of 1856 (they were traveling the same route as the Martin Handcart Company, but had a head start of about ten days). It was a hard journey, so understandably, this is a hard story to read, a story filled with pain, blood, disease, tears, sweat, snakes, treachery, death and lots and lots of ice and snow. Emily M (my partner in reading the Whitney books for Segullah) reviewed the book already for the Segullah blog, and I agree with what she's written. I finished the book last night, and I can't get the characters and the situation out of my mind. I think part of it is because Farland does a darn good job with his characters, but also because the story is part of our cultural history, and part of my (through marriage at least) family history. It's people willing to follow leaders despite those leaders' weaknesses, people willing to cross an ocean and then pull their belongings across a continent, people willing to pray when it seemed like all hope was lost, people willing to pack up their dead baby daughter so she could be laid to rest in Zion, these are the people whose blood is running through my children, and who represent some of the enduring traits of strength and faith and hard work that we value as a culture today.I think anyone who lays claim to this cultural heritage and who values the freedoms and benefits we have as a people today wonders how they would have stood the test of traveling with a handcart company. Farland allows readers to experience the journey through the eyes of Baline, a young Danish immigrant, Captain Willie, the missionary chosen to lead the group, and Eliza Gadd, a non-Mormon Englishwoman traveling with her family of converts. They all experience heartache and loss and are all transformed by the experience. I appreciate that Farland didn't excuse Franklin Richards (who made the ultimate call to send the Saints out late in the season and ill-equipped and chose not to pitch in and help when he could have made a big difference in the journey's outcome), and also showed the inner struggles of Willie, who bore the day to day burden of carrying the company.It's interesting reading a historical novel when you already know the history. As the Saint set out with hope in their hearts and smiles on their faces, I knew, as a reader, that disease and despair and death waited for them down the trail. So did Farland, but he didn't change the story. When I read books like this, I often imagine that it's somewhat similar to the experience Heavenly Father might have in relation to us. He knows us, he loves us, he helps us when we ask for it, but knowing what will happen to us based on the choices that we make doesn't mean that he'll step in and make sure those hard things don't happen.

  • Teri
    2019-01-27 19:46

    As I have two ancestors from the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies, I was excited to read David's manuscript of this horrifying, yet courageous and heartbreaking story. With the early Saints selling their homes to come to Zion in 1856, there were some that had to come by handcart. Due to unforeseen delays, mostly caused b y the Crimean War that caused delays in ships to sail from England, that when they arrived in Iowa, they found no handcarts made. This delayed the Saints even more. One of the sub-captains of The Willie Company attempted to get the Saints to wait for a season to embark on such a long and hard journey, especially with the late start. The main body trusted Captain James Willie, mostly because he'd traveled the trail fifty times. I liked how David had the three main Saints telling their story in each chapter, bringing it more up close and personal. Eliza Gadd, a proud English 41 year old, was the only non Mormon in The Company, though her husband, Samuel, and their older children were. Due to her father being seduced by fakirs and spiritualists, she didn't believe in God. She felt during the trek that all the Saints were fools. Since she was apparantly the only nurse in the Company, she attended to everyone's needs. Captain Willie tried to keep the Saints together and healthy. He was a very compassionate man, praying to God for guidance all along the way. He totally had his people at heart, only thinking of them and their welfare. He did start having his doubts that God was listening to his prayers, but he never gave up, even assisting several children and women across a freezing creek when his own legs were frozen.Baline Mortenson, a young ten year old Danish girl, did all she could to keep up the spirits of everyone in The Company. She assisted approx 20 children several miles up Rocky Ridge, even so much as pulling a handcart herself. Her parents had sent her alone to make the trek, but then, some parents did just that, to save money, until the rest of the family could come later.This is a huge faith-promoting story, filled with faith, love and hope and a strong Testimony of The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Willie Handcart Company had to weather storms we couldn't even fathom or dream of, such as sub-zero temperatures, Indians, floods, buffalo stampedes, utter starvation, blizzards, etc, I can't recommend this historical novel enough. It is a wonderful, heartbreaking, faith-promoting, Testimony building true masterpiece!!!! You'll need a ton of Kleenex, so be prepared. And, this is my kind of book to read, especially since this happened and it happened to two of my ancestors. This book is due out on 1 Sep, so you'll need to go to and order your copy. I plan to, as I want my own special hardbound copy.Forever Friends Rating A VERY HUGE 5 Stars by TeriUntil Next Time, See You Around The Book Nook.Published Sep by David Farland0615300537 (isbn13: 9780615300535) 448ppHardbound --

  • Clark
    2019-02-16 16:32

    Eliza Chapman [Gadd:] was my 4th great grandmother, and her daughter, Mary Ann Gadd, was my 3rd great grandmother. Samuel Gadd of course was my 4th great grandfather. I had five other direct-line ancestors in the Willie handcart company, including William James, who was buried at the common grave at Rock Creek, and Ann Jewell [Rowley:] who is mentioned in the book. For all of these reasons, I loved the novel and read it with much delight.I hesitate to rate it a full five stars (as other reviewers have) for a few reasons. First, I believe the dialogue between Eliza and Baline, when Baline (rightly) accuses Eliza of intellectual barbarism is stilted and quite improbable for a ten-year-old girl who has only spoken English for a few months. Second, Eliza's extended consideration of thermo-dynamics and the "mathematics" of caloric intake is so out of place that it's jarring. I'm not saying she wouldn't have considered something like this and realized what was going on, but the language and concepts used are so modern that once again my "suspension of disbelief" was lost. Third, there is a scene when Eliza is shown how to take the "safety" off her muzzle-loading revolver; of course revolvers do not have safeties. Finally, the book has quite a high number of minor typographical/grammar errors. I believe that with another editing pass under a strong hand the novel could have been superb. Instead, it was good and quite enjoyable.

  • Natasha
    2019-01-30 17:29

    It is impossible for me to be objective in rating this book because I identify so closely with the story. I have been inspired by it since my youth when my mother used to tell me of my great-great-grandmother, Mary Smith’s journey with the Willie Company. I have read every primary and secondary account of the Willie Handcart Company that I could find, which amounts to easily a hundred sources. Though I respect Farley’s research and writing skills, I find his tone a bit raw at times. I love how he tells Bodil Mortensen’s story. Even more, I love the sage and loving counsel Bodil is given by Jens Nielsen. Farley’s account of the only non-Mormon in the company, Eliza Gadd, is intriguing. I found some of the story regarding Captain Willie and other women in the company a bit irksome because I did not get out of my research the extrapolations he makes of their characters. That said, I applaud Farley for telling this story and self-publishing it. I hope Farley’s book inspires more interest in the topic as I have written my own novelized version of the story from my great-great grandmother’s perspective. Where Farley focuses on the physical journey, my story unites both the physical and spiritual aspects of the journey. My adaptation tells it in the tone in which my ancestors’ family wanted their story remembered: “I will not dwell upon the hardships we endured, nor the hunger and cold, but I like to tell of the goodness of God unto us.”

  • Taffy
    2019-01-31 15:46

    David's story is told from three viewpoints: Eliza Gadd, Bodine Mortenson and Captain Willie.At first I was a little taken aback by the viewpoint her choose of the one non-LDS pioneer in the company. But as I read, I saw the strength in this character.I already had a soft spot in my heart for Bodine, but after David's sketch of her, I loved her more.And Captain Willie was made human and strong and amazing in this story.I waited for parts of the story I was familiar with and was disappointed when they weren't given much light in the story. On the other hand, I learned more about the start and middle of the handcart trek.I also waited for the part in the story that I assumed was the title. I wasn't disappointed, especially as I cried. And I don't cry easily. But after going over Rocky Ridge and spending time in Rock Creek Hollow, my tears easily surface at the mere mention of those places or the pioneers I associate there.David self-published this book so I think I was hyper-aware of any mistakes. There were a few but for the most part I skimmed right over them.Thank you,David, for giving us another look at an American tragedy that made so many people strong.Rating PG13V: Harsh climate, deaths, killingsL: Some swearing, women's body parts mentionedS: Rape (not graphic; told after the fact)

  • Sheila
    2019-02-07 13:21

    This was such a well written story of the Willie Handcart pioneers. I was so melancholy while reading this book. As an LDS person myself, I already knew the fate of this handcart company. As I read this book, it was so hard to not feel such sadness and heartache for these brave men, women and children.

  • Chris Unwin
    2019-01-30 12:39

    Remarkable Book I was familiar with the event. I knew how it ended. I even knew some of the stories inside the event. However, I find myself shocked at how little I knew. I found myself saying to my husband, "Just let me read you one more thing..." and as I tried not to sob I'd read it to him. This is the true story of the ill fated Mormon, Willie Handcart Company, that crossed the plains by walking and pushing handcarts in the fall and winter of 1855. Have your Kleenex ready. Historical Fiction. Clean Read. Excellent Read

  • Tara Pendley
    2019-02-09 12:26

    Wonderful book!This is such a devastatingly sad book. It is also filled with so much faith, love and perseverance I can't believe anyone lived through this time. This book is a great historical book.

  • Katie
    2019-01-29 16:33

    This is a great book about the Willie Handcart company that made its trek from Iowa to Utah. I liked how the book focused mostly on three main characters: Eliza Gadd, the only person traveling with the company that was not a member of the LDS Church; Baline Mortensen, a ten-year-old girl traveling with another family while her parents save up money to travel to Utah the next season; Captain Willie, in charge of the handcart company. Each chapter designates which of these three voices will be heard. I really loved Eliza's character and Baline's character too. They seemed very real, with real human flaws and emotions. They also showed true courage on such a dangerous trek across the country. There are notes in the back of the book which specifically tell you which parts of the characters are fictional and what is true to the history. Captain Willie was an interesting character with his true, unflinching courage and faith. I like how the author also depicts Captain Willie's weaknesses and maybe even moments of doubt himself as the journey became more and more dangerous. The only thing I didn't like about his character is that I think the author puts a little too much emphasis on a disagreement between Captain Willie and one of the other leaders of the group. While it's known that they disagreed on whether to continue on the journey to Utah so late in the season or to try to winter over in Winter Quarters somewhere, I think the author just made too big of a deal of the disagreement, dragging it on and making Captain Willie seem vindictive and unforgiving towards this man at times.One thing I really enjoyed about the book was how much information was given about the Indians and what a danger certain tribes were to pioneers at this time when there was so much tension between certain tribes and the US militia. I had heard a lot about how much cold and hunger the pioneers had endured, but I never really knew what a constant danger they were in from attacks from Indians. Because of this, the men had to take shifts guarding the camp at night which just added to their already desperate state of exhaustion and could only have hurried their demise.

  • Garrett
    2019-02-06 17:22

    I actually finished this about a week ago, but needed a little time to separate myself from it - for entirely good reasons. I was deeply affected by this story and the pain and suffering this group of people endured. I'm not sure if it was just the story, or the writing, or something else, but it is probably a bit of all of those.This is historical fiction, so there is some supposition going on here about conversations and some things that happened. Dave has an appendix that gives more details about what is real and why he made certain choices.I'm not sure it is exactly fair to analyze this book like I usually do, so I'll give a brief summary and some of my thoughts.This is the story of the Willie handcart company (all this time and I never realized the Martin company was not traveling with them). They leave late in the season to get to Utah from England. Lots of problems hampered them, from delays in getting a ship from England to no handcarts being ready for them to rough weather to Indian trouble. Of course, the biggest problem (that Dave points out so well) is the lack of food for such an arduous journey. They are eventually rescued by a group sent out from Utah, but not before many people die of starvation and exposure.We get to see the events through the eyes of James Willie, Eliza Gadd, and Baline Mortensen. Willie is the confident, religious captain of the company. Eliza is the non-believing wife of a faithful leader. And Baline is a young girl fleeing persecution.Of all of the stories, I felt drawn most to Eliza and her struggles with her family and their "blind" faith. Baline's story, too, brought me to tears on a couple of occasions. At first I didn't like James. But as the story went on, I grew to see him in a new light and gained great respect for all that he did.After reading this, I felt like I wanted to be more like Baline and the other members of the company who worked so hard to create unity and love in their group. It gave me a new commitment to my life, and for that I am extremely grateful.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-20 15:25

    In clear and simple language, Farland beautifully illuminates the struggle of the Martin-Willey Handcart Company. For those who do not know the story: many of the Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains to settle in Utah could not afford the livestock needed to make the trek by wagon. The handcart system was developed for these people, and they would essentially push all their goods and supplies across the plains, rivers, and mountains in what was a large wheelbarrow. It was vitally important that they leave in May, so that they would accomplish the journey before the winter began in the mountains, but the Martin and Willey companies were delayed, first by the Crimean War in Europe, then by other factors in America. They ended up crossing the Great Divide on the coldest day on record in that decade. Many of them had no shoes, and they were starving as several of their supply stations had failed them along the way.This is a hot-button topic in the Mormon church, and an inspiring one as well. Not a single survivor of that horrible journey would hear a word of criticism for the church, the leaders, or anyone involved in planning their journey. Many of them swore they were visited by angels, that they saw miracles, or had visions. Farland has dealt with all of this wonderfully well, leaving us with a concise account that nevertheless grips the reader from start to finish. He focuses on three main characters, one of them a non-member reluctantly accompanying her Mormon husband, and tells the story in their own words as often as possible. Farland has done copious amounts of research, and the back of the book is filled with biographies of the people mentioned in the book, factual information, and even a guide as to what is real and what he embellished. This is a masterful work, and possibly Farland's best book to date!

  • Wm
    2019-02-04 18:31

    Note: this is one of the novels I'm reading as a voter for the Whitney Awards. My rating and review may or may not be indicative of how I will cast my vote.I didn't know what to expect going in. The later books don't do much for me, but the first three books in Farland's Runelords series are quite good so I know he is a good writer. But how would he approach historical fiction? And, more importantly, how would he handle Mormon historical fiction.Very well, as it turns out. This is a tragic tale, and Farland doesn't avoid the messiness of the situation. But neither does he try too hard to assign blame. Certainly, it's sympathetic to Mormonism, but it's not rank apologetics or sugar coating either. Which is probably why he ended up self-publishing the novel. In fact, he plays things straight -- the mistakes, the hypocrisy, the stubbornness, the fear, the death, the camaraderie, the faith, the differences in opinion, the sermons, the hardships, the miracles. And unlike Gerald Lund in Tthe Undaunted, he doesn't force the narrative -- he propels the story along. Incidentally, Jens Nielsen, one of the characters in In The Company of Angels also shows up in The Undaunted.And then after the narrative is done, Farland provides a coda that includes a candid look at blame (there is plenty to go around, but as Farland notes, the biggest issue was simple ignorance of body chemistry -- the handcart pioneers were burning way more calories than they were consuming even when food was somewhat plentiful), quick summaries of the rest of the lives of some of the characters and a chapter by chapter look at what is historical and what he made up. It's the right approach, in my opinion. I have not read much Mormon historical fiction, but this is easily the best example of that genre I've read so far.

  • Edward Hall
    2019-02-19 15:43

    The story of the Martin and Willy handcart companies is well known to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). In his book “In the Company of Angels” David Farland takes the reader on a journey as members of the Willy Handcart Company through the trials as they cross the planes in their trek to Zion. The story brings out a lot of emotion, from Anger at the way the saints were treated, to the fear of Indian attacks on the sorrow as family members are lost. Still there are lighter moments such as when Brother Cole meets his “dream girl” and Ephraim Hanks pulling a gun on a heavenly messenger.In this book you become one of three members of the Willy Company, from Captain Willy himself, to a young Dane girl crossing on her own ahead of her parents to the only non-member in the company traveling with her member husband and children. You get to know them all personally. You cry when they lose friends and loved ones, and feel their relieve when the rescue party arrives. In a story like this fact is interwoven with fiction. Though many things were recorded in journals no one really knows what interactions took place between members of the company, and exactly what happened when they encountered others along the journey. David Farland is left to use know facts from the time to fill in the voids. At the end of the book he explains how he took the facts and twisted them to fill in the daily lives of these people.I recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about what the early saints went through as the journeyed from their homes to Zion, in many cases giving up everything the owned and being forced to leave loved ones behind.

  • Heather
    2019-02-20 16:24

    As a reader who is well-acquainted with David Farland’s various publications, I was interested to see how he’d handle the LDS genre. From the first pages I was pulled into this novel. The depth of characterization and the scope of the story had me re-thinking generalizations I had made of those pioneers who made the choice to leave so late in the season and attempt the trek across the plains against all odds. I love how the author brought the historical figures to life. Some historical novelists shy away from being so direct, writing about family or friends who were acquainted with the historical figure. In this manner, the reader is kept at arms-length from the story. But I really appreciated Farland’s human study, the chance to see and experience emotions from the character’s viewpoint, and essentially liken the character more closely to myself. Farland’s insights are fascinating, thought-provoking, and at times even uncomfortable—like all truth. But it made me think, consider, and turn to the stories of my own ancestors to study the well of faith and devotion they had. The sacrifices these people made reminded me of the blessings that I have today.What would I do in this situation, I asked myself many times. How would I handle such severe trials? This story affected me in ways that I didn’t expect, and I’m truly grateful for the time and energy Farland put into creating this fascinating novel.

  • Ted Gambles
    2019-02-07 18:37

    In the Company of Angels> follows three people from the Willie Handcart Company on their trek to get to Salt Lake City during the fall of 1856. Capt. James Willie is the leader of the company. Baline Mortenson is a 10 year old Danish girl traveling with another family to meet up with her sister in Salt Lake City. Eliza Gadd is not a member of the LDS church but is going with her husband and children, all converts to the LDS church. The story follows the trials and tribulations of the Pioneers as they walked their way to Zion.I actually had a difficult time reading the story, although it was well written. The trek was hard and painful. Many died and the story reflects the misery of trodding along while people are dying. However, since it was a historical fiction, I had to keep reading even though I knew how the story would end.One aspect of the book puzzled me. As I stated, the story was told from three different viewpoints. However, at the critical time of the book, the author wrote a historical narrative that was not from any of the three characters viewpoints. It felt a little out of place. Also, I felt the story ended too soon. It did not follow the company into Salt Lake City. It would have been interesting to read what could have been a happier, yet conflicted, ending.All in all, I would recommend it, but not if you want some lighthearted reading.

  • Jasmyn
    2019-02-07 19:47

    I really, really enjoyed this book. The fact that it was written by the dad of one of our missionaries that lives downstairs just makes it that much cooler. :)I loved Farland's portrayal of the events of the Willie Handcart Company. Not sugar-coated or too many overly mushy moments. There were plenty who thought it was a bad idea to leave so late in the season, and I had no idea Franklin D Richards was chastised so thoroughly by Brigham Young. That makes me feel a little better about the overall story of these handcart pioneers--it wasn't necessarily God telling them to go forward to their deaths. I also liked hearing about two of my ancestors mentioned in the book: Wild Bill Hickman (not that he's painted in such a great light here, but then I don't know how good of a guy he was anyway...) and the Oakey family. The mother, Ann Oakey, was a sister to Daniel Collett and their daughter Rhoda Oakey died in early November, one day before they reached the Salt Lake Valley. She was 11. Ann Oakey took her family to Daniel Collett's home and they helped nurse the survivors back to health and Rhoda was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. We need to go look her up!A great read--sad, of course, but so interesting.

  • Wendy
    2019-01-23 12:48

    This is a wonderful novel based on the Willie Handcart company's trek from Iowa City to SLC in 1856. I read the Gerald Lund "Fire of the Covenant" (which follows the Willie and Martin company treks)in May,and I just returned from a 4 day pioneer trek in Wyoming with my stake, so I'm pioneered out! I'm exhausted :) I need to read a wizard or a vampire book next. Many of the characters from Fire of the Covenant are also featured in In the Company of Angels (because they are based on real people), and so it was really kind of interesting and fun to see how each of the authors chose to develop them. Both David Farland and Gerald Lund are good writers, and it was fascinating to see the same historical events interpreted by two totally different people. In the Company of Angels felt more authentic to me, but I also really liked Gerald Lund's storytelling and flow. Peanut or plain? Chocolate or vanilla? Apparently, David Farland is a really popular sci-fi author...I'd like to read one of his other novels. Any suggestions?? For more info on this book, check out the website:

  • Vicki
    2019-02-05 16:28

    When I first saw that David Farland had written a book on handcart pioneers, I was afraid I would be comparing it to Gerald Lund's Fire of the Covenant, which I loved very much. Well, I was surprised, and mainly because I was not aware that the two handcart groups were not traveling the road together. I should have known that, after reading Bro. Lund's book, but I didn't. So, no comparison's needed! Normally, what I really love about Historical fiction is the ability of the author to put character's in a real setting, among real people, and make it believable. Well, Bro. Farland told his story from actual people which was perfect and even more believable! Wow, I am recommending this book to anyone interested in knowing what the men and women and children of the Willie handcart company went through on their trek to Salt Lake. I have a friend who is descended from a handcart pioneer and has done a trek, so I will definitely tell her to read it!

  • Jana
    2019-02-16 18:43

    I bought this book because my great-great grandmother and her family crossed the plains with the Willie Handcart Company. I was hopeful to see if there was more information in this book specifically about her. There was, and I enjoyed reading more about her and all of the other pioneers that traveled with her. I loved David Farland's writing style. I felt he was true to the struggles they went through. I appreciated the spiritual messages of faith, hope, and true charity that were spread throughout the story. I felt I was able to grasp the reality and severity of their situation. His depiction of the places and characters in the story were well written and easy to imagine in my own mind.My appreciation for this company, and all others who trekked west, is greatly enhanced from reading this book. I am definitely more grateful for my cozy house and the modern-day conveniences that we enjoy. This book is a definite "keeper"!

  • Katie
    2019-02-18 20:19

    I've heard handcart stories so many times that I've become desensitized. I was hoping this book would give me a better appreciation for these pioneers. Kinda the opposite happened. So many stupid decisions were made. So many blind followers. So much judgement on those with differing (yet, sensible) opinions. Yes, I'm aware of that popular quote about how no one in the company regretted it because it was a small price to pay to become acquainted with God. But what about family members ahead or behind? Were they all good with it, too?I feel a little guilty for only giving it two stars--its not the author's fault that the story is SO DEPRESSING! But he could have ended it when they reached Zion instead of after everyone marches uphill in a snowstorm and dies. (Seriously! Let the poor people rest a day. Or just send the children on ahead to warm themselves by a fire that they are supposed to start themselves?! )Iit happened a long time ago. I should get over it but its so sad.

  • Loni
    2019-02-09 19:30

    I read this as self-imposed homework in preparation for the mock trek I am going on in July.I am reluctant to read a ficticious account because I feel sometimes it clouds fact from fiction in a book like this. At the end of the book the Author outlines for every chapter exactly what is fact and where he had to read between the lines or dramatize - I give this book 4 stars for that.It was a very interesting read. The title is In the Company of Angels. You may have heard that members of the handcart company felt and saw angels helping them push the handcarts when things were at their worst. After reading this book the title takes on new meaning. I know that they weren't the only angels on the trek. The people in the company themselves became angels as they sacrificed and served one another.

  • Shersta
    2019-02-15 17:20

    I have never before read a more compelling account of the Willie Handcart Company, despite a lifetime of listening to these same stories in one form or another. I had thought that they were old and tired, and that little if anything new could possibly be added. And then I took home David Farland's book, and realized that what I thought I knew was only the surface of a rich history and the dark tragedy that surrounds this bit of U.S. history. The writing itself was excellent, and the characters vivid, unique from each other, and real. I found myself thinking about these people, worrying about them, and grieving each loss. It is rare that I become this involved in a novel, even one based on historical documents and events, but this one grabbed hold and wouldn't let go. I highly recommend this book, and commend the author on his continuing excellence.

  • Erin
    2019-01-28 17:26

    For the first third of the book, I was skeptical and not sure how much I would end up liking the book. By the time I got to the 2/3 point, I realized that my hands hurt from gripping the book too hard. I gained a whole new appreciation for the story and trials of the handcart pioneers. One thing I really, really appreciate is that at the end of the book the author makes it very clear what was fiction and what is fact. If this had been a purely fiction book, I would have scoffed at all the troubles that beset the Willie handcart company, thinking there was no way THAT many things could go wrong. But the book is based on real events and people and it told in a powerful and meaningful way.

  • Stacey Williams
    2019-01-21 17:20

    I have been really interested in reading about the Willie/Martin Handcart companies so when my brother gave me this book for Christmas I was really excited to read it. As you can imagine, it was an emotional story. I cried through many parts. It told about many hardships the saints had but also told about the great faith of the people. Although the book was fiction, the author based his writing on actual people and events. He did his research. At the end of the book, he tells a short biography of each of the main people in the book. He also goes through each chapter and tells what's true and what's not. I loved reading the book and now want to read more!

  • Heather
    2019-02-18 14:34

    I have been putting off reading this book for awhile, as I knew it would be a hard read. I have a read a lot about these handcart companies, and I spend and good portion of my time telling the story of my great-great grandmother who travelled with the martin company. This book does a good job of telling the story of three members of the Willie company. I have read other historical fiction acounts and for some reason this book really touched me. It is well researched and I think is quite accurate. The last few chapters were difficult to read. Once I again, I am so grateful to those pioneers, and grateful that I am not one of them!

  • Andrew
    2019-02-08 19:30

    This book would be five stars, but as other people have noted the editing was poor, and I could see quite a few mistakes. However, the writing was well done and I loved learning in depth on the Willie Handcart Company. Like the characters, I just felt I wanted it to be done by the end. Not the book; I hope David Farland does more LDS fiction, but the complete suffering. It was so realistic that it made me feel empty. By the end, just when help was right there, the deaths came in thick. When the wagons came in at the end, the people assuring the pioneers that help was coming, I was as relieved as the rest. Baline's story was wonderful, and very inspiring. I'm very glad I decided to read it.

  • Tausha
    2019-02-19 15:18

    I read this book in preparation of going on "trek" with our youth and I loved it. I was very appreciative of the fiction vs nonfiction the author had in the back. The story flowed along beautifully and I fell in love with our pioneer characters. It was refreshing to be able to find out what was just for the sake of a good read and what was truly the story of these amazing saints. I am so humbled when I study the lives of these early settlers/pioneers and what they faced with such amazing faith. It was not easy for them and they were definitely tried to the max...but they came through stronger and created an amazing legacy. Wonderfully written!

  • Laura Craner
    2019-01-27 17:22

    This was an excellent book. It stands out in my mind for a couple reasons: 1) It's a great example of historical fiction that is actually historical fiction; it relies on the story of the handcart company and doesn't try fall back on a love triangle to see it through. 2)Farland allows for his characters to doubt and worry and question their leaders and their faith. That kind of ambiguity made the struggle much more compelling to me. It was also a satisfying read because I had ancestors that were in this company. It's always fun when they show up in the literature.