The Silence of God (Hardcover )
by Gale Sears
“A fascinating story. . . but readers beware: once begun, you won't be able to put this book down.” — Holly Newton, Meridian Magazine
“Historical fiction at its best. . . I give this book my highest recommendation...” — Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine
At the turn of the twentieth century, St. Petersburg offers the best of Imperial Russia. The vast country is filled with grand cathedrals, a faithful populace, and many people who love and revere Tsar Nicholas II and the Romanov family. But as Russia becomes further entrenched in the Great War, a revolution begins brewing within her own borders.
For the wealthy Lindlof family, the only Latter-day Saints living in St. Petersburg at the time, the glitz and glamour of the Silver Age soon dissolves into mass rebellion, dividing their family and testing their faith. Life for Agnes Lindlof will never be the same — changed forever by an ideology that forces equality and demands the silence of God.
Agnes's lifelong friend, Natasha Ivanovna Gavrilova, is the daughter of a professor and a firm supporter of Bolshevik ideals; she doesn't believe in God at all. Yet, when the waves of the revolution wash over her family and her friends, Natasha must examine her own heart and decide for herself what to believe and what voice to listen to.
Based on an amazing true story of the only Latter-day Saint family living in St. Petersburg during the Bolshevik Revolution, The Silence of God is a rare glimpse into a fascinating period of history and a powerful, extraordinary novel of devotion and loyalty.
- Hardcover: 6" x 9"
- Pages: 400
- Published: 2010
- Book on CD: Unabridged
- Number of discs: 9
- Running Time: Approx. 12 hrs.
About the Author
Gale Sears is an award-winning author, known for her historical accuracy and intensive research. Gale received a BA in playwriting from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in theater arts from the University of Minnesota. She is the author of the bestselling The Silence of God, Letters in the Jade Dragon Box, and several other novels, including The Route, Christmas for a Dollar, Autumn Sky, Until the Dawn, and Upon the Mountains. She and her husband, George, are the parents of two children and reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.
St. Petersburg, Russia
August 6, 1903
“And Elder Bloom was thrown into prison for preaching the gospel?” Johannes Lindlof asked, walking with long strides to keep up with his father.
Johan Lindlof nodded at his son. “Yes. Sentenced to twenty-eight days on bread and water for baptizing my mother and another woman there in Helsinki.”
“But, that was Finland.”
“A republic of Russia, my son. A republic of Russia.”
“And why didn’t you join the Church at the time? You were twenty-six.”
“I wasn’t ready, Johannes. Perhaps I was a bit of a coward.”
Agnes Lindlof took her father’s hand. “You are not a coward.”
“Well, not now, but then . . . It was very dangerous to go against the state. A person was only supposed to see God one way.”
“I would have been thrown into prison for the gospel,” Oskar declared.
Johannes clapped a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “That’s because you’re a hothead.”
“No, I’m not!”
“Boys, no fighting,” their mother reminded. “We wouldn’t want to spoil this special day, now would we?” Alma Lindlof put her hands into the pockets of her light coat and turned to her husband. “Are you sure Brother Cannon said we were invited?”
“Yes,” Johan assured her.
“And all the children?”
“And me in this condition?”
Johan gave his pregnant wife an understanding grin. “Yes, yes, and yes.” He shifted his two-year-old daughter, Alexandria, in his arms and turned to look at the rest of the children walking behind them. “See, Arel is taking care of little Bruno and Erland, and Agnes is never any trouble.”
Eight-year-old Agnes beamed up at her father and took her mother’s hand. “We’ll be good, Mommy. And if Erland starts to run about during the prayer, I’ll take him to the other side of the gardens.”
Alma Lindlof stopped on the Hermitage Bridge to catch her breath, and her family gathered around her.
“Are you all right, Alma?” Johan asked softly. “I should have had the carriage bring us all the way instead of dropping us at the Winter Palace.”
“Don’t be silly,” Alma said. “It’s a beautiful day for a walk along the river.” She placed a hand on her protruding abdomen. “I’m just tired. This child is very active.”
“Maybe you’re going to have another Erland,” Johannes teased. He knew he should have kept quiet the moment the words were out of his mouth, for on hearing his name, five-year-old Erland began jumping up and down.
“What about me? What about me? Is the new baby going to be like me?”
Johannes caught hold of his brother’s suit coat. “Erland, calm down. Sorry, Mother.”
Alma put her hand on Erland’s head and he stopped jumping. “It’s all right, Johannes. In truth, I would love to have another little boy just like our Erland.” She looked earnestly into the eyes of her five-year-old, and he smiled. “Would you like to hear a story while I rest?”
Erland’s head bobbed up and down.
Alma looked at each of her seven children. “Move closer.”
Agnes glanced around at the great number of people walking along the prospect: laughing, talking, and enjoying the sunshine. Agnes moved in with her brothers.
“I want to tell you of the miracle that happened the day your father and I were baptized.”
“June 11, 1895,” Johannes said.
Agnes smiled. She and her older brothers knew this story by heart. It was one of their favorites.
“Eight years ago, your father and I were baptized in the Neva River.”
Agnes leaned over the stone embankment to watch the water of the great river flow by. As her mother spoke of Elder August Hoglund coming all the way to St. Petersburg from the Swedish mission office, Agnes imagined the big man on the day of the baptism, rowing the wooden boat—rowing her father and mother up the river to find a quiet spot for the ordinance.
Alma Lindlof’s gentle voice brought Agnes’s thoughts back to the bridge. “There were many people out that day, crowding the river, the prospects, and the parks. We had to be careful for it was not a welcomed thing to join another church, but your father and I had spent several days being taught the gospel by Elder Hoglund, and we knew we wanted to be baptized.”
“But you couldn’t find a quiet spot,” Arel interjected.
“No, we couldn’t find a quiet spot.” Alma turned and pointed up the river. “Just about a half a mile up that way, Brother Hoglund decided we should row ashore and have a prayer. As soon as Brother Hoglund finished praying, we looked up and all the boats and people just seemed to drift away from the place we’d chosen for the baptism.”
“It was a miracle,” Arel said.
Johan Lindlof put his hand on Arel’s shoulder. “It was, son. We were baptized and confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with only nature and heaven looking on.”
“See, you were very brave, just like Grandmother,” Agnes said.
Her mother smiled at her.
“And now all of you will be part of another miracle,” Johan said. He looked over at Erland and Bruno who were picking up pebbles to throw into the river. “Erland! Bruno! Come here, please.”
The boys dropped the pebbles and came to their father’s side.
Johan took the moment to school his children. “Now, we are almost to the Summer Garden and I want to make sure you understand how important your manners will be today.”
“Father, you went through all of this at home,” thirteen-year-old Oskar stated frankly.
Johan looked at his son with raised eyebrows. “And I obviously need to go over it once again.”
Oskar reddened at the slight chastisement as his father continued.
“Elder Francis Marion Lyman has traveled all the way from Salt Lake City, America. He is the European Mission President and an apostle of God. Imagine that . . . a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.” Alma interrupted by clearing her throat. “Johan, your instructions?”
“What? Oh, yes. Yes, of course.” He looked at his children who were being unusually quiet. “Anyway, Elder Lyman is an apostle of God and has come here to say a special prayer for our country.”
“Is he more important than the tsar?” Bruno asked. Although only seven, Bruno was captivated by the royal family and their splendor.
“Tsar Nicholas is important to Russia, and Elder Lyman is important to God,” Johan answered.
Bruno nodded as though that made perfect sense.
“Now, I do not know how long the prayer will take,” Johan continued, “but you must be perfectly still while the apostle is speaking. Do you understand?”
The children looked tentatively at each other, and then nodded.
“If you must move about,” Alma Lindlof said empathetically, “do it quietly. Just move away from the group and I’m sure no one will notice.”
“What if Alexandria cries?” Erland asked, making a face at his little sister who was held in his father’s arms.
Johan patted his daughter’s back. “She’s not going to cry. She’s a big girl now.”
The sun came out from behind a bank of clouds, transforming the Neva River from steel gray to sparkling blue. Johan took a deep breath. “Let’s be on our way. We don’t want to be late.”
The family started east again soon arriving at their destination.
Agnes ran her hand along the ironwork railing that enclosed the huge garden. “Daddy,” she said in a reverent tone, “do you think Peter the Great ever touched this railing?”
“I don’t think so, sweetheart,” Johan said, putting his hand on one of the massive granite columns which supported the grille work. “This was built long after Peter the Great died.”
“Oh,” Agnes said, disappointed.
“But I have a feeling the grand duchesses have run their hands along it.”
“Oh, Daddy,” Agnes drawled, quite sure that her father was teasing her.
“No, I’m sure of it. Do you think Tsarina Alexandra and Tsar Nicholas would not bring their girls here for a picnic?”
Agnes frowned at him. “Well . . . maybe.” She brightened. “And you truly think they’ve all touched this fence?”
“Well, perhaps not Anastasia,” he said, “she’d be too little. But I’m fairly sure Olga, Tatyana, and Marie have probably touched right where you’re touching.”
Agnes felt a thrill at the thought. She, like Bruno, was quite taken with the royal family, especially with all the beautiful grand duchesses about whom she could dream—imagining herself being invited to their country palace at Tsarskoe Selo for parties and pony rides.
“Agnes, pay attention,” she heard her father say, and she looked up abruptly. She had walked right past the gate her father was holding open for the family. She hurried back to join the others as they entered the glorious garden. It held an impressive magic which enchanted the children into awed silence. Thousands of stately maple and elm trees stood sentinel near wide pathways and throughout the grassy acres. The foliage of the trees created a shimmering canopy of light and shadow. A breeze blew through the leaves, and Agnes imagined she could hear Mother Russia whispering.
Johannes took Erland’s hand as the family walked the pathway to the central courtyard. Standing on the opposite side of the circular flowerbed were four men.
“Oh, look,” Alma whispered excitedly. “That must be them.”
“Isn’t Brother Cannon an editor at a British paper, Father?” Johannes asked.
“Yes, the LDS Millennial Star,” Johan answered.
As the Lindlofs approached the group, an older man in very American dress turned to look at them. He was stately and handsome with a well-trimmed beard and mustache. He had a high forehead, which spoke of intelligence, and his eyes held a look of earnestness and welcome. He didn’t wait for the family to arrive within the circle of the group; a broad smile lighting his features, he strode to Brother and Sister Lindlof, his hand outstretched. He took first Alma’s hand then Johan’s.
“My friends, my dear friends, I am Elder Lyman. What an honor it is to finally meet you, Brother and Sister Lindlof—indeed an honor. The first LDS saints in Russia.”
Johan was speechless. He was honored? Didn’t the man realize what an honor it was for them to be meeting one of the Lord’s apostles? Before Johan could find his voice, Elder Lyman continued.
“I understand that your interest in the Church came because of your mother, Brother Lindlof.”
“Yes, sir. She joined the Church in Finland.”
“Which is your birthplace.”
Johan nodded. “Yes, mine and Alma’s.” He took his wife’s hand. “Then, of course, Alma and I married and moved to St. Petersburg, where opportunities for plying my craft were better.”
“And I understand you are a respected merchant in the community . . . a gifted gold and silversmith?”
Johan brushed off the compliment. “I have a small shop here in the city.”
Brother Lyman smiled. “Well, I shall have to find a little treasure in your shop to take home to my wife. She has to carry on without me much of the time.”
Alma found her voice. “Truly, Elder Lyman, we are honored to have you in our country.”
The apostle gave a slight shake of his head, a kind grin crinkling the corners of his eyes. “I am just a busy servant, Sister Lindlof.” His energy was infectious as he guided them back to the group. “Now come, we all want to meet your stalwart family.”
The others in the company smiled as they drew near. Elder Lyman made the introductions. “You have already met Brother Cannon, Brother Lindlof, as I sent him to your shop with the invitation, and these two fine gentlemen—Elder Crismon and Elder Horne—are missionaries in Germany! They have been to Christiania, Norway, and Stockholm, Sweden, and are now in St. Petersburg for a few days. Gentlemen, may I introduce Brother and Sister Lindlof.”
“First Latter-day Saints in Russia,” Brother Cannon interjected, vigorously shaking Brother Lindlof’s hand. “My, my, my . . . imagine. And the gospel shall go out to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.”
Elder Lyman laughed and clapped his traveling companion on the back. “The Lord is aware of all His children, Brother Cannon. He surely is!”
After everyone shook hands with Alma and Johan, Elder Lyman addressed Brother Lindlof in a gentle tone. “And now Brother Lindlof, if you would be so kind to introduce your dear children, I am anxious to make their acquaintance. Do they all speak English?”
“Yes, we’ve taught them several languages. The little ones know only a few words of English, but they can understand, and we can translate.”
Elder Lyman smiled. “I would speak to them in Russian, but I know only a few words, and I’m sure my pronunciation is dreadful.”
Johan motioned to Johannes. “This is our oldest child, Johannes. He is fifteen and helps me in the shop.”
Elder Lyman took the young man’s hand. “How do you do, Johannes? Are you keeping true to the faith?”
Johannes’s eyes filled with tears. “I am, sir.”
Elder Lyman nodded. “Yes, you are. I can tell. Wonderful. I will pray for you.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Elder Lyman started to move away, then stopped. He stood quietly for a moment, returning to Johannes’s side. He looked searchingly into the young man’s eyes. “Fifteen, are you?”
“About the same age as the boy Joseph when he received the First Vision.”
“May I tell you something, Johannes?”
Johannes nodded, overwhelmed that an apostle of God would be standing there sharing stories with a young man of no significance.
Elder Lyman placed his hand on Johannes’s shoulder. “My father, Amasa Lyman, knew the Prophet Joseph Smith very well. In fact, they were good friends. All the years of my father’s life, though he had some sore spiritual trials, he always defended the Prophet Joseph’s character. I remember him saying on many occasions that Joseph was one of the best men he’d ever known. I believe what my father said.”
Elder Lyman’s voice took on a soft intensity. “I also want you to know that I have my own firm testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the Restoration of the gospel. The year before he was murdered, Joseph had been inspired by the Lord to send missionaries to this great country. He saw the empire of Russia in vision, and he appointed Elder Orson Hyde and Elder George Adams to that great calling. These dedicated men were preparing to leave in June of 1844 . . . and then . . . the Prophet was murdered.” Elder Lyman hesitated, working to regain his composure. “The Prophet Joseph was a good man who died a martyr for the truth. To his last breath he held firm to what he knew was right.”
The entire company felt the power of the Spirit as the words were spoken, but Johannes felt them seared into his heart.
“Will you remember what I’ve said to you, Johannes?”
“Yes, sir. I will.”
Elder Lyman moved away to meet the next boys.
Brother Lindlof’s voice was husky with emotion as he introduced Oskar and Arel.
“And they’ve been baptized?” Elder Lyman asked kindly.
“Yes, several years ago when Brother Anderson came for a visit from the mission office.”
Agnes stepped forward.
“And this is our daughter, Agnes.”
Elder Lyman took both her hands with his. “Dear sweet Agnes, in the middle of all these brothers.”
Agnes giggled. “Yes, sir.” She felt very comfortable in the big man’s presence. “I’m eight and a half, but I haven’t been baptized yet.”
Elder Lyman smiled. “Oh, no? Well, we might have to take care of that before I leave.”
Agnes looked over excitedly at her mother and saw a tear roll down her cheek.
Bruno, Erland, and Alexandria were introduced next. Bruno seemed impressed at meeting someone important, Erland didn’t run around, and Alexandria didn’t cry—even when Elder Lyman asked to hold her. He turned to talk with the group.
“Brother Cannon and I arrived a bit early in order to choose a secluded spot for our prayer. If you will all follow me.”
They walked along a side path, passing flowering bushes and beautiful marble statues. In an area of the garden that was fairly deserted, Elder Lyman stopped near a statue of a woman holding a sunstone. “This reminded me of the sunstones on the Nauvoo Temple, so Brother Cannon and I decided it would be a fitting place for our prayer of dedication.” He kissed Alexandria on the forehead and handed her over to Sister Lindlof. “Now, Sister Lindlof, please don’t worry if the younger children get fussy. Their presence here is a blessing, and I understand they will probably get bored during such an extended prayer. I will not be troubled by them in the least, so set your mind at ease.” He addressed the others in the group. “Brother Cannon will be acting as scribe, so please don’t mind as he scratches away.”
Brother Cannon had pulled his supplies from a satchel and was sitting down on a nearby bench. He looked up at Elder Lyman. “I will attempt to be as quiet as possible.”
Elder Lyman smiled at him, and then looked over at Brother Lindlof. “It is fitting that you and your sweet family should be present at this
dedication, Brother Lindlof. You are the only Latter-day Saints in all of Russia. It must be lonely, and I know you have prayed for kindred worshippers. God is very aware of this great land—vast and beautiful, and filled with His children whose hearts are true and good.” He looked at the group. “The Prophet Joseph wrote that the vast empire of Russia was attached to some of the most important things concerning the advancement and building up of the kingdom of God in these last days.” The apostle took a deep breath. “Joseph was never able to expand on that statement, but I believe it to be true. Since arriving here I have felt a great power in this country.”
Agnes felt proud at the apostle’s words.
“And in February of this year,” he continued, “Tsar Nicholas II issued a proclamation of freedom of conscience. This is a very significant act—a miracle really. It means that people will be able to look about for truth and testimony.” Emotion showed on the apostle’s face. “Nearly a thousand years ago, Prince Vladimir of Kiev brought Christianity to this wondrous land, and since that time the Orthodox Christian churches here have kept the light of faith alive. We honor their devotion.” He paused. “Now, shall we see what the fulness of the gospel may offer them?” He held out his hands to the small fellowship of believers. “If we can gather close, I shall begin.”
Under the stately trees through whose foliage could be seen the blue heavens, Elder Lyman lowered his head and began praying. He offered a fervent petition for the Lord to open the great land so that His servants might preach the gospel in Russia. He dedicated the land for this purpose and turned the key that salvation and truth might be brought in. He prayed that religious liberty might be given so that all might worship unhindered and without persecution, and he petitioned the Lord to send servants full of wisdom and faith to declare the gospel to the Russians in their own language.
He prayed for the tsar and his family that they might be preserved from violence, and that this ruler might live to extend the religious freedom that his subjects needed so that all men might exercise their agency. He called upon the Lord to bless the great empire—in many respects the greatest in the world—and endow its rulers with wisdom and virtue, that there might be peace and progress, that darkness would flee, and that the voices of His servants could sound the glad tidings to the uttermost parts of the great land.
As the prayer ended, a profound stillness encircled the gathering. Agnes opened her eyes and lifted her head. She found her mother and father weeping, and, to her surprise, Alexandria asleep on her mother’s shoulder. Erland sat on the ground, apart from the group, with his head in his hands.
Agnes went to see if he was sick, and she reached him the same time as Johannes did. Her big brother knelt by Erland’s side and placed a hand on his back.
“Erland, are you sick?”
Erland shook his head and looked up at his brother. His eyes were red-rimmed from crying, and his dirty hands had smudged the tears on his face. “He loves us, doesn’t he?”
“Who?” Johannes questioned.
“Did you understand the prayer?” Johannes asked, surprised by his little brother’s uncharacteristic demeanor.
“No, not most of it, but I felt that the apostle loves us.”
“I felt that too,” Agnes said softly.
“Me too,” Johannes agreed, helping Erland to stand. “Here, wipe your face with my handkerchief.”
“Are you all right, son?” Brother Lindlof asked as he moved to his children.
Erland nodded as he wiped his face.
Agnes piped up. “It’s just that he was . . . Well, it’s just that the prayer was . . .”
Johan Lindlof smiled. “I know what you’re trying to say, Agnes.”
“Yes. It’s very hard to find the words, isn’t it?”
“Indeed,” Johan continued, looking over at his oldest son, “I think we will be pondering the words of that prayer for many years.”
At that moment, Sister Lindlof rushed up to them. “Johan! I don’t know what got into me. I just invited everyone to supper at our home!”
Johan chuckled. “Calm down. Calm down, my dear. You always make enough food to feed all the tsar’s relatives. A dinner party will be marvelous—the perfect ending to a perfect day.”
Johannes hoisted Erland up piggyback. “I will never forget this day for as long as I live, Father.” He nodded at Agnes, and then walked over to talk with the missionaries.
Filled with serenity, the company moved toward the garden entrance to find their carriages. Agnes lolled behind, listening contently to the murmur of voices on the summer breeze. She smiled as she heard again the voice of Mother Russia entwining itself into the conversation. Agnes twirled around and around. Her heart was happy, for now missionaries would come to Russia and there would be many families who would join the Church. Her best friend and neighbor, Natasha Ivanovna Gavrilova would be one of the first to be taught the gospel! And then, of course, Natasha’s parents would want to be baptized. Agnes stopped short. The tsar! Surely the tsar would want to hear about the beautiful prayer that Elder Lyman had just given, and then the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatyana would be baptized right away, and Marie and Anastasia when they were eight, and—
“Agnes, hurry along!” her father called.
She twirled one more time and ran to join the group.
1. The miracle attendant with the baptism of Johan and Alma Lindlof was recorded by the missionary who baptized them, August Joel Hoglund. He wrote of the entire incident in a letter to the Swedish Mission Office. It was also recorded in an article in the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star.
2. In October 1843 the Prophet Joseph Smith posted an article in the Times and Seasons concerning missionaries being called to Russia and asked faithful Saints for donations.
3. LDS apostle Elder Francis Lyman pronounced two prayers of dedication for Russia, one on August 6, 1903, in the Summer Gardens in St. Petersburg, and one on August 9 of the same year in the garden outside the Kremlin in Moscow. I have combined selections from each prayer. Both prayers were recorded by Brother Joseph Cannon, and published in the Times and Seasons. An article about the visit also appears in the August 20, 1903 Millennial Star.
4. The Russian naming system requires that people have three names: a given name, a patronymic, and a family name (surname). The patronymic uses the father’s name followed by a suffix meaning either “son of” or “daughter of.” Males use either “-ovich” or “-ovitch,” while females use “-ovna,” e.g. “Ivanovitch,” which means “son of Ivan,” or “Ivanovna,” which means “daughter of Ivan.” In standard usage, both the given name and patronymic are used together when referring to a person, but for the sake of brevity and English-language convention, I often use the given name alone.
by Mary E. - reviewed on July 30, 2010
This book is great. I learned so much about Russian history and the first LDS family in Russia. I will not take my freedom for granted again. Highly recommend this book!!! I could hardly put it down!!
Excellent read and I highly recommend it.
by LaDeana - reviewed on August 24, 2010
Gale Sears captured my interest from the beginning. She did an excellent job weaving fictional characters into true historical events in Russia. I learned so much from what it must of have been like to be LDS in the early 20th Century Russia. This is a book I will read more than once.
by Allison - reviewed on June 23, 2010
This book was a true eye-opener for me. I had no idea what it was like in Russia during the Bolshevik revolution. This book made history come alive and made it more realistic. I will never forget this book. It makes me want to learn more!
Good motivational book!
by Teresa & Les - reviewed on October 22, 2010
I really enjoyed the book. It was well written and very informative. I enjoyed the story and the way the motivational info blended into the storyline was very good. I hoped that the ending would have been a bit different; however, it showed how things don't always turn out the way we wished they would...sometimes, bridges are burned and can't be re-built. I plan to go back and read through some of the advice that the book gives. I would recommend this book to others.
by Wayne - reviewed on September 02, 2010
I wasn't sure what to expect when I ordered this book. I have always enjoyed reading historical fiction, and about the Russian Revolution, but you never know how good (or bad) something really is until you read it. Gale Sears, really knows how to keep your attention, I found myself not wanting to put the book down, and instead of doing other things, I found myself with my nose in the book, and on the streets of Petrograd, and in the work camp in Siberia. Truly a wonderful book and I highly recommend it to everybody. But, especially to those to want a glimpse of life during the Russian Revolution and how that changed people.
Destined to become a classic!
by Melissa - reviewed on June 12, 2010
An amazing portrayal of Russian life during the Bolshevik Revolution as lived by the Lindlof family. I love Russian history and truly wanted to read this book yet had apprehensions that it would be a difficult emotional read. Instead, the actual experiences of the Lindlof family were presented more in keeping with Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place - harrowing yet approachable. Gale Sears did a marvelous job of writing on an emotional level without allowing the book to overwhelm the reader. Her research and explanations are also impeccable. It definitely provides moments for personal soul searching and is ultimately very uplifting. I am so excited to recommend this book!
by Courtney - reviewed on October 14, 2012
I recently was called to be Book Group Leader in my church. This is something I find myself being extremely excited about. I decided that the first book we would read would be “The Silence of God” by Gale Sears. It is a historical fiction about the only Latter-Day Saint family during the Russian Revolution. I was immediately sucked in. The author takes a quite a bit of literary license, but as the majority of the story line is about the next door neighbor, all is forgiven. She gives notes at the end of each chapter and sites any discrepancies and historical facts that were covered in the chapter. This book is more political than it is spiritual and is an interesting parallel to the times we currently find ourselves in... For the rest of this review go to: http://ordinaryhappilyeverafter.com/blog/2010/09/classics/
by Carol - reviewed on September 28, 2010
While I feel Gale could have written the story just as well if she had kept more closely to the facts, I feel she did a great job of weaving a tale. Big PLUS that she put notes at the end of each chapter. I was surprised to read that the communist leaders used the same rhetoric that we hear from many of our own government officials today. I believe this book is worth recommending.
by Carol - reviewed on July 22, 2013
This book was very well written. I think that the author could have woven a wonderful tale even if she had made the story more true to the actual facts.
by lacy - reviewed on July 26, 2010
one of the greatest books i have read in a long time. i am an avid reader, and this book had me pulled in from the start. it was amazing to be able to learn more about the Russian revolution through the eyes of members of the church. keep writing such amazing pieces of literature!
by Heather - reviewed on July 01, 2010
This book is an amazing work of historical fiction. I have nevered studied much about Russia and was amazed at what I learned. I loved learing about the first LDS family in Russia and was captivated by what happened to them. I highly reccomend this book.
by Emily - reviewed on August 07, 2010
I love this book! I loved reading about the faith of the Lindlof family! I would like to find out more about them and find out the real story behind the book. I also enjoyed reading the history of Russia. I will never look at Russia the same.
Truly amazing historical fiction!
by Customer - reviewed on November 05, 2010
This is an incredible story of faith, friendship sacrifice, and endurance. Historical fiction provides a wonderful way to learn while being caught up in a story. I was truly touched by the time period in Russia, the Lindlof background in being the first LDS family there, and the struggles in both finding and having faith. I would highly recommend this book.
Thank you Gale Sears!
by catherine - reviewed on February 02, 2011
This book is a life changer. I understand much better what is going on in the minds of those in America who may innocently (but dangerously) not support the founding principles of the United States Constitution. Everyone should read this book. It is a masterpiece!
by James - reviewed on August 13, 2010
this book is Amazing, it really pulls you in and you feel for the family and everyone else involved. this is a must read, it will make you cry, laugh and want to dance. I have a hard time putting it down I need to know what is going to happen next.
by Angela - reviewed on June 28, 2010
What I great book. I really enjoyed it, I couldn't put the book down (I stayed up until 2a.m. so that I could finish it). It is very inspiring.
Glad to see Mrs Sears is back!!
by teri - reviewed on May 26, 2010
I have not read the new book but I am sure it will be as great as her other works!! A very talented writer and boy, does she do her research!!
by teri - reviewed on June 25, 2010
I just finished Mrs Sears new book and it is amazing!!!!! She keeps getting better and better! It seems almost like I was reading about current times!! Thank you for sharing your talent.
Interesting- historical fiction
by Liz - reviewed on September 11, 2010
This book was an easy read and very interesting depiction of the Russian revolution. While the events of this family were true, the story didn't follow exactly what happened. Some of the story was made up, which was disappointing. I would have rather have the story follow the exact true to life facts.
Historical fiction at its best
by Brent - reviewed on August 18, 2010
This is a powerful, well-written book. The story of the Lindlof family is extraordinary. Based on the historical account of the only Latter-day Saint family living in Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution, the author creates a vivid picture of a society's collapse into socialism and atheism. Set against the backdrop of this tumultuous period in history, the author weaves a compelling human drama that serves as a strong reminder of the blessings of faith and freedom we enjoy.
An Inspiring Novel of Faith and Courage
by Sheila - reviewed on July 09, 2010
I finished reading this historical novel over the 4th of July holiday weekend. The story had been gripping from the start, but even more when you realize it is based on a true, LDS family, from Russia. As I pondered about the freedoms that we partake of in the United States, it only made what happen to the Lindlofs and God fearing Russians seem ever more brutal. The Bolshevik Revolution did in fact "silence" God in Russia. The rights of the people were taken away to worship as they may and live as they wanted. Gale Sears masterfully tells the story of the Lindlof family. Gale has a way of bringing history to life in a way that educates, without being boring. The time Gale spent to research the book is evident. You can tell, that the events portrayed about the revolution,are historically accurate. I love reading about history, but this is one time period I have not read about as much as others. After reading "The Silence of God" I want to read more abut the Russian Revolution and Tsar Nicholas and his family. The thing I loved the most about this book were the characters; the Lindlof family and their neighbor Natasha. We as readers, are brought along on Natasha's journey of being a firm supporter of Bolshevik ideals, to slowly letting God into her life and her heart. Agnes Lindlof was a fountain of courage with unfailing faith. The friendship between these two young women is not only heart warming, but inspiring. I became so lost in the story, I had to remember that this was a story "based" on true people and the actual events did not all happen exactly as told in the story. Gale truly is a great writer to be able to bring history to life, as well as wrapping the readers up in a fascinating story with meaningful characters. I highly recommend this book to readers that love history, and also love a faith inspiring read. This also is a great book to read to help you realize, how lucky most of us are, to live where freedom reigns. I can tell you that I will always remember this book and it's characters. I know that I will be revisiting this book again, especially around the 4th of July.
by Roxann - reviewed on September 20, 2010
I loved this book from beginning to end. The intense research was evident and the heart wrenching story of this actual LDS family living in Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution was absolutely compelling and inspiring. Very talented writer!
History comes alive
by Laura - reviewed on July 01, 2010
This book helped me appreciate what the people of Russian have gone through. They have had great challenges to deal with. It made history come alive. I've wondered how the time of the Tzars ended and how the Boshiviks took power. Having a family living in this period and showing their struggles makes it real. It is a very compeling and exciting story.
The Elder Bloom in the Book was my great, great grandfather!
by Connie - reviewed on August 08, 2010
When I saw the Deseret Book flier and read the names Johan and Alma Lindlof, I remembered the Ensign articles I read, and that I have saved, about them. My great, great grandfather, John Bloom(Johannes Blom) was born in Sweden, but moved his family to Finland to preach the gospel and work as a gardner. He baptized Johan Lindlof's mother. My g.g. grandfather was arrested for this and fined 595 marks and 20 pfennigs. He was the center of attention when he delivered a discourse on the gospel in court, but was still sentenced to 28 days in the state prison at Helsingfors. His story is a great one too! Though I'm not related to Johan and Alma, I feel a great connection and have always wondered what their life was like in Russia(after reading the Ensign article about them)! I bought the book and am reading it. So far, it has been great. I have loved Gale Sears' books in the past!-Connie Bennett Lindsey-Mesa, AZ.
a solid four star novel
by Gregg - reviewed on September 26, 2010
While this novel is not classically "historical fiction" it is still a very enjoyable read. Much like novels set in Book of Mormon times, Sears places a family in a historical setting and uses snippets of political history and LDS history to weave a very heartfelt tale. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
This is a fabulous book!
by Nola - reviewed on November 18, 2010
I give this book 5 stars. I enjoyed reading it and learning about Russian history. Also, it was a great book to listen to on the CDs. What a fabulous historical fiction!
A sobering read, it will expand your understanding
by Em - reviewed on December 30, 2010
I have never wanted to see Russia, but now I hope to make the journey one day. Sometimes I forget that other countries are made up of people and that their governments can't ever truly represent the heart of the people. This story was beautifully told and puts you in the intended place and time so that the history comes to life. The author seeks to instill hope and faith in spite of the bleak outlook of the period. I'd have to say that she was successful for the most part, but it is still a bitter pill to swallow. If you have ever wanted to understand and connect with Russian history then you've come to the right place.
Couldn't put it down.
by Customer - reviewed on February 01, 2011
I have been to Russia and it was great to read this book and recognize many of the landmarks mentioned. The story was gripping, entertaining, and enlightening. I would recommend it.
Amazing, couldn't put it down!
by Customer - reviewed on January 06, 2011
Great book, definitely worth buying in hardback!
Must read for everyone old enough to read.
by Mary - reviewed on August 21, 2013
This book should be required reading for everyone. If you are not concerned about what our leaders are doing to this country, this book demonstrates why everyone should be.