This is a very interesting story based on the true account of the author's ancestors.
While serving as a British Military Leader, Matthew McCune was posted to serve in India. The trip was rough on his wife, Sarah, and their small family. Asian flu struck and the eldest two sons died, devastating their parents. Their little son, Henry (Harry), still was alive and needed their care. They had three more sons while in India. Although the British were often warring with India's tribesmen, the McCune family enjoyed living in a very large, nicely furnished home with servants and a tutor, which made life pleasant. The children had nearby friends who they associated with. Life was mostly good...Good until Mathew chose to retire early and move his family to western America!
The tale well-portrays the associations and daily lifestyle in India. It also informs the reader what led to Matthew's decision. Before the journey begins to America, the reader is already "hooked"! The suspense builds and the reader is emotionally connected to the book's characters and events. The difficult journey to America, continues to grip the reader's connection. The journey continues, even after the family reaches America's West.
This is such a well-written tale, the reader will have a difficult time putting the book down. It will leave the reader with an increased gratitude for the conveniences and freedoms we enjoy. It will also leave the reader humbled and more appreciative of his/her trials.
This earns a Five Stars rating.
This book was a gift. I am in no way expected to give anything but an honest review, of which I have given.
This novel is rich with historical details of the McCune family, their life in India, their journey to join the Saints in Utah, and their new life there. The pace of the story was slowed down by so many details, but I think the meticulous research done by the author will be appreciated by readers who enjoy history. I felt like the way the book was written, I was reading an account of the members of the family instead of experiencing the story through their eyes, which prevented me from becoming emotionally connected to them or invested in the story. There is very little romance, rather, the focus was on information that the author gleaned from journals and accounts of the family members the story is based on.
(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
I'll just start by being brutally honest about this book. I had a really hard time getting into the plot of this one. It took me longer than normal, until around 50 to 100 pages into before I really got into it. And from there, I really enjoyed it, but the first part was really hard for me.
This book is about the McCune family. They were from England. He was in the army and was sent to India to fight in the Bengal Army. I was kind of amazed by their journeys. They started off in Calcutta and they had a pretty great situation. They had a nice house, furniture, servants, friends, and church. Their family was one of the few LDS families in the area, so they had a lot of responsibilities that way. But the army was eventually sent to Burma, so that left Sarah and her children without Matthew wondering how he was.
But Sarah was amazing. Eventually, Sarah and the children joined Matthew in Burma. And they had nothing. Matthew had built them a home, but they had no furnishings of any kind. They did have a cook, but there wasn't a kitchen in their home, so the cook would cook at her own house and either walk the food to the McCune's or row across the stream that developed in the rainy season.
And then, Matthew was told by a person he trusted to leave India. So he did. He sold everything they had and they made the trek. I kind of wonder how I would have handled something like that. Sarah really didn't want to go. She had lost 3 children when they lived in India and she was terrified that they would lose more, for one thing. I'm sure another hardship would have been leaving the three she had lost as well. This one is actually based on a real family, so I can just tell you that Sarah McCune was an amazing and strong woman. Their challenges didn't end when they emigrated to America, in fact, they were just beginning, but they pressed forward. I really liked that in the ending materials you get to see just what happened to the posterity of this amazing woman.
I liked the characters, I liked that they were real people who had real challenges. I liked the way the author wrote about them, you can tell that the author really cared for the people.
Bottom line, once you get through the first bit, this is a great book that you'll really enjoy reading!