Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Review: Journey of Honor

Journey of Honor
A Love Story
byJaclyn M. Hawkes

I found ten definitions of “honor” in my dictionary. Here are three that apply to this book and form the backbone of the story:
  1. honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honor
  2. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one's family 
  3. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor

These phrases from the dictionary also typify the behaviors of the main characters:
  1. in honour bound: under a moral obligation
  2. in honor of: out of respect for 
  3. on one’s honour, upon one’s honour, on the pledge of one’s word or good name.

Sometimes it seems that the concept of honor has taken quite a beating over time, and some people may find these definitions old-fashioned and even outmoded, but Journey of Honor illustrates the ideal of honor in its original context.

Giselle, a young LDS Dutch woman, is determined to reach Zion with her grandparents. A victim of mob violence, she demonstrates remarkable strength and endurance in everything she does. Trace Grayson sets his medical career aside for a while, disgusted with racial issues that abound in Georgia. He begins to take goods to the territories, transporting them from east to west by teamster train. Giselle and Trace meet on the street in St. Joseph, Missouri, and the attraction is mutual.

Quickly married ("in name only") to protect Giselle from a false accusation and to protect her as she travels west, these two young strangers have many experiences on the trail that reveal their true natures to us and each other. They are tried in just about every way imaginable, and even pestered by a native American who becomes obsessed with Giselle, offering many horses and other possessions for her. But she’s not for sale, and eventually convinces him with an outburst of her “Dutch temper.”

We’re engaged with these characters and we want them to survive their arduous journey – both physically and spiritually. There are many examples from both realms in this story, and Giselle and Trace prove equal to their challenges. A special moment (I won’t give it away) suggests the gift of tongues guiding a character’s thoughts and beliefs.

When Trace and Giselle finally reach Salt Lake City, it’s a bittersweet time; she is committed to joining the Saints and becoming a plural wife, and he is committed to take his goods onward to California. It takes the intervention of Brigham Young to suggest other possibilities to these two honorable people.

Journey of Honor is an enjoyable and uplifting read and the book has an attractive cover. I do fault the editors for not catching slang words and phrases such as “pretty up front” and “he’d deal with the whole leaving thing later.” These are just two examples of modern language forms that jolt the reader out of the 1840s and into the present, where we don’t want to be. We want to stay immersed in the story and find out what happens next. 

Journey of Honor
Jaclyn M. Hawkes

ISBN: 978-59936-059-1
Cost: $14.95, paperback
Granite Publishing
Salt Lake City, Utah


Danyelle Ferguson said...

This sounds like a really interesting book. I'm not big on historical novels, but I'm going to put this one on my to-read list. Thanks!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for your review! I am part of this blog tour as well, and it's fun to read what others thought!