The Believers In the Crucible Nauvoo

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
357 Pages
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

The Believers in the Crucible Nauvoo by Alfred Woollacott, III is an inspiring, historical novel that explores the life of a woman of faith. Naamah Carter has had her share of suffering and devastating loss as a child. However, her life takes on a new direction when she listens to Joseph Smith’s testaments. But her family still continues to be despised by those in her community. This book tells the story of her spiritual odyssey to Nauvoo, inspired by the message of the prophet. In this new adventure of faith, she faces the greatest challenge of her life — should she choose Brigham Young and live in a marital situation contrary to her beliefs or follow her heart.

The reader is introduced to the dynamics and the historical context in which the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints was born. The author explores the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his succession by Brigham Young, creating a powerful spiritual climate that underlines the elements of a nascent church. I was captivated by the portrait of Naamah Carter, and how her humanity comes across in the narrative. The themes of faith, family, and suffering are beautifully developed and it is interesting to notice the part that faith plays in the story. Alfred Woollacott’s work is brilliantly plotted and the reader is left in no doubt that the work is well-researched. The characters are compelling and readers will love how these characters fit into the setting. The Believers in the Crucible Nauvoo is fast-paced and the conflict is strong, deftly developed at multiple levels. It is, indeed, an engaging and fascinating read.

Deborah Lloyd

The earliest believers in Joseph Smith’s prophecies led difficult lives. As a young man, Joseph Smith experienced several visions, and he wrote the Book of Mormon. Soon, thousands followed his teachings. Naamah Carter, from Peterborough, New Hampshire, was moved when Elder Eli Maginn preached in her town. Her favorite aunt, Susanna Law Taggart, her uncle and cousin George also believed Elder Maginn’s words. In the fictional work, The Believers In the Crucible Nauvoo, author Alfred Woollacott III relates the story of Naamah’s spiritual, and physical, journey with this new church.

A few years after she heard Elder Maginn, she too joined the community in Nauvoo, Illinois, reuniting with her relatives and friends from her hometown. Her relationship with Brother John Twiss blossomed. Not all went well, though, as the neighboring communities were suspicious of these new settlers. Disease and death brought despair, but their faith endured. Brigham Young became the new leader, and eventually he had no choice but to move the community further west.

This book, while written as a novel, is an excellent historical rendition of the establishment of the Mormon church. In the epilogue, the author shares his family connections to Naamah Carter and other characters in the book, adding a dramatic meaning to the story. Alfred Woollacott III has written an engaging and factual tale, depicting the early Mormon church in The Believers In the Crucible Nauvoo. Readers will learn about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and the beliefs of this faith – as well as the hardships and strengths of its first members. A very interesting read!

Jane Finch

The Believers In the Crucible Nauvoo by Alfred Woollacott, III follows Naamah Carter as she seeks fulfilment in her physical and spiritual life. Set in the mid-1800s in New Hampshire, Naamah strives to seek God’s will through the teachings of Joseph Smith, but this causes conflict and division within her family and friends. Many from their small community join the thousands travelling to Nauvoo in the hope of setting up their own promised land with the teachings of Joseph Smith as their foundation. The Believers In the Crucible Nauvoo tells the story of the journey and the hardships endured by the followers as the early Mormon Church is established.

The author, Alfred Woollacott III, has clearly researched his subject matter well and cleverly interwoven this knowledge with the life of fictitious characters to convey the struggles and hardships endured by the followers of Joseph Smith. The pace is sedate, with a voice that is entirely appropriate for the era. The language used gives authenticity to the whole story, and will enable this book to appeal to not only readers of historical fiction, but also those interested in historical facts relating to the Mormon faith. There are quite a lot of characters, which can become confusing, but the story is a compelling read and Naamah is an enduring personality with whom the reader will empathise. This book has the ability to pique the interest of the reader in the events surrounding the exodus to Nauvoo, which is confirmation that the author has done a good job in this fictional yet informative piece of work.