Thursday, April 25, 2013

Belonging to Heaven Blog Tour

Descended from the Hawaiian royal line, Jonathan Napela became one of the first—and most influential—converts to the Church in Hawaii. A man of intelligence, social status, and wealth, he used his considerable position to further the gospel in his native land. He developed a lifelong bond of brotherhood with Elder George Q. Cannon, helping to translate the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian and establish a gathering place for the Hawaiian saints in Laie, Oahu. But when his beloved wife, Kitty, was stricken with leprosy, Jonathan made the defining decision of his life. He would leave his life of privilege to become her caretaker and spend the rest of his life on Molokai, the island of lepers. To those who suffered similar heartbreak and banishment, Jonathan’s self-sacrifice became their lifeline. Based on true story, this is an extraordinary novel of a man who chose love in the face of death.

Author Gale Sears
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 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.

George Q. Cannon didn't know what to expect when sent to the Sandwich Islands, he didn't know what to expect. He found himself on the island of Maui as a young leader over other missionaries. Through guidance and revelation he decides the best way to teach the people is to learn the Hawaiian language. This takes him around the island of Maui, where he meets Jonathan Hawaii Napela. They form a quick bond, and Jonathan Napela joins the church and does great things. They translate the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian, and soon Jonathan is leading the Mormon settlement in Laie, Oahu. Jonathan will face one of his biggest trials yet though, one that will force him to choose between the life and the people he loves most.

I used to live in Honolulu, so I was very excited to read his book. I was not let down. The author does a fabulous job of letting you into the world of George Q. Cannon and Jonathan Napela. I find the descriptions of how the early LDS missionaries traveled and taught fascinating. They had to ask for donations to live, and they worked very hard to survive. I would think this would distract from the work, but they managed to get a lot done. I had a passing knowledge of church history in Hawaii, but mostly on Oahu as that's where I lived. I've traveled to Laie many times, so I had fun reading about the sugar cane settlement there and all the work that went into gathering the LDS members on the North Shore.

I thought what this book did best was capture the spirit of the Hawaiian people. The respect shown to their heritage and beliefs was admirable. The Hawaiians have such a rich culture and history, and you get a good sense of that in this book. The sacrifice of the early Hawaiian Saints is echoed and represented by the huge sacrifice Jonathan Napela must eventually make. I greatly enjoyed this book. The historical aspects really came alive, and I could almost feel like I was back in Hawaii (although unlike George Q. Cannon I don't think I'll ever learn to like poi). If you are interested in church history or the Hawaiian people, definitely check out this book.

Galley provided for review.

This blog tour has a giveaway running with it for a $25 Amazon of Paypal Gift Card! Remember to check out all the stops on the tour and thanks for stopping by!

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