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True Sisters

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  3,007 Ratings  ·  655 Reviews
In a novel based on true events, New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas delivers the story of four women---seeking the promise of salvation and prosperity in a new land---who come together on a harrowing journey.

In 1856, Mormon converts, encouraged by Brigham Young himself, and outfitted with two-wheeled handcarts, set out on foot from Iowa City to Salt Lake City,
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by St. Martin's Press (first published April 1st 2012)
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Diane S ☔
May 06, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
It is 1856 and Mormons from all over converge on Iowa City to start their journey on foot to Salt Lake City and the "Promised Land.' Another emotional read for me, the hardships, deaths, these amazingly strong people, was just heartbreaking. I became so enmeshed in these characters lives, their sorrows and joys, their hopes and fears, that it was hard to turn away from this book. I am so glad that I did not live back then, don't think I could blindly follow my husband , nor put aside myself in b ...more
Jessica McCann
Jul 13, 2014 Jessica McCann rated it really liked it
Another fabulous novel by Sandra Dallas, though a bit darker than her others (even those such as TALLGRASS and WHITER THAN SNOW, which also deal with tragic events). TRUE SISTERS is based on the real-life events surrounding the Mormon converts who were in the last group to walk the harrowing 1,300-mile journey across America to settle in the Salt Lake Valley during the mid-1850s. I know very little about Mormon history, so this story introduced me to something new. The acknowledgements at the en ...more
Jun 08, 2012 Melanie rated it liked it
The story of the Martin Handcart Company is one that deserves to be told time and time again. In this historical fiction novel written by Sandra Dallas, she portrays well the level of suffering and sacrifice these early Latter-Day Saints endured to follow the prophet's counsel and relocate to Utah. However, as I closed the cover on the book, I really felt like something was missing from her story. And I think I've nailed it down: to me the ugliness of the hardships these people faced is rectifie ...more
I think we all know about the westward migration via wagon train, but how many of you have heard of the Mormon Handcart pioneers? Converts to the Mormon faith were *encouraged* to make the 1,300 mile trek west to Zion on foot with handcarts the were pushed/pulled. Those handcarts couldn't carry a very much in the way of supplies, but they had been promised there would be supply stations along the way...


True Sisters is based on the Martin Handcart Company, the last group to make the trek i
Mar 18, 2012 Jennie rated it it was ok
I found this book disappointing. What is billed as a story about the Martin handcart company turned into an anti polygamy rant and a put down of Mormon men, especially those in leadership positions. The plot is disjointed and told from so many points of view it lacks cohesiveness. There is no sense of sisterhood except between the two biological sisters. Contact between the other women is fleeting. At times the writing is brilliant; other times it wanders so much it loses any real impact. As a d ...more
May 17, 2012 Carly rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
I could only make it 40 pages into the book before I couldn't take anymore, though I really wanted to quit after 5 pages. It had such a negative overtone and the characters were not believable at all. All of the men in the book had major character flaws and none of the women did. If someone wanted to learn more about the Martin and Willie Handcart companies, I would definitely recommend Gerald Lund's book Fire of the Covenant, which was a FABULOUS book.
May 02, 2012 Maryann rated it did not like it
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May 21, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it

Sandra Dallas is a wonderful storyteller and I am happy that I have found her work as an author. I will definitely look into her other work and I am sure I will enjoy her fictional novels, such as I did this one. She is gifted at creating characters and getting you to emotionally invest in their well being and futures.

As a fifth generation direct descendant of six sets of great great grandparents (between my mother and father) that crossed the plains as Mormon pioneers, I have always had a deep
May 13, 2012 Cornelia rated it really liked it
This historical fiction novel is set in 1856 when Mormon converts from Scotland and England risk their lives to walk 1,300-miles from Iowa City to Zion, the promised land of Salt Lake City pushing handcarts with few supplies, little food, and in a horrible snowstorm, even fording dangerous ice cold rivers. They try to keep their faith and their spirits up but very few survive. This book focuses on four very different women who make this journey.

The book discloses that promises were made that we
May 16, 2012 Rcknoebel3729 rated it it was amazing
A really great novel about the Martin Handcart company. Not overly sentimental (ala 17 Miracles) but not Mormon bashing either. The characters a very real and there are well developed relationships. For the most part, the characters are fictional, but it is all based on well researched facts. I read it in one sitting (but I was on a plane for 8 hours so that helped)
May 21, 2012 Connie rated it did not like it
I have always enjoyed and respected the books that have been written by Sandra Dallas. "True Sisters" is the exception.

I would give this book 3 "D's": Disgusting, Disappointing Degrading.
Linda Hart
May 25, 2012 Linda Hart rated it did not like it
Hugely disappointing. Boring. Degrading. I concur with what one reader said: "historical inaccuracies, and the obvious bias against Mormons in the name of creating a novel. The author ignored all of the uplifting, miraculous moments on the disastrous Martin Handcart trek in favor of a predictable (and historically inaccurate) polygamy plot. She chose to dwell on the heart-breaking moments of the trek, adding some very unlikable characters as the leaders, creating an over-all depressing book."
Kami Reeve
Jun 04, 2012 Kami Reeve rated it it was ok
I have read several previous Sandra Dallas books and have enjoyed them. I am very familiar with the history of the handcart pioneers. I've read several journal accounts. I was hoping this would be faith inspiring, like the journals I have read. It was not. It whined about polygamy. It whined about the leadership of the church. Many accounts talk of the priviledge to get to know God in their trials. I found none of that in this fictional account. Too bad. I feel the author did a disservice to the ...more
Apr 23, 2013 Rcpgpugh rated it did not like it
Hmmm. I am still processing how I feel about this book. My negative thoughts are-the women were portrayed without animation. Just flat faced, opressed women with the inability to think for themselves. The men were portrayed as overbearing, unkind, pompous "leaders" of their families. I realize that men were more domineering in those times, and women more submissive; but this was excessive,and possibly demeaning,to these people who suffered so much for their beliefs. I was also surprised at some ...more
Lori Bond
Jun 09, 2012 Lori Bond rated it did not like it
I had a very hard time reading this book. It was well written as far as a fictional novel goes I suppose. I struggled with the authors point of view on the LDS pioneer women who made the trek across the west to Zion. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints this is not a correct view of the sisters who made this journey. My spirit felt offended for them. I have read journal accounts for one of the families she depicts in her book. The sister laid next to her husband who had ...more
Georgia Herod
Oct 22, 2015 Georgia Herod rated it it was amazing
Based on true events related to the Martin Handcart Company, the last of the handcart groups to make the crossing from Iowa City to Salt Lake City, under the encouragement of Brigham Young, Dallas presents the venture through an omniscient narrator who focuses on the lives of four women—who are seeking the promise of salvation and prosperity in a new land. It turns out to be a most harrowing journey, with disease, deprivation, discouragement and despair, as well as death being their companions w ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Kristi rated it liked it
As I have mentioned before, I am a Mormon. I have read and heard many stories about the Martin Handcart Company. The author added fictional sisters to an actual event. I liked how she was able to keep me interested in her story, even though It is an event I have read and heard so much about. I read this book for a book club. It is not necessarily a book I would have read otherwise. So many things I didn't like. She put thoughts and feelings into her characters that assumed all of the people felt ...more
Jun 19, 2012 Janette rated it it was ok
I know the author really wanted to tell this story, but I was extremely disappointed. For some reason her research into the actual events did not teach her what really happened. She portrays the characters as freaky zealots and crazy polygymous men, she really missed the true spirit of this horrendous episode in western history.
Jul 30, 2012 Chris rated it did not like it
Sandra Dallas at 'her absolute best', as described on the jacket of True Sisters, is a SHAM. She has done her homework and knows the trek, but obviously has a bone to pick with men and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She demeans the church and the priesthood, and distorts testimony, polygamy, and Mormon women.

If you're looking for a 'hate Mormons' novel, read True Sisters. Look elsewhere if you want an accurate portrayal of the disastrous trek taken by the Martin Handcart Co. I'
Aug 20, 2012 Shauna rated it really liked it
Sandra Dallas is one of my favorite historical fiction authors. I was surprised and a little nervous to see that she had a new book based on the Martin Handcart company. I had never read a book about this historical event that wasn't written by a Mormon. I was impressed that most of her information was historically correct. I have to say that I did not like the way she made the leaders and the men in general to be only interested in taking a polygamous wife. Polygamy was a part of life for the e ...more
Oct 12, 2012 Michele rated it liked it
Shelves: books-of-2013
You've got to hand it her, really. It is a tricky subject and to take on something like this is pretty daring, I thought. As someone who was just on this very trail, last summer, I thought I would be super critical of this book. I think she did an admirable job. She tried to explain their suffering as well as their faith.

I learned something: On page 280 I thought I found a typo. It says, "Louisa tried to courtesy, but her wet skirts threw her off." I figured this was wrong, but in the dictionar
Aug 29, 2012 Lynn rated it really liked it
Being a Mormon I am well aquatinted with the pioneer parts of church history. I found myself comparing this book to Gerald Lund's book, The Fire and the Covenant. Both books are excellent, and evoke an array of emotions within me. I cry while reading about the horrific conditions these early saints endured, and I feel guilty for snuggling in my warm bed, while my food cooks in the oven. I enjoyed the story of these women (and their families), and how their lives intertwine. I am impressed that ...more
Christine Rebbert
Sep 05, 2012 Christine Rebbert rated it really liked it
I don't know what made me pick up this book from the "New Fiction" section at the library -- after all, the spine just has the title and a little tiny picture of what appear to be Pioneers -- but am very glad I did! These are not just any pioneers, but the Martin Handcart Company of 1856, making their way across 1300 miles from Iowa City to the Great Salt Lake to share Zion with their Mormon sisters and brothers. I have done other reading about the Handcart treks, both fiction and non- -- Wallac ...more
Ann Lewis
Oct 18, 2012 Ann Lewis rated it it was ok
So last night I finished reading True Sisters by Sandra Dallas. I like Sandra Dallas. I’ve met her personally in Houston at the International Quilt Festival. I’ve enjoyed her books. Fun reads, many have quilt stories in them like the Persian Pickle Club and Alice’s Tulips. When I heard she’d written a book about the Martin Handcart Company, I immediately ordered it. Hardback, full price, well, price. I was excited to read it. I inserted it into my list of books I must read now pile, r ...more
Stacey Starley
Dec 01, 2012 Stacey Starley rated it liked it
Sandra Dallas is an excellent author and I love her Persian Pickle Club and Prayers for Sale. This novel however is definately a work of fiction not truly a historical fiction. I respected her story and kind portrayal of faith from the pioneers. Unfortunately her sources on the decisions by leaders and communications are innaccurate and take away from my general enjoyment of her novel. All of her characters are loosly based off historical figures but she clearly identifies everyone as fictitious ...more
Keilani Ludlow
Dec 29, 2012 Keilani Ludlow rated it liked it
Better than I expected. Any time someone takes on religious history - when they are not of that belief - then something will always be misunderstood, misrepresented, left out, etc. Since my religion is one that is really hammered and derided by people who apparently have nothing better to do with their life than cut down others, I have come to expect that I will not often enjoy our history as written by someone without the belief and faith.

Ok, so... she did a fairly good job. There are little bi
Suzie Fullmer
Mar 22, 2014 Suzie Fullmer rated it did not like it
I have read several books by Sandra Dallas and have loved each one. She is a gifted writer who focuses on women living in the West. They are beautiful stories with a poignant moral woven within each narration. My favorite is still Prayers for Sale.

That's why it pains me to say that I hated this book. The author's obvious negative views toward mormonism took the center stage of this novel. She was not able to keep her own anti-mormon views in check. Between her failure to write complex, interesti
Book Concierge
From the book jacket In 1856, Mormon converts, encouraged by Brigham Young himself, and outfitted with two-wheeled handcarts, set out on foot from Iowa City to Salt Lake City, the promised land. The Martin Handcart Company … is the last (of five groups) to leave on this 1,300-mile journey. Earlier companies arrive successfully in Salt Lake City, but for the Martin Company the trip proves disastrous.

My reactions
Based on a true episode in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Sai
Nov 15, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
Combined some of my favorite concepts: western migration, survival under difficult circumstances, historical fiction, polygamy, and Mormons. Reminded me of One Thousand White Women meets Sister Wives in the blend of history and culture.
What a fascinating book about a little known event in American History. In 1856 LDS converts in the British Isles left their homes to move to SLC, Utah. Most of them were hard pressed factory workers in poor health looking for a better life.

They journeyed across the ocean and travelled by train to Iowa City where the final push of their journey commenced. They were provided with 2 wheeled hand carts to travel overland 1,500 miles to Utah and the promised land. Unfortunately those hand carts were
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Seminole County P...: True Sisters by Sandra Dallas 2 7 Jun 26, 2013 10:45AM  
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Award-winning author SANDRA DALLAS was dubbed “a quintessential American voice” by Jane Smiley, in Vogue Magazine. Sandra’s novels with their themes of loyalty, friendship, and human dignity have been translated into a dozen foreign languages and have been optioned for films.

A journalism graduate of the University of Denver, Sandra began her writing career as a reporter with Business Week. A staff
More about Sandra Dallas...

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