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True Sisters

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  2,236 ratings  ·  568 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,
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by St. Martin's Press (first published April 1st 2012)
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Ann Lewis
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, Amazon.com price. I was excited to read it. I inserted it into my list of books I must read now pile, r ...more
Michele
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
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Lori Bond
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
Lynn
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
Rcpgpugh
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
Jennie
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
Linda Hart
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."
Suzie Fullmer
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
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Maryann
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Book Concierge
From the book jacket In1856, Mormon converts, encouraged by Brigham Young himself, and outfitted with two-wheeled handcarts, set out on foot from Iowa City to Sal 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 Saint
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Christine Rebbert
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
Misfit
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...

Righto.

True Sisters is based on the Martin Handcart Company, the last group to make the trek i
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Georgia Herod
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
Kami Reeve
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
Jessica McCann
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
Melanie
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
Dorine
True Sisters by Sandra DallasIf you love a historical novel that expresses the true spirit of the pioneer woman, with an underlying theme of unconditional faith, you will love this novel. Hardships are faced with often emotional results, so expect to be moved by these women's stories as they travel thirteen hundred miles by foot with their families to their Promised Land.

I've read many historical novels over the years, but I have never experienced one so well suited to the American pioneer woman's struggles. This book conc
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Cornelia
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
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Stacey Starley
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
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
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Mary

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
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Kristi
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
Chris
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'
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Carly
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.
Emma
Disappointed. The whole time I read this book, I felt unsettled with how it was portrayed. From the first chapter I was bothered with Dallas's biased account of Mormon men and Mormon leaders. Several of the men were portrayed as self-righteous and lustful zealots that didn't appreciate their wives and damned everyone to hell if they weren't in complete agreement with the handcart leaders. There was an inaccurate focus on polygamy. Several of the characters were undeveloped and even after reading ...more
Janette
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.
Connie
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.
Magpie67
Well, I was angry most of the time. While I didn't hate the book, I can't say I loved it either. I'm not one for persecuting those who choose to follow another religion and so I feel the early Mormons were treated unfairly by some. I'm not at all a fan of man made rules that follow most religions either and so when these people were chastised for wanting to winter either in Florence or at the Fort, I wanted to reach in and slap a few men who thought they were so Godly to predict their lives and ...more
Wendy Hines
Sandra Dallas is the queen of storytelling and her newest work, True Sisters, is no exception. True Sisters follows the Martin Handcart Company. Brigham Young encouraged all of his followers to come to the Zion, a place in Salt Lake City, Utah where they will settle. The perfect way for the Mormon's to travel the thirteen hundred plus miles is by walking, using a handcart to carry their essentials.

Many Latter Day Saints crossed oceans to go to the promised land, and they converged to travel toge
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Katharine
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. If I hadn't, I probably wouldn't have read this book, just because it doesn't follow my usual teen-beach read genre. That said, I was a little leery to start this book.

In the end, I'm glad I read it. The book profiles the journey of several "sisters" in a clan (a community in the early Mormon religion) as they travel across the west with their hand carts. The idea itself is very interesting. Few people actually know how the Mormon religion spread its root
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Seminole County P...: True Sisters by Sandra Dallas 2 5 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
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More about Sandra Dallas...
Prayers for Sale The Persian Pickle Club Tallgrass The Diary of Mattie Spenser Alice's Tulips

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