Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Saints” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,344 Ratings  ·  270 Reviews
When ten-year-old Dinah Kirkham saw her father leave their Manchester home in the middle of the night, she basked when he would be back. "Soon," he replied. But he never came back. On that night in 1829, John Kirkham laid the foundation of his daughter's certainty that the only person Dinah could ever really trust was herself.
From that day forward, Dinah worked to support
Paperback, 713 pages
Published October 15th 1993 by Tor Books (first published 1984)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Saints, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Saints

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
James M. Madsen, M.D.
I read this book when it was called "A Woman of Destiny." I've read that it was pushed then as a romance novel, but its scope is far greater than that. I was raised a Mormon and have been very interested in Mormon history, theology, and sociology. I can understand how many LDS/CJC members would feel threatened by Card's portrayals, but I personally found them very humanizing and revealing of the everyday reality of life in a new religious community. A warning: One of my friends read this at my r ...more
Jun 04, 2008 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mormon history buffs, people who think Brigham Young was good at spelling
"Saints" is an interesting novel by sci-fi author Orson Scott Card. But this book isn't sci-fi at all, it is pure historical fiction.

The book is set in the Nauvoo era of LDS Church history. We meet (fictional) Dinah Kirkham in industrial England, where a series of tragic events leads her to Mormonism and emigration to Nauvoo. There, she encounters figures from Church history, and becomes involved with the religious developments of that time. Namely, polygamy.

"Saints" is vividly written, and cer
May 06, 2010 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In one of Orson Scott Card's essays I read several years ago, he mentioned that he got a lot of flak for this book. People didn't like how he wrote about Joseph Smith--his human-ness as well as his Prophet-ness. They didn't like seeing Emma as anything other than an "elect lady" or a apostate villain. Who would presume to speculate on how the Prophet spoke to his wife in bed? Orson Scott Card, that's who. Naturally, I had to read this book.

I found it at in the Chicago library system and raced th
Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside)
The fact that I was raised in an LDS family probably has something to do with my liking for this book, although I am not a religious person anymore. However, Saints is more than just "Mormon fiction" or even "religious fiction." It's really good historical fiction, and if you're a fan of the genre you owe it to yourself to read this book.

It was written early in Card's career, before he began (in my opinion) phoning it in. Saints comes from the same inspired, energetic, ultra-creative Orson Scott
Spider the Doof Warrior
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 06, 2008 Wendy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-lds
I was truly offended by this book. I have enjoyed other books, by Orson Scott Card, but I found "Saints" (also known as "A Woman of Destiny") to be crude, vile and misleading. His portrayal of historical events is very distorted and he takes a sacred thing and turns it into a way to satisfy men and women's lusts.

The first half of the book tells the of Dinah Kirkman growing up in England and is VERY depressing. I continued to read the book with the hope that it would get better. It didn't! The s
Mar 10, 2008 Robyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting take on the Early Saints historical fiction. In most historical novels about the early Church, the main characters are all fictitious. In Card's novel, the main family is ficticious, however, many of the Church leaders, including Brigham Young and Joseph Smith play vital roles. It is interesting to see what these people may have been thinking, and he covers polygamy pretty deeply which most authors do not dare to tread. It is hard to know, sometimes, what is an actualy eve ...more
Nola Redd
Dec 04, 2008 Nola Redd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: latter-day saints
Recommended to Nola by: Card
In all honesty, I didn't want to like Orson Scott Card's novel, "Saints", when I picked it up this time. I had read it twice before, and it bugged me both of those times, so I didn't expect anything to be different. But it has been close to a decade since I last read it, and I am a big fan of Card, so I thought I'd give it another shot. And while I can't say I particularly liked it, it had some redeeming values that I had overlooked in the past.

As a Latter-day Saint (or Mormon), I have been on
May 18, 2011 DaNette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Jane
Jul 16, 2010 Mary Jane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hated this book. I really like Orson Scott Card as an author. I actually really enjoyed the first part of this book. I don't particularly enjoy historical fiction, but I took this book on, because it was based on the life of Eliza R. Snow. She was an amazing woman. When it got into polygamy, I didn't want to keep reading. I finished the book to have closure, but it really didn't get any better. As a conservative feminist, I really struggle with polygamy. I felt like the book was a lot about in ...more
I didn't realize this was a book dealing with Mormonism when I scooped it up at the library. I almost took it back, but going to the library with 2 kids under 4 is no fun, so I decided to make the best of it. I really enjoyed the first half of the book (before the family became Mormons and moved to the new world). While the rest was historically interesting, I never could get into it. It did inspire me to know more about Joseph Smith (there is a huge Mormon church being built in our neighborhood ...more
Samantha97 Stowell
Sorry but I had a huge issue with the main character after she joins the Mormon church and leaves her family (husband and children) for her faith. All credibility was lost at that point because lets just face it anyone who thinks that's ok or condones such behavior must be off their nut.
Aug 20, 2008 Margaret rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was a bit depressing and I think Card took too many liberties in describing her polygamous marriage.
Feb 06, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very thick book (800 pages or so), but I loved it. The hardback book is the version that I read (not the one pictured above) and I think that's the best because you have a big essay at the end by Card that explains the story behind writing the book.

I have to confess that I had my husband start reading it and he was bothered by the use of swear words. To me the "colorful" words and some mature situations that were described (tastefully) I compare to looking at a classic painting with a nude w
Dec 28, 2009 Hamster rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book demanded a lot from me but, boy did it deliver.
It's definitely not a book you'd want to read for Family Home Evening. It portrays the early Mormon pioneers and church leaders as humans with passions and weaknesses. To faithful members of the church, this may seem jarring and at times even blasphemous.
Although there are a few things I would've done differently had I been editing the book, I felt on the whole it was tastefully done. It made the characters real to me and helped me un
Apr 11, 2008 Andra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't recommend this book. Besides thematic issues I have with it, the writing is jut not that impressive. The first part reads kind of like Sinclair's The Jungle--lots of gruesome details to catch your attention (I cried for the first 60 pages.) The rest reads like a trashy romance novel with a bit of religion added in.

The main theme of the book is how the main character, Dinah deals with polygamy, especially the sexual aspect. I honestly can't say I've studied Joseph Smith history well enou
Mar 20, 2008 Dacia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone above 16
I found this book, falling apart, at the back of a privately owned used book store located just off of the courthouse square in downtown Seguin. The title was "A Woman of Destiny", the cover was bent and worn, and several of the middle pages were loose. However, this was before I'd discovered the wonders of used books on and so I was collecting every Card book I could find by way of - if I saw it, and I didn't own it, I bought it. I had no idea what I'd found...

It took me quite a long
Feb 03, 2011 Tami rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First off, I love Orson Scott Card's column in Mormon Times. I also loved "Enders Game" but "Saints" was a huge dissapointment. I really enjoy historical fiction which is the premise of this book concerning the lives of several prominant and not so prominant early Mormons. Dealing mostly with the polygamy issue.
I've never read a Harlequin Romance but I think this book would fit in that category. YUK. A soap opera in the 1800's. I really don't care nor want to know about the bedroom scene over
Doug Cannon
Feb 13, 2008 Doug Cannon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't recommend this book to anyone. I didn't hate it, per se, I just don't think it really contains enough meaningful writing to warrant reading it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Card's methods of helping you to really understand a character and get inside their mind. However, certain characters in the book are real people, and although Card is an avid historian, he quite likely used a little too much artistic license in his portrayal of certain characters and specifically conversations, situations, ev
Apr 24, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those having a good day with polygamy issues!
Recommended to Erin by: Lisa
OH MY GOODNESS! As usual it is hard to tell if a woman that would leave her children for the LDS is church is extremely faithful or just plain crazy. I loved this book, but was also really bothered at times, that is why it gets 4 instead of 5 stars. I don't think reading Escape by Carolyn Jessop right before this was helpful. The whole polygamy thing gets us all, but while at times I've chosen to ignore it, I think it is really powerful to read a story, even if fictional about the women that end ...more
Jan 02, 2009 lysa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can I just say....OH MY TOAST!!! This book was incredible. I usually shy away from Mormon fiction... I don't appreciate the false integrity of the characters. Sorry, but usually it's just not realistic. (Remember, I said usually.) But, in Card's "Saints" the characters were very real. A wonderful book tackling polygamy and all the feeling involved. One caution, the book is fiction. The main character didn't live and her diary isn't real. Joseph Smith is portrayed as a man with faults, as well as ...more
May 13, 2008 Aroura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a book I would recommend to just anyone, but it is one of my favorites! I used to get sick at just the mention of polygamy before reading this book. And while I'm not saying I would actually be able to live it now, I'm more at peace with it being in the LDS history. Card did paint the first two prophets pretty rough around the edges, but I didn't really have any problems with it. It made them more real to me. If you think you could go through the literal hell they did and not have some feeli ...more
Marcus Vinicius Medeiros
Let me star by saind that Im not a mormom, and the only reason that I read these book is that its written by Orson Scott Card. He is a master of science fiction, and never have disappointed me. Ive even liked his biblical fiction, and dont care about the political controversies that alienate some readers. Therefore, Saints is a good book, maybe too long, but easy to follow and powerful in the characterizations. I found interesting to read about a different culture and religion, and the poligamy ...more
Sep 09, 2009 Alisha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not what I was expecting. I think this is the first OSC book I've ever been truly disappointed in. I didn't even read the whole thing, just skimmed through, until I realized that the book IS about the early LDS saints, but it is almost entirely about polygamy in the early years of the church--told from a fictional viewpoint. Call me narrow-minded, but I just think some things are better left alone. I don't think this book does justice to the prophet Joseph, the early saints or members of the chu ...more
Feb 18, 2015 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most books about early Mormon women give the same perspective: life was sometimes hard but we had faith and it made the hardships disappear. The Mormon women unquestioningly followed their leaders and husbands, without any doubts and without any questions. They knew they were strong and capable but they did what they were told.

Orson Scott Card dared to tell a different tale in this book. Dinah was a strong woman who grew up in a time and place (early 19th century London) where women weren't enco
Sep 03, 2009 Vivian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: refuse-to-finish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Grant
Jan 31, 2008 Michelle Grant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished this book today. If you enjoy historical ficiton this book is a great read. A warning though, the main characters are all fictional even though they interact with some of the founders of the church of latter day saints. I am not Mormon, but I still enjoyed this fictionalized account of the early days of the church. The author is a devout mormon, but manages to make the story interesting with out sermonizing.
Apr 18, 2009 Kristen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
same complaints as with his Rebekah book....I didn't like the way he portrayed Joseph Smith and the plural wife thing. Weird. The story about the girl sacrificing to join the church was touching, but he took too many liberties with Joseph's character. I prefer the historical fiction books that keep the real characters out of the main spotlight so that they pretty much stick to recorded sermons, etc.
Jan 23, 2008 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a long time ago and really enjoyed the book. I have been thinking about reading it again and wonder if I would still like it. I don't remember being offended by Card's portrayal of the early Saints like some other reviewers were. Keep in mind this is a fictional account of one woman's conversion to the LDS church. The story is of an amazing woman who gives up everything for her faith.
Feb 05, 2009 Michele rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Orson Scott Card is a literary genius. I was amazed at how he got me thinking at different levels. I really enjoyed the first half of this book immensely. Once he started into the Prophet's intimate side of life, it really went downhill for me. It made me uncomfortable and I felt the book lost some of it's perspective. I enjoyed the book but am not sure I would recommend it too much.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young
  • The Coming of the Lord
  • The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints
  • Mormon America
  • Behold Your Queen
  • The Burning Within
  • The Enoch Letters
  • Prelude to Glory, Vol. 7: The Impending Storm
  • The Giant Joshua
  • Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
  • Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show
  • One More River to Cross
  • Discourses of Brigham Young: Second President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • Isaiah for Airheads
  • Seasons of the Heart
  • Drawing On The Powers Of Heaven
Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th
More about Orson Scott Card...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »