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Upon Destiny's Song

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  69 reviews
"Upon Destiny’s Song" is a remarkable true story about sacrifice, courage and love. Ane Marie Madsen was only ten-years-old when she immigrated to Utah with her family. She was numbered in the ill-fated Willie Handcart Company of 1856, which saw the deaths of almost a third of the company when winter storms hit Wyoming. After settling in Utah, Ane Marie’s faith is tested o ...more
Paperback, First, 324 pages
Published June 1st 2013 by Empath Media LLC
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Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
***4.5 Stars***

This is a beautiful story. The story is basically two stories in one. Mike Ericksen is learning about his ancestors who traveled from Denmark and eventually were a part of the Willie Handcart Company.

The Martin and Willie Handcart Companies were both subject to extreme conditions. Many died on the journey to the Salt Lake Valley. Their stories have always been one of faith, endurance, and courage.

I enjoyed reading about Mike Ericksen's journey. He related events in his life that l
Desiree reilly
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fist received the book as e book no cover for honest opinion of mine.

Do you remember Joseph Smith journey or the Joseph Smith trail were he took a number of people across the from New York to Salt lake city Utah on the deal of riches and then they would be reward for there time ,The deal was is your husband died as the trip you were to marry and and usually they married Joseph and then they have more than one wife and he would support the family's,

So Joseph sent the missionary out all over the w
Divya Mahajan
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
An amazing story of faith, perseverance, love and family ties and above all a story of courage against all odds. The story through a young man eyes traces the story of his ancestors' journey from Denmark to Salt lake Utah with a hundreds of mormons travelling from East Coast US to Salt Lake for the promised land (where there would be no persecution by other christians or raids by Indians ) with the ill fated Willie Handcart Company as they walk through severe cold frost bite illness starvation a ...more
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: goodreads-win
Goodreads win. Will read and review once received.

I think this was a favorite I have read from the past few weeks. The story was inspiring and something to look up too. The way the author wrote made me feel an emotional attachment to the ancestors in this book that are not even mine. This was one of those books that was hard to put down. i wanted to know what woulr happen at the end, but at the same time I didn't want the book to end. A good read.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Here we follow two separate timelines; the first in 1850s and ten year old Ane Marie Madsen immigrates to the US from Denmark with her family. Whilst travelling to Utah, they become part of the Willie Handcart Company, and have to battle extreme weather and disease in order to reach their new home. The other timeline is set in (roughly) present day, with Mike attempting to research his ancestors.
This book is a non-fiction that reads as fiction. Ericksen has included dialogue, as well incredibly
Theodora Chimonez
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book had me all up in my feelings. I was mad, I was sad, I was thankful, and I felt broken.

I cannot even begin to imagine what the pioneers actually went through.

The book takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it is such a great read.

Thank you for sharing some of your history with us, Mike. It's amazing how interconnected we all really are, right Sage?

I'll recommend this book to people who do not look for the usual , and to people who can read without judgment of the c
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Upon Destiny's Song is an informative and powerful read about the impact of immigrants on their descendants. As someone that enjoys historical fiction, this book is well researched which allows it to reconstruct the image of the lives of pioneers while simultaneously making their journey relevant to the present. This novel is well thought out, as the ideas connect as you read through it, there just isn't a consistent pattern of the switch between the years covered in it. This didn't make it diff ...more
Frederick Rockman
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Waves crashing, people swaying back and forth, filthy, cramped conditions, sailing hundreds of miles, hoping for a new way of life,”Upon Destiny’s Song”, written by Sage Steadman is the story of Ole Lykke Madsen and his family travelling on the ship known as the Thornton from Denmark to the land of hope, America. If that weren’t bad enough, the Danish immigrants soon discover that they must traverse thousands of miles on foot across this new foreign land in order to reach the place they call Zi ...more
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks book tasters and authors for providing a digi copy in exchange for my review:

This story definitely makes you "feel all the feels" as people put it today. I didn't put that as a pro or a con because it's I guess just something to be aware of..especially if you don't like books that can make your eyes watery. Karen was the most relatable for me so I was sad I saw very little of her. She didn't seem to be as gullible as the rest. I personally believe that although she was baptized, she did
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
What. A. Book.

I must say it was definitely not what I expected. I prefer fictional novels so this was a new experience for me. Sage and Mike really reeled me in with this. I thought I would be bored with a documentary or biography sort of book but ythat wasn't the case at all!

Upon Destiny's Song is a book of faith, and trials, perseverance and determination, joy and sadness, humor and's a joutney through decades of learning, gratitude, experiencing it all through the pioneers's e
Roy Udeh-Ubaka
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
"All is not lost, Ane." He scarcely believed his own words, but he wanted to have hope. "We are all as well as we can be, considering. We are still here. We have each other."

There is a sense of sadness layered with joy that engulfs you when you finish this book. It stays with you, lays itself at the base of your heart and almost leaves you gasping. This is a tender story of courage, of hope, of family, loss, and the quest for knowledge of one’s ancestral lineage.

I remember starting this book th
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loved-it
**4.5: highly recommended**

Written by Mike Ericksen and Sage Steadman, Upon destiny's song is what I call a great book:
-it teaches you something;
-it makes you feel;
-it's well-written;
-it talks about love, faith, sacrifice, desperation, life;
-it's about the past and the present;
-it's everything and more.
Turning page after page, you can't help but get enraptured by the courage, the love and the faith of Ole Madsen, his family and the other Mormons. Even though they had to leave Denmark to go to Am
Tosin Olanrewaju
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Upon destiny’s song is a journey of hope and self-discovery of an entire lineage. The decision and sacrifice of a man and his family to reach for their ultimate dream ‘ZION’.
Each generation had their share of troubles but withstood all, birth with an ingrained faith, unconditional love to one another.
Sage Steadman has written such an excellent and enlightening tale. It is quite obvious, the research and hard work put in to make vivid historic events. The words portray explicitly, reflections of
Leonardo Vazquez
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Everything is connected and I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them,
and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection”.

With this words the author, Mike Ericksen finishes the last chapter of his book. He is the fifth generation of survivors of the Willie Handcart Company led by James G. Willie. One of the companies of Mormon immigrants that arrived in to the United States to settle in what today i
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Upon Destiny’s Song- A book on Sacrifice, Love, and Courage.

This remarkable book is a story of families who come together to cross an ocean and who embark on an incredible journey of life.

The Ole Madsen family is strong, loving and courageous. Their mettle is laud worthy and their golden hearts touch your heart. Ane Marie Madsen was only ten-years-old when she immigrated to Utah with her family. She was numbered in the ill-fated Willie Handcart Company of 1856, which saw the deaths of almost a
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I've been putting off this review, and actually dreading it, which is a little stupid, but it is what it is.
I won this book in a giveaway. I was super-excited. It was perfect timing, and it sounded like it was going to be spectacular.
I really, really wanted to love this book. It has a beautiful cover, a great title, and even came with a music CD. The music is OK, not anything more. The story lines were mostly good. Some of the writing was almost great. Most of the writing wasn't, and I guess I j
Biswanath Banerjee
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family
The heat is scorching- the ground turns as hot as a bed of burning charcoal.
They are on a quest of their dream- to a land where there will be peace for them- wealth for them-happiness for them!
They are on their foot-they had to cover an average of ten to twelve miles on foot-that too carrying their own belongings in handcarts.
Every bone –every muscle-every joint in their bodies are rebelling against further movement.
It is one step forward-one step closer to their dreams.
Flies, gnats, mosquitoes-
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a sad but touching true story about a historical real life journey where the author Mike Ericksen takes us back in time to the 1800s, where he researches and shares his ancestry where Ole and Ane Marie Madson, whose story has been fictionalized for the purpose of this book, but their experiences are real. The family leave their native home of Denmark, painfully leaving behind their eldest daughter, to obey commandment from Mormon prophecy to gather in Zion, United States. The revelation ...more
Debbie Viscosi
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Settling the country took the efforts of strong and determined men, women, and children. In the book Upon Destiny’s Song, the early settlement of Utah by members of the Latter Day Saints is covered in striking detail. Missionaries visited European countries to talk with people that were open to a new form of religion. The church paid for people to move to America and settle in their communities.

Those who prepared to make the trek didn't understand the difficulties that they were facing. There w
Teriel Donovan
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sacrifice, Love, and Courage.

These are the things that the Willie and Martin Handcart company travelers had!

This book is a REMARKABLE telling of one family joining one group that came across one ocean and embarked on one incredible journey.

Your heart will be touched as you read the encounter of the Ole Madsen family.

They "answered the call of the early leaders" to gather to Zion.

A place far away from their homeland of Denmark.

At the time the Saints were crossing the plains with only handcarts as
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
After reading the description of this book it fulfilled my expectations and more.
The story is based on a true story depicting the lives of what becomes the Madsen family,their decision to emmigrate from Denmark to America and their harrowing journey. In summer 1856, the Willie Handcart company made its way from Iowa City, Iowa, or Florence, Nebraska, to the Salt Lake Valley, however, becoming stranded in early, monstrous snowstorms in Wyoming. The story of the suffering of this company and of th
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was beautifully written and got me excited about digging into my own family history. I want to know more about where I came from and the sacrifices that were made so that I could have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I love how he connected the past with the present and the future and how we can continue to carry this same legacy on to future generations. We won’t have to walk thousands of miles like the pioneers but we will have our own struggles. Will we have the same unwaverin ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mike Ericksen and Sage Steadman have written this historical fiction telling about the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies as they headed to "Zion." The story begins with a family in Denmark who learned of the Mormon faith, only to be harassed and harmed for it in their homeland. They began the journey first to the United States and, later, to Zion which was in Utah Territory.
The travelers ages were from under a year to older folks. All faced many trials. Oxcarts were too heavy to climb mount
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

“Each day we live, we write a page
A record all our own
For God to keep or erase
According to the seeds we have sown.
For what you are, is God’s gift to you.
And what you take back to Him is your 
Gift to God.”


I knew in that moment that everything happens for a reason, but we can’t always know the reason when the journey begins. Some things we can only understand at the end of our journey. Everything is
Syeda Faryal Bukhari
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks book tasters and authors for providing a digital copy in exchange for my review:
It is such a wonderfully composed script that it takes readers to setting of the novel. Struggle of people is so emotional and inspiring that it connects readers with characters and develop a bond in heart. Wonderfully interwoven plot having two stories.

Point to note is, it takes time to get you fully involved in this book but once you get into the book this arouses a mixture of feelings; broken, sadness, an
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is novel is full of pleasant surprises. We are taken through the details of the Danish Madsen family's immigration to America. One of the things that I absolutely loved is how Mike Ericksen and Sage Steadman captured the spirit of those voyagers who, in many cases, only had one another to live for along with the promises of Zion from their newfound religion. Each character has a distinct voice and personality that adds to the familiarity of sibling life. I love how strong each of them was a ...more
Rachel Nefeke
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How much time do we spend by looking back to our past? How many stories do we pretend not to listen for the sake of our sanity?
Upon Destiny's Song was disturbing true in more aspects than it looks like. An author made a huge effort to put compiling scribbles, tidbits of interviews or small pieces of the past into colourful mosaic of the story about so-called "common Danish family" is unbelievable. It's difficult to pass it without being thankful. The story left me exposed to emotions I didn't kn
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Once, long ago, I visited the valley and hills that these two companies had walked. I had shoes, modern technology, and it was summer. One of my favorite books is one that was written by another author who wrote about the trek and the some fictional families making the trek to Zion. Upon Destiny's Song gave me another perspective. Fortunately, this had a more personal feel, as it was the story of a family. Not only did we get to read about their experience, we got to read about the generations a ...more
Nessel Jane Paladin
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Always thankful for the Goodreads giving me this opportunity to read the books that attract me, especially with a bizarre title that at the end an unpredictable story. Anyway, this book by Sage Steadman is very inspiring. as a reader, I really based on the title of the book then I am expecting that have a connection but a little twist and this book exceeded my expectation. it's very inspiring, a story that has a connection, in reality, teaches us that there is always hope if we going to put fait ...more
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Mike Ericksen has been a devout student of the trail of the handcart pioneers since learning of his family’s trek from Denmark to Utah in 1856. In the past 10 years he has spoken in many programs and firesides across the country and has produced films and music related to the stories and events of the pioneers. The documentary Walking in Obedience produced by Ericksen in conjunction with Groberg F ...more

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“I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection.
For me, I’m going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others. This is my choice.”
“The boy’s skeletal frame was now all that remained of him, and through his flesh could be seen the steady beat of his indomitable heart.” 10 likes
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