The Gates of Eden is an unusual and beautiful novel. The author has pulled off a literary feat, giving us a coming-of-age story, a harrowing account of immigration in 19th-century America, an exploration of religious faith and motivation, a chilling and suspenseful depiction of conditions that can lead to the unspeakable in human behavior, all set in a time that is meticulously researched. Such a rich reading experience, from a gifted and sensitive writer, a crafter of memorable characters and the driver of this unstoppable locomotive of a story! This should be next on your reading list and a perfect choice for book groups. It’s sure to stir up animated discussion.
— Jodi Kilcup
The Gates of Eden is can’t-put-it-down stuff. The story is compelling and the writing is truly beautiful. Written in a clear style, it nevertheless is rich in descriptive imagery and poetic moments of wisdom.
— Daniel Colbert
Josie is only sixteen when extreme poverty and a chance at a better life in America drive her into the open arms of the Mormon Church and away from her native England. This well-researched, beautifully written historical novel tells a harrowing tale, based on true events, of a naive young woman lured into the often-violent polygamous society in Utah in the mid-1800s and the resilience she needs to take back her life. Don’t miss this fine book.
— Rosi Hollinbeck, San Francisco Book Review
The author’s stunning imagery and command of Mormon history lend power to a gripping story. I was mesmerized.
— Jane Parnell, author, Off Trail: Finding My Way Home in the Colorado Rockies
The Gates of Eden is one of those rare books that I finish reading with regret—as I turned the last page, I was sad to say goodbye to Josephine and her world, and I wanted to know more about what happened to her in the next stage of her life, once I had seen her safely (more or less!) to the end of the story. The thorough research and historical detail in the writing give the book depth, and the fact that this story is based on the author’s own family history makes it all the more compelling to me.
— Sally Yates
What is the cost of faith? And what would you risk, and give up, to secure a better life for yourself and your children? Drawing on experiences recounted by her great-great-grandmother, along with first-hand accounts painstakingly recorded by 19th century Mormon pioneers, writer Nadene LeCheminant crafts a story of naïve hope and heartbreak; of utter despair and resilience. Her novel tells the story of Josephine, a teenage immigrant from England, who embarks on a torturous journey across America’s western plains to the Utah Territory. Promised a better life, she becomes entrapped in a polygamous marriage and her allegiance to a new-found faith is shattered by personal violation and unspeakable violence. LeCheminant deftly weaves a tale of a peculiar sliver of history; yet a paradoxical story repeated again and again, in a myriad of ways, in the human experience: Saints and sinners, sometimes in the same person, inflamed by racism and driven to inflict unthinkable tragedy, paralleled by stories of extraordinary heroism, perseverance and compassion.
— Mary-Ann Muffoletto
I love being a book blogger. It brings wonderful novels into my life that otherwise I’d probably never even come across, let alone read. One such book is the absolutely amazing The Gates of Eden, a book based on true events and inspired by the author’s own family history, a book I devoured. I lost myself in the pages. The non-existent word “unputdownable” is the only way to describe this awesome book. What really made this special for me is the ease with which the author creates a credible world that is so easy to slide into and so utterly believable.
— Janet Lambert, BeadyJansBooks.Blogspot.com
Wow! I could not put the book down.
— Julie DeMarco
This is one of those books that is difficult to put down and leaves you wanting more. I was caught up in the history, the characters, the religious philosophy, and the rich descriptions. LeCheminant’s story is all the more meaningful because it’s based on her great-great-grandmother‘s harrowing travels with the first Mormon handcart brigade and the early settlement of southern Utah. I’m going to use this as my book club’s reading selection … the discussion could go on all night!
— Sue Sanborn