In the LDS historical fiction novel “Autumn Sky,” author Gale Sears brings us the story of Alaina Lund, a young woman who has grown up on a farm. Her father owns beautiful orchards full of apples, and Alaina loves nothing better than to go out and work at her father’s side, caring for the apples and bringing them to full harvest. She has a knack with the orchard that few others possess, and her father has taken great pride in the help his daughter is to him.
But Alaina is eighteen, and her mother believes it’s time she come in from the orchards and learn how to keep house. After all, a woman’s place is not outside, but in the home—cleaning, cooking, sewing—all the things Alaina is terrible at. Her younger sister Eleanor is the born homemaker, but Alaina just can’t see herself spending the rest of her life over a stove.
When Nephi Erickson comes to town and gets a job on the Lund’s farm, Alaina hates him before she even meets him. He’s going to take her place in the orchard, and she would hate anyone who usurped her place. But when he starts talking to Mr. Lund about a new religion, and about angels and gold plates, Alaina is even further angered. How dare this stranger waltz in and not only take her place at her father’s side, but turn him away from their church with such false teachings?
When Mr. Lund dies from a heart attack, he tells his wife to leave the farm to Alaina. He knows she can run it better than anyone. But her mother’s heart will not be softened, and she says she’ll only give the farm to Alaina’s husband, when Alaina marries. Given a new challenge, Alaina sets out to find the man who will make a good steward of the orchard, and her sights land on Nephi. She doesn’t like him, not in the slightest, but he cares for the trees and he respects her hand with them. But with a few twists and turns, things do not go as Alaina had planned.
I enjoyed this book. The characters were believable and I found the plot intriguing. I was a little confused at times with the dream sequences which are frequent—I found myself going back to catch what was real and what was just a dream. Notwithstanding, I recommend this book for a good afternoon read.
(This book was published in 2004 by Covenant.)