Broken Lance — Michele Sorensen

The first thing I do when I start a new book is to read the author page. I like to know something about the author before I read their work, to know who I’m talking to, as it were. Michele Sorensen’s author page presented a sad fact: she passed away from cancer in 1995. Her husband had this novel published after her death, a fitting tribute to his talented wife. The dedication page reads simply: In Memoriam.

“Broken Lance” is the story of Callie McCracken, a refined Englishwoman who has converted to the Mormon faith and is immigrating to Utah to be with the Saints. While crossing the wild plains of Wyoming, her wagon train is attacked by Indians. Death and carnage are everywhere. Callie manages to save her small children by hiding with them in a secret panel underneath their wagon. Helpless, she listens as the battle rages on outside, knowing that her husband is out in the range of flying ammunition.

At last the sounds of the battle fade away, and Callie slips out of her hiding place. The sight was horrible, but most horrible was the sight of her husband, dead. She digs him a grave, and then focuses on what must be done next. She must bring her children to the Salt Lake Valley.

She sets off into the wilderness, carrying only the barest of necessities. Her children miss their father, but they know that their only chance of survival is to place their trust in their mother.

It’s impossible for me to describe the depth of this woman’s faith and courage. Together she and her children faced starvation, ravening animals, and the most harsh trail conditions. She fought a wolf to protect her family. Her strength amazed me, her determination inspired me. This is simply one of the best LDS fiction novels I’ve read to date, and I encourage you to look for a copy.

(This book was published in 1997 by Deseret Book)