Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: Belonging to Heaven

Belonging to Heaven by Gale Sears is like a gentle breeze on a summer's day---something to savor.  It tells of courage, sacrifice, and dedication of George Q. Cannon, the first LDS missionary there, and Jonathan Napela, a convert to the church who has to make some very big decisions in his life.  The last third of the book is so inspiring and touching, you'll want to have a handkerchief nearby.

The book had a slow-moving style to it that made it something for me to look forward to at the end of the day.  It immersed me in the history and culture of the Hawaiian people.  As most of you know, I won a five night stay at a Hawaiian vacation getaway, but because of circumstances I wasn't able to go and have been feeling down about it.  I didn't want to read this book when I found out the subject matter because I thought it might be too depressing with what happened with my Hawaii trip.  I found it actually helped a little because it made me feel like I was almost there eating poi and enjoying the incredible scenery.  The author really brought to life some memorable characters as well that rounded out the experience. (But someday, Hawaii, you and I will meet.)  I loved that this story was based on real people and that the story was so poignant.  It's one that I'll think about for a long time to come.

Here's the back copy:

Descended from the Hawaiian royal line, Jonathan Napela became one of the first—and most influential—converts to the Church in Hawaii. A man of intelligence, social status, and wealth, he used his considerable position to further the gospel in his native land. He developed a lifelong bond of brotherhood with Elder George Q. Cannon, helping to translate the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian and establish a gathering place for the Hawaiian saints in Laie, Oahu. But when his beloved wife, Kitty, was stricken with leprosy, Jonathan made the defining decision of his life. He would leave his life of privilege to become her caretaker and spend the rest of his life on Molokai, the island of lepers. To those who suffered similar heartbreak and banishment, Jonathan's self-sacrifice became their lifeline. Based on true story, this is an extraordinary novel of a man who chose love in the face of death.


Debra Erfert said...

The book sounds like a tear-jerker, that's for sure. But you not being able to take a vacation to Hawaii that you won? That totally breaks my heart! Someday I'd like to go there, too. Maybe we can rent a beach house together. Who knows...

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Debra, that was so hard to swallow. :( I'd love to meet you in person. Someday, right?