Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Rosefields of Zion
by Marilyn Brown

March 2014 BookLook column for Serve Daily Newspaper

Writing a book review column just once a month shouldn’t be a challenge for someone who reads as much as I do. My problem is I’m too busy reading to write reviews. I love to read because it makes me happy. Writing doesn’t cause that same blissful state – it feels too much like work. However, reviews are helpful to me when I choose a book so hopefully this BookLook column will help you when you are looking for some happy reading time.

I recently opened a new book by local Springville author Marilyn Brown titled, “The Rosefields of Zion”. Brown is the author of more than a dozen novels, five histories, two musicals for the stage and five books of poetry. She has won many state and local writing awards for her fiction.

“The Rosefields of Zion” is romantic novel set in historic Zion National Park and the St. George area of Utah. It’s definitely a book women will enjoy more than men or teens. It is written for the LDS reader, but could be enjoyed by readers not familiar with the religion or culture of the Mormons in 1920s Utah. I especially enjoyed the historical information and legends woven into the story of the fictional Rosefield family.

At the beginning of the book the author states: “This book is much more fiction than history.” Brown then identifies the historical figures for us and tells us that there was a real family who lived on the farm at the entrance to Zion National Park from approximately 1912 -1931 but they did not resemble the Rosefields. Their name was Crawford and they were finally forced to sell their land to the National Park Service in 1931 during the Depression.

I liked reading about how the park came to be named Zion. A Mr. Behunin, who had been a bodyguard to the Prophet Joseph Smith and suffered persecution in Missouri traveled west with Brigham Young. When he came to the safety of the red hills for the first time he exclaimed, “These are the temples of God, built without the use of human hands. A man can worship God among these great cathedrals as well as any man-made church. This is Zion.” I agree Mr. Behunin.

The story’s main character, Marissa Rosefield, narrates her family tale of tragedy in the shadow of the red rocks of Zion. The story begins in 1925 as the family prepares to attend the funeral of their mother. Things don’t get any better for the Rosefields as more trials and tragedies visit this small family.

The central conflict is between the family of farmers who want to keep their land and the government officials who want to use for a park visitors center. As tensions increase between the two groups, Marissa makes a disastrous choice. It’s the kind of decision where you yell out loud, “Don’t do it!” as you are reading.

I wish I had been in St. George in February reading this story instead of Iowa. Being right there “on location” would have been the perfect place to read and relax. If you want to take a book down to southern Utah for spring break this year pick up “The Rosefields of Zion”. It’s a page-turner and it will make you appreciate beautiful Zion National Park even more.

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