Shadows of Brierley, Volume IV: In the Valley of the Mountains
That is surely my longest title of a book, and initially they weren’t going to use it for that reason, but as the editing process evolved it was concluded that the title was fitting. So glad they used it; I think it’s a beautiful phrase, and it certainly encompasses the essence of life in the Salt Lake Valley where the Saints were trying to start over—both literally and metaphorically.
There are years skipped from the end of volume three to the beginning of volume four. Gillian is grown up, and they are now in the Salt Lake Valley, as opposed to being in Nauvoo where the last book ended. As always, I write from inspiration. A story comes to me and I write it in the way I see and hear it. But I still do my homework in reasoning it out and making certain it works. In this case, I realized that there are many stories of crossing the plains and all the hardships that took place between Nauvoo and Utah. I’ve written a little about them myself. I realized that there wasn’t a lot to say that hadn’t already been said. So, I jumped ahead and took on a unique situation with Gillian being the heroine during the time when the Salt Lake Temple is being built.
One of the things that I love about this story is the dilemma Gillian finds herself in as two dramatically different men both love her and want to marry her. Through her the reader can learn a great deal about what’s important in choosing the right spouse, and also a lot about judgment and real love. And I loved imagining the scenes that took place at the temple sight, knowing that they too were not unrealistic for what was going on at the time.
In writing this book and others in church history where temples are being built—and left behind—I am often struck with gratitude over how blessed we are to have so many temples in our midst when these people—sometimes literally—gave all that they had just to help build a temple. There is a great deal of depth in that principle alone that I hope my readers will grasp through this story.