Friday, January 6, 2012

In God Is Our Trust by LC Lewis

Freedom has never been free.

I recently read In God Is Our Trust by LC Lewis and recommend it to all. It is volume five in the Free Men and Dreamers series and covers the years 1816-1830, set against the backdrop of poignant American history. Even though this novel is the first I've read in the series, I had no trouble following this intriguing story.

Jed Pearson, a veteran of the War of 1812, enters politics in the state of Maryland. He genuinely cares about the issues facing America at the time. Jed owns a large farm called the Willows where he employs freed slaves, allowing them equality to his other hired workers. An evil-hearted foe from his war years continually harasses him and his family and friends, causing much heartache and damage.

The series, including this volume, winds through the lives of six fictional families—three American, two British, one slave--tying their lives together in similar causes of survival and the fight for a better life for all.

Reading In God Is Our Trust is like looking into a peep-box into the past. I can imagine the careful research Lewis must of done and the great understanding she has of the events of our history. I appreciated Lewis' dramatic illustrations of the issues of the day:

The beginning of the Industrial Revolution
The last days of the Founding Father's direct influence
Political upheaval in America as new leaders emerge
The increasingly volatile issue of slavery
The American Renaissance
Thomas Jefferson's final message to America on her Jubilee
The impact of Immigration on America
The westward migration
A new religious reformation

These issues set the stage for this generation's response to Joseph Smith's visions of angels and Deity. At first I questioned Lewis' reasons for leading the story to the restoration of the gospel, but when I honestly considered Diety's plan for America, it is where the story had to go. America's constitution "acknowledges the hand of God in the nation's founding" and provided a land of freedom for the gospel to be restored and His church to be established. We should never be shy in declaring that good news.

"I hope you'll laugh and cry with the Pearsons and their loved ones in In God Is Our Trust. I saw so many parallels between their day and ours as I conducted the research. There are great lessons for us in these glimpses of American history," LC Lewis said. She will be elaborating on them on her blog in the coming weeks.

Laurie C. Lewis tells us why she wrote the Free Men and Dreamers series:

"I’m from Maryland, but about 14 years ago, I fell in love with historic Williamsburg. There is a sacred spirit there, one felt also in other places that welcomed the great patriots—Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Franklin, Key, and others—cities like Philadelphia, Washington, and Georgetown; and places like

Fort McHenry, Hampton, Craney Island, Fort Monroe, and dozens more.

I believe it’s because God’s hand was over the events that happened in these places, moving people where they needed to be in order to accomplish His purposes for this land.

The past eight years of my research and writing have focused on an incredibly fascinating, and rather forgotten, generation of Americans. Most of us know a bit about the Revolution, and we have some basic understanding of the issues that drove us into the Civil War, but far fewer know anything concrete about the War of 1812, and yet historians will tell you that it was this period and these events that finally forged us into The United States of America.

The idea for a historic novel began back in 1998 after my first visit to Williamsburg, but I set it aside and moved on to another project. After 9/11, my heart, like most Americans', turned more tenderly to America and her history. By 2004 I submitted the first draft.

The original manuscript was set in the late 1840’s, but after much soul searching, many hours buried in American history, and a small mention in Lucy Mack Smith’s “Biography of Joseph Smith,” I knew I needed to back the books up a generation.

It was Lucy’s reference to her brother Stephen Mack’s service during the War of 1812 that was the deal-breaker. I had never before made the connection between the Smiths and the War of 1812, but there it was! Joseph Smith grew up during that war. He and his generation were affected and shaped by the critical historic events of the tragic burning of Washington, the critical Battle of Baltimore, Key’s rallying of a broken nation with his writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The generation that would take on Britain’s war machine in the War of 1812 was already unique in that they were the children of the Founding Fathers’ generation. They were the heirs of the great patriots’ vision, those charged to build a nation founded on the lofty principles of liberty and freedom, and now they would experience the great religious reformation and the Restoration led by Joseph Smith.

Buy In God Is Our Trust here.