An encounter with a Mormon missionary and his unusual message of a "restored gospel" leave Richard Kenyon, a young Methodist minister, questioning his life's work when he cannot deny a growing testimony of this peculiar American religion. But Richard soon finds himself struggling to recognize the promised blessings of the gospel when violent persecution shakes the fledgling Church in Wales.
An accomplished composer and produced playwright, Vickie Hall has turned a new leaf in her life by trying her hand at fiction. All That Was Promised is based upon the journals of her Welsh progenitors. It gives her great joy to tell their story in a fiction format.
I found the story in All That Was Promised to be well-told, and most of the characters to be nicely developed. I liked Richard Kenyon's sincerity. I ached for his wife, Leah's, childless state and struggles to accept the changes that Richard's conversion brings into their lives. I was horrified at the persecution, the senseless destruction and beatings--even until death--that the Saints in Wales endured. Although my Welsh ancestors came to America before they found the gospel, I could imagine how difficult it would have been for them to undergo such trials.
I do have a quibble with the manner in which the author chose to use Point of View for her characters. Actually, I suspect she didn't choose it so much as she was perhaps ignorant of how Point of View works.
There is an old, not-so-much-in-favor-now Viewpoint called Omniscient. As author Orson Scott Card explains in his excellent how-to book for novelists, Characters & Viewpoint, "The only time we (authors) can act out our godlike role in front of the audience is when we write using the third-person omniscient point of view." Card continues: "As an omniscient narrator, you float over the landscape wherever you want, moving from place to place in the twinkling of an eye. You pull the reader along with you like Superman taking Lois Lane out for a flight, and whenever you see something interesting, you explain to the reader exactly what's going on. You can show the reader every character's thoughts, dreams, memories, and desires; you can let the reader see any moment of the past or future."
Sounds like A Christmas Carol.
Unfortunately, no one uses Third-person Omniscient Viewpoint to good effect these days. Mostly, there is a lot of "head-hopping" going on, which pulls the modern reader not along on a flight of fancy, but out of the story, instead. I persevered, and found that I could mostly ignore the viewpoint shifts, even when they occurred in successive paragraphs.
Since this novel was published by a commercial publisher, I lay the blame for the POV errors on the head of the editor, who should have gently guided her author into making appropriate changes so that we only saw one character's point of view per scene, and not a mishmash of every possible thought and reaction of every character present.
That, along with an abundance of adverbs and adjectives, were my only complaints with this novel. There is evidently a sequel in the works. I look forward to reading it for further adventures with Richard and Leah Kenyon.