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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...
Belonging to Heaven was a slow start for me, especially getting past the frequent excerpts in Hawaiian, but by chapter two I was involved in the story and ready for more. Soon I wasn’t only caught up emotionally with the relatable characters and their experiences, I was also intrigued by the rich detail and unfolding history of the beginnings of the LDS Church in the Sandwich Islands.
Early in the book, the focus is on George Q. Cannon, as a young missionary portraying how his deep religious faith and convictions sustained him through the barriers an unfamiliar language, culture, land and personal insecurities, imposed. His perseverance was humbling and inspiring.
When he and Jonathon Napela, the other central character in the book, finally meet, it is through divine intervention, a moving account, which begins a lifelong friendship and well-written journey of the growth of the church, despite hardship and sacrifice in the mid-1800’spanning roughly thirty years.
Gale Sear’s, Belonging to Heaven, is a well-written, well-researched, feel-good kind of book--a richly woven legacy I highly recommend to anyone wanting to be uplifted and inspired.
Gale Sears is an award-winning author, known for her historical accuracy and intensive research. Gale received a BA in playwriting from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in theater arts from the University of Minnesota. She is the author of the bestselling The Silence of God and several other novels, including The Route, Christmas for a Dollar, Autumn Sky, Until the Dawn, and Upon the Mountains. She and her husband, George, are the parents of two children and reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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