Soda Springs is a new release (12-8-15) by Carolyn Steele, author of Willow Springs. Published by Cedar Fort, Inc., this 264-page paperback is a clean, wholesome read and will appeal to readers of all ages. It is filled with accurate history ranging from Civil War-era North Carolina, wagon train treks across the continent toward Oregon, and the earliest white settlements in south-eastern Idaho.

I had the privilege of reading an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of Soda Springs and found the storytelling lyrical, enjoyable, and the characters multi-dimensional. I felt as though I’d spent several seasons in the company of Tessa Dare and her father, Mrs. Holt, and the others in the settlement near Soda Springs. The story is primarily Tessa’s, and it fits nicely into the book categories Coming of Age and Love Story.

_Wholesome. Lyrical. Accurate._

While Tessa is my main character, I fell in love with the backstories and character arcs of her father (Henry), Mrs. Holt, William, and the rest of the cast! Even then cantankerous Mr. Pixton surprised me at the end of the book.
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I’m particularly proud of the historical accuracy of Soda Springs, right down to ensuring the language was accurate for the time frame. (I had to change the term “crush”–as in having a romantic fondness–because “crush” wasn’t used until in the following decade. And Shakespeare’s “paint the lily” didn’t become “gild the lily” until the turn of the century.) Even the Scottish phrases are accurate to the period.
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~Carolyn Steele
Author Carolyn Steele

Author Carolyn Steele

The book description on Amazon includes: “This sweeping story illuminates an oft-forgotten era in LDS Church history.” LDS is short for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes referred to as the Mormons). Everyone with much understanding of initial white settlers in what has become the states of Idaho, Utah, and Nevada knows the LDS Church played a significant role. After all, it wasn’t a gold rush that first brought Anglo-Saxon Americans to the valley of the Great Salt Lake.
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I want to emphasize my opinion (after an enjoyable read of this novel) that it will be enjoyed by people everywhere. This book not only for Latter-day Saints. Religion and religious connotations and references are superficial and play a minor role in the development of the story. Tessa is the only point-of-view character, and she is not a member of the LDS church when the book begins, nor nor is she one when the book ends (I hope that is not considered a spoiler). Tessa simply finds herself living among those who are… or used to be.
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My father was still living when I began writing historical romance. He loved the draft of my first novel, Willow Springs, though he didn’t live long enough to see it published. In his final years, I loved sitting with him, reliving family vacations in Grays Lake, Idaho, his boyhood home. I began gathering information about Grays Lake to weave into a future novel. In my research, I stumbled upon the settlement story of Soda Springs, which is the gateway to Grays Lake, and knew this story had to be the backstory for my book. Soda Springs was settled in 1863 by a group of self-exiled Mormons called the Morrisites. The history of the Morrisites, their break from the LDS church, and subsequent exodus to southern Idaho is fascinating–and one I had never heard before. 
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In pondering what could cause a family not associated with the pioneer trek of the LDS church to make the arduous crossing on the Oregon Trail, my thoughts wandered back to my husband’s family roots in North Carolina. I love building intrigue into my writing, so what better than a conflict with roots in the Civil War?
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~Carolyn Steele
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Endorsement of Soda Springs
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Copyright © 2015 Kristin Holt, LC

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