In Fresh Courage Take we continue to follow the story lines of both couples: Will and Liz, and Jeff and Abby. Will and Liz find themselves in one of the most tumultuous times in our Church history. Forced to sell their land and abandon their beloved temple to an unknown fate at the hands of angry and bigoted locals, the Saints endure extreme poverty, organizational confusion, and brutal natural elements. Will and Liz, still reeling from the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, are broken hearted as they see their friends leave for neighboring cities saying, “I know the Gospel is true… but the church just asks too much”. Will and Liz each discover strength they didn’t know they had as Will is called to march with the Mormon Battalion and Liz is left with her two small boys (and another on the way) to trek to Salt Lake without him. Her situation is not unique. With so many weak and poor for church leaders to care for, Liz depends on herself, a few trusted friends, and the Lord to get her through. All the while, Will marches to California and back to Salt Lake. And the journey is so physically challenging that many previously strong and able men don’t survive.
Meanwhile, in modern day Nauvoo, Jeff and Abby are still struggling to make end’s meet. The down economy combined with a desire to follow their dreams forces them to think outside the box. With both of them working and serving in church callings they are burning the candle at both ends and see very little of each other. But thanks to a partnership with some close friends they manage to figure out what they want out of life and modern technology can make it happen.
I truly enjoyed this series. It was very interesting how well the dual story lines worked together. Hughes did an excellent job of connecting the two story lines and making especially Will and Liz come alive. I feel like it is a lot easier to connect with Jeff and Abby because we already know about life in the 21st century. It’s so much more difficult to connect with those who live a completely different lifestyle, and yet the author did an excellent job of showing us that 150 years of technological changes does not change human character, weakness, or desires. They were just as passionate as we are. They struggled with selfishness and laziness just as we do. They have a hard time learning new things and changing when necessary. Our modern life does make a few things different, for example if Liz didn’t get off her pampered backside and learn how to work, the consequence was death. If Abby didn’t, it would have been so easy for her to just move back home and let her mom and dad take care of her. Personally I think these days we could all do with a little more motivation to leave selfishness behind and get to work :)