This Is The Place – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘UTAH 1959’ Sky Eccles sat in the old ’49 Buick convertible she shared with
her mother, its fenders riveted with salt decay from the Utah roads….
She sat in silence looking at her grandparents’ house at the edge of Holladay, a small farming community turning suburb at the edge of Salt Lake City….
Located at what was once the dead-end of Meander Lane, the little house
had been built by her grandfather, Brock Eccles, and her polygamist
great-grandfather, Hart Eccles. The house and land was in Sky’s soul,
both sweet and scary, like finding a dark spot in the core of a sugar
Sky is in love with Archer Benson and expects him to pop the question any
day. It could be a beneficial marriage but Sky isn’t sure what her
answer will be. The Benson name is as strong as the Eccles name in the Salt Lake area
as well as through the Mormon religion. Sky’s problem is that she’s a
half-breed, half Mormon and half Protestant, just as her Grandmother
Harriet had been and just as her own mother Stella had been. Her Gram
Harriet solved her problem by joining the Church, Sky on the other hand
was brought up to make her own choices and with that came her decision
to become an Episcopalian. The decision to marry could tear both
families apart. Archer’s father is running for political office and his
marrying outside the church is simply not acceptable. Archer has just
been accepted to Harvard but without help from his father, he can't
afford a wife plus education.
Gram Harriet has turned her back on Sky since the ceremony won't be taking place in the Temple. If Sky and
Archer marry, she will have no choice but to give up her journalism
education and work to help pay for Archer's education. Being a
journalist has been her dream forever. Would her dream ever be
fulfilled or would she be expected to be a wife and have children.
So what choices do these two young people really have in deciding their own futures? And what will Sky’s answer
to Archer’s proposal be? Will he even ask?
Following Sky as she drops back into the past with hopes of finding answers, made
me aware of just how hard times really were, not just with religious
differences, but also with nationalities differences, especially when it
came to marriage. I can remember people being outcasts if they went
outside their own “kind” for marriage and even socializing.
Times have changed tremendously over the last 50 years, I feel for the better, but they still have a way to go. “Mixed marriages” are being accepted more and more every day and the children of these
marriages are being given the chance to make their own decisions, not
just about religion but about life in general. And as this happens the
pressures of following in our parent’s footsteps are being lifted.
Now, for a personal note on this book. As a child I lived in Utah twice. My mother’s family is still there and I have a trip planned to
revisit the beautiful state of Utah in September of this year. This is
the Place reminded me of the beauty of the mountains, the fields and the
cities. This will be a trip to revitalize my childhood memories.
Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com