My Loving Vigil Keeping, by Carla Kelly
My grandma is an avid reader. When I was little, she had, at the bottom of her basement stairs, tall built-in bookshelves stuffed full of magic. I loved to browse and, even better, select something to explore. Though those shelves are gone and I am much older, we still share this love of books and often talk about the things we are reading. During a recent visit, my grandma told me about a new friend she had made. This friend was an author and had given my grandma a signed copy of her latest book. My grandma loved the book. And my curiosity was further peaked when she said this friend had just moved to Idaho from Utah.
My friends, despite my grandma’s recommendation, I was prepared not to like this book. But oh, I did. I did. My Loving Vigil Keeping is a historical romance that takes place primarily in Scofield, Utah, a mining town, in 1899 and 1900. The book starts just months before the Scofield Mine Disaster, which was, at the time, the worst mining disaster in the history of the United States. Our heroine, Della, managed to scrape her way through college to earn a teaching certificate. Though she has a good job in Salt Lake, she heads to Scofield to teach, to escape her relatives, and to reconnect with her past.
Learning about the mining town and historical facts about Salt Lake and Provo, both near where I currently live, was very interesting. The character development in general and of the protagonist in particular was lovely. It was nice to see her grow and to see her find love. I quite enjoyed the male lead and that there really isn’t any major drama about who will end up with whom. It does take place in a Mormon community, but the religious aspects were not the story. And I did think the ending was a little rushed and convenient, but I raced through this book. I’ll definitely be reading more by Carla Kelly in the near future. In fact, I went out and bought Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand, so I have it on hand when the need strikes.
Though Kelly no longer lives in Utah, this counts as a “Utah book” in my book, because it is set in Utah and it was published by Cedar Fort Publishing, a Utah publisher.