Monday, October 6, 2008
Review of "THE LOVE LETTERS OF JOSEPH AND EMMA" by Angela Eschler, featuring portraits by Liz Lemon Swindle
THE LOVE LETTERS OF JOSEPH AND EMMA
The extraordinary love story of Joseph and Emma Hale Smith is tenderly portrayed in a unique new Covenant release entitled, Of One Heart: The Love Letters of Joseph and Emma, by Angela Eschler.
As an editor at Covenant, Angela Eschler has long exercised her writing and editing talents to improve the works of other authors, including my own. In Of One Heart: The Love Letters of Joseph and Emma, Mrs. Eschler’s first authored work, her exceptional writing skills and knowledge of the Prophet and Emma is evident. Punctuated by the emotional artwork of Liz Lemon Swindle, Eschler has carefully selected poignant excerpts from the Smith’s private correspondence and wrapped them in beautifully crafted historical content and corroborating scripture.
The Love Letters of Joseph and Emma is divided into five concise chapters, each one correlating to a period in Joseph and Emma’s marriage-- Love and Devotion, Sorrow and Separation, Consolation in Companionship, Faith in Adversity, Reunion and Peace. As a historical examination, “Love Letters” illuminates the great love that succored Joseph and Emma through the too frequent separations, the exquisite sorrows and the sweetness of the joys that defined their lives.
But there is much more here for the reader. From Mrs. Eschler’s intimate Dedication, which is drawn from the example of Joseph’s ministrations to Emma, to the triumphal promises of eternal reunion expressed in the closing scriptures from the Doctrine and Covenants, this book is a delicately crafted celebration of the power of marriage and love.
Counseled as we are to seek for “patterns” in our lives, Of One Heart: The Love Letters of Joseph and Emma, provides readers with a unique vantage point from which to observe the Smiths’ enduring love. From the secret elopement to Joseph, to which Emma consented saying, “she preferred ‘to marry him more than anyone [else she] knew,’” through seventeen turbulent years, theirs was a marriage imbued with loyalty, tenderness and faith. Being perhaps the ultimate example of enduring love under fire, Joseph and Emma may therefore provide the ultimate pattern for building a strong marriage.
In Of One Heart: The of Joseph and Emma, by combining the power of Angela Eschler’s beautiful writing with samples from Liz Lemon Swindle’s evocative portraits of the Smiths, Covenant has produced a work that reaches deep into the hearts of readers, personalizing the Prophet and Emma to a rising generation of Saints who may confidently draw upon their example of marital love and loyalty.