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This Is The Place

This Is The Place

4.5 9
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Sky Eccles has a father who is Mormon and a mother who is Protestant. Her father's roots go back to the founder of his church and the pioneers; her mother's roots are foggy and forgotten. Because she was born and raised with a double identity, Sky sees her surroundings in duplicate, like a Kodak color print sitting beside its own filmy negative. A new career in


Sky Eccles has a father who is Mormon and a mother who is Protestant. Her father's roots go back to the founder of his church and the pioneers; her mother's roots are foggy and forgotten. Because she was born and raised with a double identity, Sky sees her surroundings in duplicate, like a Kodak color print sitting beside its own filmy negative. A new career in journalism is giving her clarity of vision

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
Skylar Eccles is growing up in Utah as the child of a mixed marriage between a Mormon father and a Protestant mother. As a "half-breed," she faces constant, subtle pressure from her Mormon relatives to convert and witnesses her Protestant relatives' disdain for the Mormons. Sky's struggle with her belief in God and her place in life is offset by her grandmother Harriet's memories of converting to Mormonism and making a place for herself in her new community. Howard-Johnson strengthens her novel with behind-the-scenes details of Mormon life and history in a book suitable for all collections, particularly those where sf author Orson Scott Card's religious books are popular. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Publish America
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
0.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 6.00(d)

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This Is The Place 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love family stories, and this book is like a generational quilt stitched together by the ties that bind the Eccles women to each other. Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson pieces together their stories like patchwork squares handed down from generation to generation, until the reader truly feels enveloped in this family's rich heritage. Her writing brings the characters and the setting to life as vividly as an Oscar-winning documentary, and her lyrical style paints them in colors and details to rival an exquisite picture postcard from her beloved Utah. Having lived all my life in Alabama, I thought I knew all there was to know about discrimination. What an eye-opener this book is about religious intolerance--a subject that becomes more and more relevant in today's world of terrorist threats and suspicion. Would that we all could see the issues from both sides as does this book's heroine, Sky Eccles. Empathy is a hard thing to learn, but this book goes a long way in teaching it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Utah 1959. It's a place few novels have mined, a place fewer of us have visited, but this novel takes us there. It's a place of pretty cottonwoods in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains, but also where strict lines were drawn between those who embraced the Mormon Church and those who hadn't. It's no wonder author Howard-Johnson chose to name her protagonist 'Sky,' a name that evokes all the dreams of a young girl longing to take in the varying perspectives handed down to her and fashion her own. This 'half-breed,' this apostate, great granddaughter of polygamists struggles to find her way in a childhood crafted by others. Much like the note left on her Gram Harriett's piano, which read 'I can't give {this piano} to you again for it is already yours,' so too the answers to Sky's questions as to where she belongs - they are all there for her to discover. Like an intricate tapestry, this is a novel written for those with a keen eye for beauty.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My book club selected this book for our November meeting. I attempted to read it, got to page 80, and decided life is too short to read rotten books. There were more typos than you can shake a stick at. The story kept jumping around from character to character to character without continuity, and speaking of characters, I couldn't care less about any of them. The dialog was stilted and unbelievable. I had a really hard time buying that the main character was 18 or 19 like the author says she is. There was one woman in my book club who semi-liked it, and that was it. Many of us didn't even finish it. Our discussion leader could hardly find anything to say about it. Maybe all these other reviewers read a different novel than we read. None of us felt it really gave a good insight into the Mormon faith, which would have been interesting and was really why we selected it in the first place. I am sorry if this sounds mean, and I'm sure the author is a lovely person, but this book just isn't very good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a 50-something woman who thoroughly enjoyed This is the Place. It is a wonderful story most women can relate to. Having said that, I believe most young women would also benefit from reading this tale of struggling to find one's own identity. Most of us are torn at some point between expectations - of family, boyfriends or spouses, and society - and our deepest desires. Skylar Eccles' dilemma and how she resolves it presents options to young women caught up in a similar struggle, encouraging them to follow their heart and live their dreams. This takes place in Mormon Utah but the story transcends its setting and speaks to the universal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reviewer: Debra Gold from Burbank, CA Who doesn't love the thrill of discovery...the tingle one gets from uncovering a hidden treasure? Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an undiscovered jewel of a writer, a true artistic force waiting to be revealed, and enjoyed. In the author's first novel "This is the Place," Howard-Johnson turns her pen to the challenges of love, prejudice, the journey towards self-awareness, and the power of individuality--and in the process, has created a story which is both timeless and timely. Set in 1950's Utah, young Sky Eccles fights to find her place and her peace in her family and in the Morman culture despite her "half-breed" status. Howard-Johnson takes the reader along Sky's journey of growth, weaving a tale which is dense with detail, yet lyrical and easy to read. Readers will leave "This is the Place" enlighted, moved, educated, and delighted with the author's gentle yet profound skill with words, and eye for the little things that weave into life's tapestry. Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a new and provocative talent, well worth discovering.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Japanese fan, lying on a table, is a simple unassuming object. However, in the hands of a dancer it pivots and twirls, opening gradually or with a flick of a wrist to reveal itself as a work of art, a kaleidoscope of color and movement. As the dance develops the fan becomes more than an object in the hands of an artist. It is a gateway into a world both frightening in its strangeness and comforting in its familiarity. This Is The Place, Carolyn Howard-Johnson¿s excellent first novel, unfurls as the fan does developing from a simple coming of age story, filled with the music of everyday life, into a powerful novel about the search for individuality and the struggle against prejudice. Skylar Eccles is the hero. The daughter of a Mormon father and a Protestant mother, she must struggle against the demands and prejudices of both sides of her family that demand that she confirms to their religious views. She must also struggle against the constrains placed on members of her sex in 1950¿s Utha, that sent the message that ¿only in marriage would a woman be a complete entity.¿ Even the love of a good man and the love of her family threatened to destroy her selfhood through the obstacles placed in her path in their attempts to mold and shape her into good wife, obedient daughter, and a child of the faith. ¿¿Sky looked at her own life and saw the awful power of love hovering ready to shape-maybe destroy ¿her own reality.¿ The pain of intolerance and the fight against bigotry is reflected in the lives of Skylar¿s great-grandmother Crystal and grandmother Harriet, who both gave up their more comfortable religions to embrace the harsher rules of Mormonism, in order to be with the men they loved. It is also mirrored in the life of Skylar¿s mother Stella, who refuses to relinquish her own faith. Beneath all this emerges another story. It is the story of Utah, the fifth woman in this tale. Utah is the mother, loving, comforting, and judgmental. Enfolding these women in her arms, she shapes and forms them in her own image, strong and glorious in her harsh, uncompromising beauty that demands respect and honor from her sons and daughters. Howard ¿Johnson speaks in reverence of the land whether it¿s the family¿s private house and land imprinted in Sky¿s soul ¿both sweet and scary like a sugar apple with a dark spot in its core¿ or Utah itself, who ¿chained her with its beauty and with the calls of her ancestors because her feet were grounded in its clay.¿ Howard-Johnson¿s language is vivid and vibrant, pulsating with the music and beauty of the land she describes, burnt sienna, pumpkin and amber. Her words, like the music that pours from grandma Harriet¿s piano, ties our souls to ¿the rhythm of life in Utha¿s Mormon community.¿ But, it is Howard-Johnson¿s power as a story teller that holds the readers enthralled bringing to life characters that spoke directly to us of their hopes and joys. She not only held my interest until the end, but she made me fall in love with Utah a land whose harsh and vivid beauty effects the lives not only of the people who live there but also impacts those who merely visit it at one moment in time in the pages of a book. ------------------------ Reviewed by Judith Woolcock Colombo, author of Night Crimes
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carolyn Howard Johnson takes the reader back in time to an era of polygomy and prejudice in Utah. She shows us that our rightous prejudice is exclusive and hurtful. Living as a minority in any community requires courage. Sky is an example of one womans courage to row against the tide and be true to herself. The message that prejudice can be cloaked by love, family, and church is skillfully presented whitout defaming the founding principles of the LDS Church. As an active, open minded LDS member, I can appreciate her message and take it to heart and still say: The church is perfect, the people aren't! The book sends a message that we still have a long way to go in fully appreciating diversity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Believe it or not, it was the title that drew me to This Is The Place. From a savvy marketer like author Carolyn Howard-Johnson, I would have expected a title with a real splashy hook. From someone as enthusiastic as she, I would have expected a title with some oomph! This title seemed so ¿ so ¿ so out of character. But that's because I knew nothing of Mormon history. Now I do. And so does anyone else who reads This Is The Place - a tale tossing on the stormy seas of a society divided by religion. 'This is the Place' is what Brigham Young had said when he first led his Mormon flock into the Salt Lake Valley, where they would be free from the persecution they felt in the East. Howard-Johnson writes: 'They were bringing with them a determination that would be tapped to deal with the harshness of this land that both defied life and nourished it with spiritual intensity. He had said, 'This is the place.' And it was.' Howard-Johnson warned me that her novel is 'literary' and might not appeal to men. If literary means there is a lot of angst and torment and gnashing of teeth, or at least a valley full of soul-searching, then it is literary indeed. Howard-Johnson crafts very realistic characters struggling with prejudices, family pressure and their own internal contradictions. Set in 1959, This Is The Place is built of one intriguing layer upon the next. Each generation of the Eccles family replays the same challenges, the same choices and the same griefs of the previous one. Early in the book, I lost track of how many generations carry the same burdens. Half the fun is in trying to keep track of who is who. Howard-Johnson calls her novel 'historical fiction', but when I asked her, she said it is also 'a cross between memoir and novel.' Much about Skylar Eccles, the heroine of the story, is autobiographical. Like her Mormon father and 'gentile' mother. Like being the youngest reporter ever hired by the Salt Lake Tribune at that time. Like the piano dragged across the plains. So Howard-Johnson writes about Skylar Eccles, who writes about various family members who tell her about her ancestors. Trying to follow the layers in This Is The Place is a bit like trying to keep track of the men playing female characters disguised as men playing roles as women in Shakespeare's As You Like It. To say that This Is The Place is controversial is an understatement. Howard-Johnson paints a vivid portrait of a society torn by prejudice, not on the surface, but in undercurrents just below - the secret everybody shares. About her book signings, she says, 'Unfortunately, I can't determine how to keep away the religious right who want to convert me away from Mormonism, which is kind of hard to do because I'm not one!' In hindsight, Howard-Johnson seems to have written such protests right into her novel: 'Sky had the anonymity of a Mormon name bestowed upon her by her father. Sky had the coloring carried through the same seminal link. She was rarely asked if she was Mormon; people just assumed.' Maybe the protesters should read the book and find out about Howard-Johnson ¿ er ¿ I mean Skylar, for themselves. And maybe you should read This Is The Place, too. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well Written! I look forward to reading more of Mrs. Johnson's work.