Soda Springs

Soda Springs

by Carolyn Steele


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781462117000
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Incorporated/CFI Distribution
Publication date: 12/08/2015
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Carolyn has been a psychologist, a paramedic, a proof reader and several other things, not all of them beginning with P. A trucker, for example. She began writing the day she decided to try and see the world...doing both just to find out if she could. It made a change from teaching CPR to nightclub bouncers and designing wedding cakes. When excerpts from her first travelogue were published by the Rough Guides she decided to keep on doing both.Carolyn maintains that she is either multi-faceted or easily bored, depending on who is enquiring.

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Soda Springs 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Carolyn Steele takes the reader on a journey from North Carolina in the final days of the Civil War to Soda Springs, Idaho in her latest historical novel, Soda Springs. Thirteen-year-old Tessa Darrow is horrified when she sees the man tossing his clothing into the fire. When she realizes the man is none other than her father, Henry Darrow, she is outraged. He is home from war and why on earth is he burning his military uniform? It is early morning and the rest of her family is still fast asleep. She insists on an answer from her father as to why he would denigrate his uniform; let alone destroy a fine wool garment that would serve well as added warmth come winter. Demanding answers, Tessa is faced with the rage of a father she doesn’t recognize and if she knows what is good for her, she will heed his ominous command and get back in the house at once. Sadly, the burning of the uniform Tessa witnessed was an inconsequential precursor to what was to come of the Darrow family’s future. Within a handful of days, they have packed their belongings of the opulent plantation—the only home Tessa ever knew. They were leaving North Carolina; destined for the wide open spaces of a west Tessa knew nothing about. The terror of being tossed into the future of the unknown, Tessa is bereft when she takes a glance back toward her home only to see the band of soldiers surrounding their homestead and dodging the flames that lit up the sky. It would take Tessa many years to erase her final images of her childhood home as it burned to the ground in the wake of the Darrow family’s departure. What Tessa couldn’t possibly know is the tenuous journey ahead of them. She knew about the dreaded small pox disease, but never in her wildest imagination would she expect to experience the ravages of it first-hand. Carolyn Steele has penned an engaging tale that is complemented with an anchor of intriguing history. The Civil War is such an epic period of time in the founding of our country and, on its heels, the discovery of the Wild West is an equally strong allure in our early civilization. Steele settles into the concept and delivers a story of trials and tribulations presented to a family accustomed to privilege; only to expose them to what life is like to simply survive day-to-day. There are ample passages of the stark difference between eastern and western landscape followed by wonderful dialogue among the characters of this story. Steele exposes the reader to the early religious concepts and establishes the conflict of understanding (and perhaps acceptance) between conventional Christian beliefs in contrast to those of polygamy and the Mormon way of life. I applaud her for presenting both views in a story-like fashion; allowing the reader to form his or her opinion versus force-feeding her views on the reader. This is a quick and easy read and has a lovely pace of moving it forward with great twists and turns along the way. Quill says: Soda Springs is the perfect companion for a weekend getaway that fulfills the prospect of having nothing more to do than read a good book.
WishEnd More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars SODA SPRINGS is the story of Tessa who loses almost everything as a girl and faces difficulties and a very different life from what she thought she would have as she becomes a woman. Her family travels the Oregon Trail, but this story doesn't focus so much on their trail experience as it does on what happens when they arrive at their destination. The historical setting felt authentic and I couldn't help rooting for Tessa that she would find happiness and love. It was an interesting story with a fulfilling ending. There were some interesting factual tidbits in the story, such as using natural resources for healing, how the people lived, how they worked and lived off of the land, how young they were married, etc. The story gives some less-than-favorable looks at Mormons and polygamy in parts as well as favorable. It showed how different people reacted in different ways, some of the reasoning, as well as reactions to hardships and religion. Some parts rubbed me a little wrong and felt a little dramatic. It was a difficult life on the trail and then starting and maintaining a community out in the middle of a tough land. I found the romance really sweet, especially towards the end. I'd recommend SODA SPRINTS to those who enjoy stories about characters who face extreme challenges, full of historical information, and with a sweet romance. Content: Clean Source: I would like to thank Cedar Fort for my complimentary copy, which did not affect my review in any way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book, and appreciated the bit of history of the western U.S. that Carolyn Steele so skillfully put in as well. Tessa Darrow is an extremely likable character, and I found myself rooting for her in all her adventures and misadventures. From the beginning of the story until its very satisfying conclusion, I followed Tessa hoping that everything turned out well for her. Her father was a character I didn’t like quite so much. But he was believable, and ultimately sympathetic and redeemable. And I outright cheered for him in one instance when he responded the way he did in a situation that involved a married man hitting on Tessa. I thought William was a great character, believable, likable, balanced, and a worthy love-interest for Tessa. Mrs. Holt was another character I particularly liked. I appreciated her mix of common sense and compassion, and I was very pleased to see how things worked out for her. She was certainly someone who deserved a happy ending! Overall, the ending was quite satisfying to me. I was very pleased with it. Even Sarah, William’s childhood friend got a wonderful ending which she deserved after all the trials she had endured. The shallow, narrow, selfish men got their lasting comeuppance, and the good guys got their happy ending. Or perhaps I should say happy beginning!
Mandy More than 1 year ago
From beginning to end, I loved every moment of this book. From the first page, readers know that there is a secret, and maybe danger coming. They know that something is about to change in the lives of the Darrow family. I knew I wanted to do the blog tour for this book just from the short synopsis. Civil War time in the South, a journey to the West, a love triangle, and learning something new about LDS history? That sounded like a perfect book to me. And it really was. Soda Springs is told from the perspective of a teenage North Carolina girl, named Tessa. One night, she saw her father burning his Confederate uniform. Little did she know what was in store for her and her family after that alarming night. Carolyn Steele knows how to expertly paint a landscape with words. She also knows how to acclimate the reader to time period, culture, and history in an interesting and authentic way. I was thrilled to be able to enjoy a great story and at the same time learn about how other people lived and why. This book, though not a true story, centers around a real place, and a real settlement. After I finished the book, I knew I wanted to read more about the Morrisites. I was pleased to find that the history I found, matched with the history in the book. It was so interesting, though also unfortunate. I was also excited to find that though most of the characters in the book were fictional, two were real Morrisites who lived in Soda Springs, Idaho. For me, a great book has characters you really can look up to, who are also human. A great book makes you giggle, cry, fall in love, think, and sometimes strongly object. A great book makes you sigh in contentment when it is over. Soda Springs does all that and more. There is so much tragedy in the novel, but it doesn’t overpower it. You may be shocked or cry a little, but you move on as the characters did and make the best of the situation at hand. Family relationships, friendship, hard work, service, self-reliance, and perhaps, most importantly, hope, helped the characters push through their trials. One of my favorite quotes in the book was, “Were it not for hope, the heart would break.” Steele truly created complex characters. Their strengths were evident, but so were their weaknesses. I found myself stepping into different characters’ shoes, such as Henry Darrow’s, and I could understand why he sometimes acted the way he did. For the most part, I was able to forgive characters for bad behavior, because their hearts and heartaches were so clearly portrayed. Everyone is human. We all make mistakes, but we all have great potential. That is a message from this book, as there were not only physical journeys to make, but also inner ones. I don’t want to tell too much of the story, but let’s just say friendships are made and grow. There are many hard and desperate times, but also good times. People leave, and some come back. Tessa has to do a lot of waiting. Life isn’t always happy for her, and she wonders what will become of her. In the end, all is well. I strongly recommend this book. I also recommend going to the author’s website,, and reading her blog post called “A Journey through Soda Springs.” I wish I had seen those pictures while reading the book, because they make the book that much more real.
lilacqueen75 More than 1 year ago
I often think when I read books, such as this, that I would love to live in a simpler time. These people are hardworking and life is full from sunup to sundown--busy with surviving and taking care of basic needs. Our time now is filled up with so many distractions, but in the 1860s, life was hard, yet very satisfying. Soda Springs captured me heart and soul. I loved reading about the sudden decision that Henry made to move his family from their "posh" plantation in North Carolina to Oregon and the heartbreaking tragedies that ensued because of that decision; I loved reading about the day-to-day life and the way Tessa grew up and learned to survive in an extremely small town in Idaho; I loved reading about Tessa's feelings, coming-of-age, and determination to make the best of life; and I loved the sometimes shocking surprises that pop up throughout. Tessa is in the midst of growing up and sometimes acts childish and sometimes very mature, which is typical. Her emotions can occasionally get the best of her, but for the most part, she's a very likable, generous, and kind soul. I love her relationship with her father, Henry, and Mrs. Holt, a kind, yet no-nonsense woman in town. In fact, Mrs. Holt is one of my favorite characters. Spanning several years, Soda Springs tackles some tough topics, such as effects of the Civil War, religion, disease, kooky characters, and life on the frontier. I enjoyed it all and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good historical romance. Content: no language; mild violence (disease, death, etc--not extremely graphic); mild religious elements (necessary to the story, but not preachy); mild romance (kissing). Clean! *I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*