Reviews

  1. I loved this book. I felt so much concern and developed an attachment to ancestors that are not even my own.. I wanted to hurry and finish the book to see what happened to everyone, but at the same time I didn’t want to finish the book because I enjoyed following the family and Mike Ericksen’s life too. I have not found another “pioneer” book that I have enjoyed so much. So much fun to have a CD of music included.

    Susan

  2. This is my favorite book of the summer! It was inspiring to read how both Mike and his ancestors survived their trials. I was especially touched because my ancestors came across in the Martin Handcart Company.

    Lisa

  3. This was much more than one mans quest to learn of his ancestors. He realized it was his own journey of realization of his place and importance to others in eternity and how consequences of choices can effect generations.

    Leila

  4. Sacrifice, Love, and Courage.
    These are the things that the Willie and Martin Handcart company travelers had!
    This book is a REMARKABLE telling of one family joining one group that came across one ocean and embarked on one incredible journey.
    Your heart will be touched as you read the encounter of the Ole Madsen family.
    They “answered the call of the early leaders” to gather to Zion.
    A place far away from their homeland of Denmark.
    At the time the Saints were crossing the plains with only handcarts as they were easier and faster.
    But that also meant the saints had to walk the 1,300 miles and leave behind most of their possessions.
    The Madsen family was assigned to the Willie Company…the company that left late in the season, ran out of food rations, and had to endure harsh winter storms.
    As author and descendant Mike Ericksen searches for his great-grandmother Marie.
    He feels a powerful connection to her as he too is enduring life’s trials.
    He gains great strength in knowing that we must all make hard decisions and become to our family the “true heroes” that they can look up to.
    A BOOK YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PUT DOWN!
    SO. SO. SO. GOOD!
    LOVED IT!
    The MUSIC CD is BEAUTIFUL!

    Shauna

  5. This is a beautiful story. The story is basically two stories in one. Mike Ericksen is learning about his ancestors who traveled from Denmark and eventually were a part of the Willie Handcart Company.The Martin and Willie Handcart Companies were both subject to extreme conditions. Many died on the journey to the Salt Lake Valley. Their stories have always been one of faith, endurance, and courage.I enjoyed reading about Mike Ericksen’s journey. He related events in his life that led him to searching out his ancestor, Ane Marie Madsen. Interspersed his ancestor’s story is told. The book takes the perspective of the Madsen family. You could see the progression of their faith and courage first as they are baptized into the LDS church, and then through the trial of traveling across the United Stated by handcart. I really appreciated this format. It gave me a better understanding of genealogy and the way looking back at ancestors gives strength and understand of modern day trials. The admiration that Mike Erickson felt for the Madsen family came through the pages of the book and permeated the story.My husband and children are descendants of a member of the Martin Handcart Company, Margaretta Unwin Clark. I know what value this heritage is to my family. This book perhaps held a deeper meaning to me because of the connection and similarities between the two companies. I feel that this book would be of great worth to anyone who wants to read a story of courage, faith, and a love of family and God.

    Lisa

  6. I think this was a favorite I have read from the past few weeks. The story was inspiring and something to look up too. The way the author wrote made me feel an emotional attachment to the ancestors in this book that are not even mine. This was one of those books that was hard to put down. i wanted to know what woulr happen at the end, but at the same time I didn’t want the book to end. A good read

    Nicholas

  7. They are on a quest of their dream- to a land where there will be peace for them- wealth for them-happiness for them!
    They are on their foot-they had to cover an average of ten to twelve miles on foot-that too carrying their own belongings in handcarts.
    Every bone –every muscle-every joint in their bodies are rebelling against further movement.
    It is one step forward-one step closer to their dreams.
    Flies, gnats, mosquitoes- all are taking their tests. Tests of patience-tests of ability! As if the whole world has conspired against them in their will of reaching their dreamland! Their tender skins were bitten by horseflies- leaving them swollen!
    Their feet son developed blisters- but they should go on!
    They have to reach Zion- where the ancient city of Enoch-taken to heaven-will return to earth!
    But where is Zion? Is there any Zion?
    Faith is put into swords- it’s a fiery test of the belief…….
    Upon Destiny’s Song by Mike Erickson and Sage Steadman is a heart touching chronicle of the immigration of the Madsen family from Denmark to the New World and thereafter their stories of struggle in the land of opportunities. As converted to Mormonism- the family participated in the migration of the pioneers. It is an appealing story of a girl who had never lost hope in the most adverse situation- who had overcame her grief, despair and pain to rise above the smallness of life!
    Every beginning has a beginning. So let us start the story of the Ole Madsen-the Danish farmer. Through his matrimonial alliance he got a wheat firm and four stepchildren-and both of them contributed six more to the family. And destiny took him to the company of two Mormon preachers.
    Prior to the latter day saints’ movement- Protestants were all powerful religious groups in Denmark. A quick popularity of Mormons-was the subject of attack to the new religion!
    “In Denmark, it was believed that individuals were predestined to remain in the station into which they were born. Mormons preached otherwise and became quickly disliked. Their perching was banned from local churches and relegated to farmhouses that folks offered as meeting places.”
    The idea of the God as visualized by Joseph smith appealed him too such an extent that he lost no time being converted. And the baptism of ole described in the book is rendezvous with the Mormon culture and religious practices- which the reader will encounter in plentiful as plunging deep into the book
    “Amid the sound of sheep bleating nearby, birds chirping and the babbling of the stream, Elder Nielsen offered the prayer for Anne’s baptism. ‘in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy ghost.’ there was a splash of water as she was submerged. Ane sprang from the cold stream and wiped her face with wet hands.’
    Just close your eyes and imagine the visualization. Everywhere is silent- only the sound of the flowing water and occasional chirping of birds breaking the silence and a family is taking their first step towards uncertainty!
    It is uncertain future indeed. Everywhere in Denmark and the rest of Europe – Mormonism is eyed with suspicion – as if they are companions of Lucifer himself. It is hard for their children to go to school-as taunting is everywhere- and always the situation is not as harmless as mere taunting. It is hard for the master of the house to go for everyday work-as thousands of inquisitive eyes will spearhead him every now and then. It is hard for the lady of the house to live in the community.
    So Ane-the lady of the house or we may call the iron lady took the decision-to migrate to the new world- the world of new opportunities
    “But there will be more of us, ”Ane countered;” thousands of people migrate to the Utah territory every year. And in Zion, President Brigham Young leads us. At least our children would be able to go to school without risk of being mocked or called names or having eggs thrown at them.”
    it was a painstaking moment for them to leave their fatherland-towards a new destiny- where new hope may be beckoning- but they have no idea about the shape of that hope- only a vague silhouette- may be of hope- may be of despair.
    It is a moment of separation –it was not possible for young Marie to fight with the storm within her mind to leave the land where she was born- their family was torn apart.
    The way the moment has been drawn-will make your eyelids heavy in your unconsciousness. It is the fiery test of a writer- making emotional moments heart touching-and they have made the moments not only heart touching –but perhaps moments for you will shed drops of tears.
    So new country…new world…new possibilities…..
    New world welcomes them with a change of name-as per the customs. it was like erasing the old identity of the family. But that shock was followed by another-and by another…..
    Countless waves of shock-or perhaps the ocean of shock….
    They started their immigration-on foot –carrying the hand carts –drawn by no cattle-but the master and the lady of the family. Thus begun the migration of the family- unconsciously they became a part of the most disastrous migrations of the history of the United States.
    In search of the mythical Zion…….
    There is no work- no food for the family. They were forced to sell precious valuables for a loaf of bread. Death is following them in every step-
    ‘Ole lay next to his wife. There was another flash of light followed by more crackling thunder. Now the rain poured in earnest. The water infiltrated the tent and gushed around them as the wind howled. There is nothing they could do but lie huddled together, cold and wet…
    There is nothing we can do but wait for it to pass. Try to sleep.’ Ole urged.
    The girl attempted sleep as Ane cooed ‘sleep, little child, sleep.’ until the storm passed.’
    No imagination can match the pages of life.
    But how far faith can take them? To the light of life .or to the claws of death?
    From the viewpoint of literary standard- this invaluable saga of pioneers reminds me the Latin American masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude or more recently of Where The Birds Sings Best.
    A special place of mention is to be made about the compact disc accompanying the book. It has four songs-all depicting the journey, the hope and the aspiration of the pioneers. Listen to them and just try to imagine a bunch of helpless people crossing through the blizzard, snow and charring heat….
    Their bodies are not taking them one more step away, but their minds do…….
    rising above all fragility- to the eternal quest of hope……..

    Biswanath

  8. This book has so much heart. I loved it! For anyone who hasn’t looked in their past and heard the stories of their ancestors I think this will inspire them to do so!

    Jenn

  9. Upon Destiny’s Song, what an amazing read. It reels you in, takes your breath away, literally. Ane’s resilience is beautiful. What a mother! The way she carries her family through everything and her determination and resolve are out of this world. Olé married strong. When the writer starts writing on the trek in the US, he gives a blow by blow of events, stunning! You find yourself wanting to help them pull the handcart or put some clothes on them.
    It was grueling. It was hard. It was painful ‘watching’ those people wanting to get to Zion. They had nerves of steel. It was heart wrenching ,I cried, I bawled. So much pain, fear and hopelessness.

    Yolisa

  10. This is the message from this beautiful book and the authors make it so remarkable.
    Once I started reading it and cannot put it down so spent a late night sleep to finish the book. It is so good and love it.

    Fhey

  11. “Upon Destiny’s Song” follows the story of the Madsen family which deals with the struggles faced by people who are forced to migrate to another country by numerous circumstances. The audience is goes though an emotional rollercoaster while reading this non linear and yet very vivid book. The story bounces from the Madsen family to Mike a coupe of generations later allowing the audience to feel the suspense while they still find themselves attached to each character’s arc.

    Roy

  12. The story expertly blends well-researched fact with stirring imagery, and works a personal tale of sacrifice, loss, and family unity into the broader fable of history.

    Roy

  13. For those who love to read realistic detailed stories for people living through hard times, this would be your perfect choice. I like to gain knowledge and experience by reading biographies. You might get bored and lost at the very start a bit, but after a while of patience you will get the hang of it.

    EmioNa

  14. Upon destiny’s song is a journey of hope and self-discovery of an entire lineage. The decision and sacrifice of a man and his family to reach for their ultimate dream ‘ZION’.
    Each generation had their share of troubles but withstood all, birth with an ingrained faith, unconditional love to one another.
    Sage Steadman has written such an excellent and enlightening tale. It is quite obvious, the research and hard work put in to make vivid historic events. The words portray explicitly, reflections of the impacts that our daily lifestyles and decisions, affect not just us but our whole lineage.
    In the words of the storyteller Mike Ericksen ‘I’m going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others.’
    The determination of patriarchs Anne Madsen and the sacrificial love demonstrated by Ole Madsen, which made them heroes of their lineage is one worthy of emulation
    Upon destiny’s song shows that the Christian faith might be filled with recriminations and trials, but truly commendable is the believers, their hopes, and dreams and the risks they had to take to achieve.
    Anne’s silent prayer on page 237, ‘Let me have the strength to get through what you have deemed that I must. Let my children see my unwavering faith’ after husband died showed her fear and pain but mostly are deep faith in a God that can provide and strengthen.
    This book is not just a pilgrimages story, but a true tale of five generations faith, trials, and hope. It is relatable to everyone’s pilgrimage on earth.
    The song “Light Up the Land” added to the book is truly not just to lift and inspire an individual but also transform an entire world.
    I will recommend anyone with his own share of life troubles to read and be inspired!

    Tosin

  15. Once, long ago, I visited the valley and hills that these two companies had walked. I had shoes, modern technology, and it was summer. One of my favorite books is one that was written by another author who wrote about the trek and the some fictional families making the trek to Zion. Upon Destiny’s Song gave me another perspective. Fortunately, this had a more personal feel, as it was the story of a family. Not only did we get to read about their experience, we got to read about the generations after. How the faith may have changed, or strengthened, or ended for some. Readers got to see how the strength of faith and family generations later can shape who a person is. No matter how much one believes in religion, this story comes from that inner spark and desire of the original American Dream. Freedom of religion and to become free of oppression. Thank you for sharing this story with me!

    Brandi

  16. one inspirational book, the fusion of centuries makes the story to be exceptionally interesting ,teaches about Hope, Faith and Endurances which are pillars of success, grab a copy and be inspired and motivated .

    Bokang

  17. I must say it was definitely not what I expected. I prefer fictional novels so this was a new experience for me. Sage and Mike really reeled me in with this. I thought I would be bored with a documentary or biography sort of book but that wasn’t the case at all!Upon Destiny’s Song is a book of faith, and trials, perseverance and determination, joy and sadness, humor and reflection…it’s a journey through decades of learning, gratitude, experiencing it all through the pioneers’ eyes.In this stirring book you learn to value life and ask yourself, “Am I willing to do whatever it takes for what I love? For what I am passionate about? “It teaches the value of moments with our loved ones, life is too short to regret not loving, not listening, paying attention to those you care about – a gripping reminder to value life while the Lord has till given us breath.I must say, part of this book is not for the faint of heart. The trying times that Ole and his family went through had me put the book down at some point, the grueling travels, the immense sacrifice but I had to read on, believing for a happy ending, hoping for a happy ending.This journey with the pioneers teaches one to not dwell on the hard times, but rather related every aspect of their lives to their faith and relationship with God.I must admit, the back and forth movement between the past and present had me very confused in the beginning and at some point I had to keep going back to the beginning about 3 times but a few 100 pages in, I got the hang of it. Another was that little shock a few paged into the story, would make me wonder whether it was actually a faith-based book.Otherwise, I liked how easy it was to read be no complicated English, a good flow, detailed even the painful parts.I love to read books that inspire me and make me want to be better spiritually, socially; a book that makes me learn and appreciate life more and if you are anything like me, this is a book that you definitely need to read.

    Faith

  18. I loved the story. it gives a lot of insight to the history of immigrants to US, how they suffered at first but established their families eventually and thrived well for generations….. quite a moving story

    Sathsara

  19. Always thankful for the Goodreads giving me this opportunity to read the books that attract me, especially with a bizarre title that at the end an unpredictable story. Anyway, this book by Sage Steadman is very inspiring. as a reader, I really based on the title of the book then I am expecting that have a connection, but a little twist and this book exceeded my expectation. it’s very inspiring, a story that has a connection, in reality, teaches us that there is always hope if we going to put faith in everything. Thanks to the wonderful author who personally email me this copy for reviewing it. God bless and more books to write so that more person to inspire and feel the words you’ve written. Kudos!

    Nessel

  20. Incredibly poignant. Absolutely loved it.

    Brook

  21. This is novel is full of pleasant surprises. We are taken through the details of the Danish Madsen family’s immigration to America. One of the things that I absolutely loved is how Mike Ericksen and Sage Steadman captured the spirit of those voyagers who, in many cases, only had one another to live for along with the promises of Zion from their newfound religion. Each character has a distinct voice and personality that adds to the familiarity of sibling life. I love how strong each of them was and how they continually encouraged one another and kept their eyes on making it to the promised land in spite of death, sickness, and disaster all around them. The format (Then Now) was a little tricky for me in the beginning, but then after reading for a while, it all made sense. This is a great read for anyone who just wants to read a different kind of story, one of trial and of triumph and of family. Great read!

    Jessica

  22. Mike Ericksen and Sage Steadman have written this historical fiction telling about the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies as they headed to “Zion.” The story begins with a family in Denmark who learned of the Mormon faith, only to be harassed and harmed for it in their homeland. They began the journey first to the United States and, later, to Zion which was in Utah Territory.
    The travelers ages were from under a year to older folks. All faced many trials. Oxcarts were too heavy to climb mountains, so possessions were left along the way. The handcarts became the way to carry sick ones and the few belongings they had left. Worn out shoes were hard, food supplies did not arrive, Indians didn’t appreciate the travelers coming to their land.
    I have to say I had to get past my own beliefs, but kept reading as this is part of United States History too. I am so glad I did. The story was captivating.
    On another note, I wondered why the book seemed to end, then there were questions for the readers followed by an Epilogue which was 66 pages long on my Kindle.

    Sue

  23. I really enjoyed this book. The story is one of perseverance and faith. The chapters are in a “flashback” form, combining stories of a family from the 1800 ‘s and into the present day.
    The descriptions are wonderful and make you feel as if you are right there with them as the family travels to the new world to pursue religious freedom.
    I highly recommend Upon Destiny’s Song

    Patricia

  24. A beautiful and inspire story about a family in following their faith in the old days and a story about retracing back own ancestors.
    It a story about how Ole Madsen and his family move from Denmark, their homeland to Utah where they faced losses and hardships in their journey that challenged their faith and perseverance. But its didn’t weakened them. It only made them strong and grew closer to God.
    In the modern days, it tells a story on how Mike Ericksen retraced the story of their ancestor, Ole Madsen.
    As I read this book, it touched me deeply as I can see and felt the story came alive in front of me. It really amazing and definitely a book worth to read thousand times.

    Cordelia

  25. Settling the country took the efforts of strong and determined men, women, and children. In the book Upon Destiny’s Song, the early settlement of Utah by members of the Latter Day Saints is covered in striking detail. Missionaries visited European countries to talk with people that were open to a new form of religion. The church paid for people to move to America and settle in their communities.Those who prepared to make the trek didn’t understand the difficulties that they were facing. There were no roads at times and so travelling by wagon wasn’t feasible. Each family put their belongings into a quickly built handcart. The group would walk each day stopping to camp outside overnight. When the company reached Nebraska, they had a choice of either wintering in Nebraska or continuing their journey. They believed that they would not come to harm, so they continued their journey.The determination and belief of the members of this company is overwhelming. To struggle through inclement weather, lack of food, and various illnesses illustrates the depth of their faith. The author Sage Steadman brings history to life as she relates the story of the handcart emigrants. This is not a boring book full of facts and figures. It is a book that draws the reader in and one you will think about long after you put it down

    Debbie

  26. Do you remember Joseph Smith journey or the Joseph Smith trail were he took a number of people across the from New York to Salt lake city Utah on the deal of riches and then they would be reward for there time ,The deal was is your husband died as the trip you were to marry and usually they married Joseph and then they have more than one wife and he would support the family’s,So Joseph sent the missionary out all over the world and they were to bring more men and women to Utah for the sake of the Mormon. You see the missionary had gone to the Dutch and then they did not speak much English and then the missionary would tell them they could find the god they are looking for in the USA but they did not tell them the hardship and the hassle they would go through to get to the state of Utah usually by foot . They came over on a boat and then they had to share housing to help other then they all did not now they would get the
    trouble of winter Indians and then robbers and murder
    All that traveled were baptized Mormon and then they were ready to see the promise land and then now the family are walking across the country in no wagon they had no food and little sleeping they would walk up to 10 to 15 mile a day ..Most of the children died from sickness and they were drop on the land and buried.
    you will love to read the book e book or print the author was doing a chart of family history and he will tell you his side of the story and they done a re carnation of the trip and his family history

    Desiree

  27. A novel that is so real and overwhelming; I could feel the cold and the fatigue experienced by the immigrants in every step of the journey. A story that enlightens the soul and strengthen the faith through the history of courageous people who endured unbelievable hardships. This book will definitely change the way I view modern-day problems and will help me embrace destiny with a song from the heart; just as the writers did.
    Very grateful for the chance I was given to read such a great book.

    Manal

  28. This book was beautifully written and got me excited about digging into my own family history. I want to know more about where I came from and the sacrifices that were made so that I could have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I love how he connected the past with the present and the future and how we can continue to carry this same legacy on to future generations. We won’t have to walk thousands of miles like the pioneers but we will have our own struggles. Will we have the same unwavering faith as the pioneers to help us push through the challenges of our lives so we can carry the same legacy of faith on to the next generation?“Life is a journey for us all, whether across the prairies and mountains to Zion or through the confusing, evil-tainted meandering paths of our modern world”“Everything happens for a reason, but we can’t always know the reason when the journey begins. Something we can only understand at the end of the journey. Everything is connected and I believe that we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection.”

    Ashley

  29. This book had me all up in my feelings. I was mad, I was sad, I was thankful, and I felt broken.I cannot even begin to imagine what the pioneers actually went through.The book takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it is such a great read.Thank you for sharing some of your history with us, Mike. It’s amazing how interconnected we all really are, right Sage?I’ll recommend this book to people who do not look for the usual , and to people who can read without judgment of the characters. Just appreciate every moment shared and understand how life and history can have such domino effects in the past and now, for us all.

    Theodora

  30. The blurbs about this book in no way let me expect it to be a history of those of the Mormon faith so I was quite surprised to find it was. The story was very well written and gives a good history of immigrants who followed their faith to a new life. The hardships they endured speaks of their commitment to their beliefs and I found it to be a fascinating story.

    Thyme

  31. Written by Mike Ericksen and Sage Steadman, Upon destiny’s song is what I call a great book:
    -it teaches you something;
    -it makes you feel;
    -it’s well-written;
    -it talks about love, faith, sacrifice, desperation, life;
    -it’s about the past and the present;
    -it’s everything and more.
    Turning page after page, you can’t help but get enraptured by the courage, the love and the faith of Ole Madsen, his family and the other Mormons. Even though they had to leave Denmark to go to America in the search of the great ZION, that was not the hardest part of their journey because the real struggle turned out to be their trek from the Midwest to Utah territory. In fact they had to go through days without food and blankets, blizzards, death, desperation, fatigue. Many survived, including Ericksen’s ancestors – Ole Madsen’s family -, but many died, including Ole Madsen himself. During the narration of the four-month trek, what you can feel the most is the power of faith: despite feeling tired, hungry, they kept on going thanks to their faith and determination, they knew that in the end every sacrifice they had made would be worth it.
    Going through his ancestors’ life, Mike Ericksen let their story come alive and let us see how the past and the present are connected, how everything is connected, how sacrifices can be rewarded. What happened to his great-great-grandfather Ole Madsen is an “unique event” that changed the life of so many people and needs to be remembered.
    Everyone – who is not quick to judge – should read Upon Destiny’s song because it’s about a real story that will make you think more about your life, that will make you feel like you should know your ancestors’ story and appreciate it more. Every day can be a challenge but we are strong.

    Nessamars

  32. While this is a grim recounting of the Mormon handcart immigration to Zion, it is also a story of two families and their descendants – the two authors were serendipitously brought together to trace the path across prairie and mountain that their ancestors walked. The book is also an introduction to Mormon faith and lifestyle that outsiders may not be conversant with. I liked it, even as I cringed over descriptions of frostbite and starvation.

    Linda

  33. This is an exceptional book because it takes the reader back and forth between the experiences of a family that traveled to Salt Lake City across the ocean and on land with the Willie Handcart Company and then brings us back to the present, showing how we can learn and grow through our love and obedience to God’s will. It is written in a beautiful, poetic style and makes you fall in love with the devoted members of the Willie Handcart Company who sacrificed so much in order for us to have what WE now have. Then it brings us to examine our own devotion to our ancestors and appreciate how their experiences have helped us become who we are.I love this book! It is uplifting, tearful, painful, and faith inspiring when reading the lovely words that describe life across the years from then to now! It will keep your interest until the last word…..I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend it to everyone.

    M.T.

  34. This is a book that will touch the reader’s heart. It is a story that will be difficult to put down. Well written and emotional.

    Joann

  35. couldn’t put it down; beautifully written. Awe inspiring story of faith, family, and determination. I loved how the author tied the past with the present; felt as though I was on the trail. Wonderful!

    Power

  36. While this is a grim recounting of the Mormon handcart immigration to Zion, it is also a story of two families and their descendants – the two authors were serendipitously brought together to trace the path across prairie and mountain that their ancestors walked. The book is also an introduction to Mormon faith and lifestyle that outsiders may not be conversant with. I liked it, even as I cringed over descriptions of frostbite and starvation.

    Linda

  37. The story expertly blends well-researched fact with stirring imagery, and works a personal tale of sacrifice, loss, and family unity into the broader fable of history.

    H.R.

  38. I am amazed on the amount of work that went into this novel, truly a labor of love. The depth of character and the trials that the pioneers from the Willy handcart company had to endure was eye opening. Thank you for the great read and an eye opening experience into a world that I had never known.

    Syrpintain

  39. Settling the country took the efforts of strong and determined men, women, and children. In the book Upon Destiny’s Song, the early settlement of Utah by members of the Latter Day Saints is covered in striking detail. Missionaries visited European countries to talk with people that were open to a new form of religion. The church paid for people to move to America and settle in their communities.Those who prepared to make the trek didn’t understand the difficulties that they were facing. There were no roads at times and so travelling by wagon wasn’t feasible. Each family put their belongings into a quickly built handcart. The group would walk each day stopping to camp outside overnight. When the company reached Nebraska, they had a choice of either wintering in Nebraska or continuing their journey. They believed that they would not come to harm, so they continued their journey.The determination and belief of the members of this company is overwhelming. To struggle through inclement weather, lack of food, and various illnesses illustrates the depth of their faith. The author Sage Steadman brings history to life as she relates the story of the handcart emigrants. This is not a boring book full of facts and figures. It is a book that draws the reader in and one you will think about long after you put it down.

    Tow

  40. Incredible story!

    Lou Anne

  41. This is a beautiful story. The story is basically two stories in one. Mike Ericksen is learning about his ancestors who traveled from Denmark and eventually were a part of the Willie Handcart Company.The Martin and Willie Handcart Companies were both subject to extreme conditions. Many died on the journey to the Salt Lake Valley. Their stories have always been one of faith, endurance, and courage.I enjoyed reading about Mike Ericksen’s journey. He related events in his life that led him to searching out his ancestor, Ane Marie Madsen. Interspersed through Mikes story, his ancestor’s story is told. The book takes the perspective of the Madsen family. You could see the progression of their faith and courage first as they are baptized into the LDS church, and then through the trial of traveling across the United Stated by handcart. I really appreciated this format. It gave me a better understanding of genealogy and the way looking back at ancestors gives strength and understand of modern day trials. The admiration that Mike Erickson felt for the Madsen family came through the pages of the book and permeated the story.My husband and children are descendants of a member of the Martin Handcart Company, Margaretta Unwin Clark. I know what value this heritage is to my family. This book perhaps held a deeper meaning to me because of the connection and similarities between the two companies. I feel that this book would be of great worth to anyone who wants to read a story of courage, faith, and a love of family and God.The book comes with a music CD of four songs. Three were written by Mike Ericksen and one by his brother. They were a wonderful compliment to the story

    Lisa

  42. The book starts with the people who are Mormon . The missionary were going to the Danish towns to see if people would love to go to USA. Do you remember the Mormon who followed Joseph Smith trail they left there home and gave up every thing to go to Salt lake City Utah for the church to provide for them.The book starts in 1800 and follows the missionary from the Danish and then what they dd was go and convert the people who were Christian or Lutheran and they baptism them and there children ,The deal was to sell all the things and they could only carry the necessary things which was blanket clothes and then be prepared to travel soon.The one Danish family is going to give up all and travel but the missionary did not tell them that once they take the ship to the state they will be changing there name you see the ship Nae and his family his daughter stayed with one of the aunt said she was not going to take her time and life on the desert , Once they go to the state of New York they had to go through a lot of the stuff and the family was in form what they need to get to travel there was no place to stay so all 6 plus some others who were heading to the promise land stayed in run down hotel .You see they were not prepared to traveled over desert and then not have enough food or supply to take up to 4 mo
    trek across deserted lands they had some cattle and oxen but there were robber and then there was Indians and then if they were lucky one they live but some did not.You see the story is great read my book did not have cover but the title is form the song the girls would sing to keep them up and walking you see most kids died before they got to Utah the one who survived were to marry off by the time they were 17 and not to just one but 2 husband and have children they did not tell them this but they push on and made there way there through thick and thin.. You see my great great grand dad died who help the people across the ice river he died on the trail and then his family went on to Utah.You see i was doing the family history and found out about the thing they did and why they were proud Danish
    and they thought they would be having a great place to live i did the history and then what i found was great info
    we did a recreation of the tripyou will love the reading of the book the book take you form the Dutch land to USA and the struggle and hardship they suffered if you can read the story do so and then go read info on Joseph Smith you will have some thought about how he did his teachings

    Desi

  43. This book was beautifully written. I loved the way it connected the past with the present along with the future outlining the fact that life is a journey and each generation has its own experiences/ struggles. It is a story of a family whose members had their own moments of trial, triumph and bonding.

    Asmaa

  44. There is so much emotions I felt as I read this book. I cannot imagine what would happen if I’m in their shoes. All of their physical and emotional hardships had me tears up. Their familial bonding was so strong that they always find a way to get back together.This book makes me believe that knowing and understanding family heritage is important as we will not take the luxuries that we have currently for granted.I’m kind a confused at the beginning as of the different snippets in time but, that does not stop me from reading it to the end.

    Sharon

  45. In the mid-1800’s, shortly before the American Civil War, Mormon immigrants from Europe crossed the United States from the East Coast to Salt Lake City, Utah, in handcarts.
    They traveled in ten companies from 1856–60, and the survivors find their place in the genealogies of many Utahns, including the authors of the book.
    “Upon Destiny’s Song” cuts between a fictionalized account of the Madsens, a Danish family in the Willie Handcart Company, and the authors’ years-long search for their connection to this family.
    The story expertly blends well-researched fact with stirring imagery, and works a personal tale of sacrifice, loss, and family unity into the broader fable of history.

    Harrison

  46. Today I’m reviewing a great book. UPON DESTINY’S SONG is about the Ole Madsen family who came across the plains in the Willie Handcart company. It’s a gripping read and comes complete with a CD of wonderful music.This book puts you right into the handles of the handcart. My muscles just ached with empathy while reading about real people who felt each bump in the road and who complained sometimes of the hunger and cold. I felt the anguish of poor Ane Madsen as she said good-bye to her eldest daughter before they left Europe. I found myself reading into the dark of the night to find out how they weathered the night up on Rocky Ridge. Did Marie found peace in her life? Did Ole help guard them against further terrors from beyond the grave? Did they ever know what heroes we would think they were?The thing that makes this story so fascinating is that these were real people experiencing a very real set of challenges. They were tried so sorely that I can’t imagine how they didn’t just kneel down in the snow and give up.This book also adds a second storyline: the author’s experiences in searching for his ancestors and their stories and how they impact the author’s life. I enjoyed reading about how his heart changed in trying to find what drove his family to carry on.At times the book got a little disorganized, but searching for ancestral records is often that way. One comes by information by bits and pieces. This work got to me in a very real way.I too had ancestors who came across the plains. My great great grandfather (at least I think it’s two greats) was one of Brigham Young’s scouts and one of the first 100 white men into the Salt Lake valley. His name is on the seagull plaque in Temple Square.My husband had people who came across in the Christiansen Handcart Company just before the Martin/Willie Company.This book has gotten me more interested in finding my own stories and putting them into written form.I fully recommend UPON DESTINY’S SONG. Make sure you have lots of tissue handy.

    Heidi

  47. Just wanted to drop a note to see how you are? My Mother-in-Law was looking for a book to read and I sent her the information on your book. She ordered it and sent me a text photo the day it arrived. She is visiting us from MSP and just finished it last night. She said she has read tons of books and said she really never wanted your book to end. I told her that she should send you a note regarding your book. Hopefully she will leave the book for us to read. Thanks for all you have done for me and my family and the world.

    Pete

  48. This remarkable book is a story of families who come together to cross an ocean and who embark on an incredible journey of life.The Ole Madsen family is strong, loving and courageous. Their mettle is laud worthy and their golden hearts touch your heart. Ane Marie Madsen was only ten-years-old when she immigrated to Utah with her family. She was numbered in the ill-fated Willie Handcart Company of 1856, which saw the deaths of almost a third of the company when winter storms hit Wyoming. After settling in Utah, Ane Marie’s faith is tested once again as her path moves through the misadventures of colonizing a new territory ridden with danger and disease.The Madsen family was assigned to the Willie Company, a company that left late in the season, ran out of food rations, and had to endure harsh winter storms. But the Madsen family stood strong despite the problems. As author and descendant Mike Ericksen searches for his great-grandmother Marie. He feels a powerful connection to her as he too is enduring life’s trials. He gains great strength in knowing that we must all make hard decisions and become to our family the “true heroes” that they can look up to.This book teaches us patience and endurance through the trials and tribulations of our life. This book is must read. Ane Marie’s courage stirs you up and it is this courage which keeps her going in life. ‘Upon Destiny’s Song’, is a wonderful book, a book that teaches us LOVE and COURAGE.This is one such book that I am going to cherish my entire life.

    Siarra

  49. I’d like to thank Booktasters as well as Sage Steadman and Mike Ericksen for this poignant tale of faith and hardship as a Danish family embarked on a life-changing journey from Denmark to Utah, the land of Zion. From the very beginning, you feel connected to this family and the struggles they endure from having to leave their precious belongings behind, facing bad weather, and nearly starving to death when the food supplies ran out. Even when their faith was tested, they persevered despite the hardships. This story also tells of a man’s journey in learning of his ancestors and the sacrifices they made in seeking a new life in a new land. This powerful book draws you in and doesn’t let go even up to the last page.

    Kathryn

  50. Ericksen’s way of both mourning and celebrating the then and the now. They are journeys worth sharing.I have shed a tear or two…….. The stories both past and present, are very worth telling.

    Twila

  51. Wow! You are not only a gifted guitarist, but a very insightful writer……. It was not only gut wrenching, it had application to me here and now. How would I have reacted? Would I have remained faithful? How could I bury my own family members? Do I really have a testimony? Do I understand the atonement? Is my family grounded in truth and hope? This is truly a book which is hard to put down……… It really is good and it is well-written. Sobering is a good descriptive adjective. Inspiring, another.I admire what you have put together from research and from determination to give her memory a voice. Would that I could do the same for my ancestors. Having walked these trails by myself, with a film crew and with you, I have a visual appreciation for what you have committed to words. Well done! You have a gift and it is inspiring.

    Lee

  52. Sometimes it is difficult to put into prospective the effect the impact those who have come before us have had in our lives. It’s even harder to keep in perspective what effects those people are having on us every day of our lives without our ever being aware of it. Upon Destiny’s Song does a creative and clear job of making the invisible visible. You will not come away from Upon Destiny’s Song disappointed. Hardship and challenge pale before the love, dedication and strong as steel commitment the Madsen family displays. This is not a everything turns out okay story. It is real life molded and formed by the decisions we make. Upon Destiny’s Song is told in a warm and beautifully written way. If you like books that help put life in perspective you will thoroughly enjoy Upon Destiny’s Song.

    Norm

  53. Ericksen and Steadman have given a tremendous new voice to the Ole and Ane Madsen family. Veterans of the 1856 Willie handcart pioneer company, the Madsen family’s trek spanned the spectrum of that experience—from steely determination to the most sacred sacrifice of all—the death of Ole Madsen. Interwoven with Mike Ericksen’s own “trek” and the story of “how he awoke” is a story that is guaranteed to awake every reader.

    Jolene

  54. Waves crashing, people swaying back and forth, filthy, cramped conditions, sailing hundreds of miles, hoping for a new way of life,”Upon Destiny’s Song”, written by Sage Steadman is the story of Ole Lykke Madsen and his family travelling on the ship known as the Thornton from Denmark to the land of hope, America. If that weren’t bad enough, the Danish immigrants soon discover that they must traverse thousands of miles on foot across this new foreign land in order to reach the place they call Zion. Mistreated for their Mormon beliefs, also marching everyday in the decreasing temperatures, winter biting at their heels. Despite the warnings of the harsh winter ahead, the foreigners pushed on facing the risks of freezing to death, as well as being attacked by wild and vicious predators. If that weren’t bad enough, Indians are also attacking, looting and murdering travelers without a second thought.
    This novel also follows the story-line of more modern day descendants roaming America in order to understand their ancestor known as Ole Madsen, The preceding patriarch who led his family across the world and across America when it was young, He prioritized caring for his family as well as the rest of the party. His selflessness would ultimately cause his life to come to an early end.
    When it comes to my personal thoughts, I enjoyed this novel. The story of Ole Madsen is one I hope to remember for a long time, I thank the author for sharing this story. I also really admire how much time and effort that went into making this novel, for me it is evident she put everything she could into it.
    I do have some criticisms about the novel though as I stated before. For me personally, the story-lines were hard to keep up with at times. I like how Sage put what time period we would be in but it was still difficult for me personally. I wouldn’t necessarily call it unacceptable, because other readers may enjoy that, but in my opinion she should have just told the story of Ole Madsen. Also the beginning of the novel was really slow-paced. It felt like it was trying to throw a lot at me all at once, which wasn’t enjoyable.
    Criticisms aside, I would say it was a really good story that I wanted to follow along with. On a scale of one to five, I would definitely say it was a 3.5-4. This type of novel I would say is not necessarily a novel for me overall. This novel I would recommend to readers that prefer a slower paced book, patient to procure all the details within the book as well enjoy these two timelines at their pace without worrying about either one progressing too quickly.

    Fredrick

  55. In the mid-1800’s, shortly before the American Civil War, Mormon immigrants from Europe crossed the United States from the East Coast to Salt Lake City, Utah, in handcarts.
    They traveled in ten companies from 1856–60, and the survivors find their place in the genealogies of many Utahns, including the authors of the book.
    “Upon Destiny’s Song” cuts between a fictionalized account of the Madsens, a Danish family in the Willie Handcart Company, and the authors’ years-long search for their connection to this family.
    The story expertly blends well-researched fact with stirring imagery, and works a personal tale of sacrifice, loss, and family unity into the broader fable of history.

    Harrison

  56. I’d like to thank Booktasters as well as Sage Steadman and Mike Ericksen for this poignant tale of faith and hardship as a Danish family embarked on a life-changing journey from Denmark to Utah, the land of Zion. From the very beginning, you feel connected to this family and the struggles they endure from having to leave their precious belongings behind, facing bad weather, and nearly starving to death when the food supplies ran out. Even when their faith was tested, they persevered despite the hardships. This story also tells of a man’s journey in learning of his ancestors and the sacrifices they made in seeking a new life in a new land. This powerful book draws you in and doesn’t let go even up to the last page. Even weeks later since reading it, it has stayed on my mind.

    Kathryn

  57. Waves crashing, people swaying back and forth, filthy, cramped conditions, sailing hundreds of miles, hoping for a new way of life,”Upon Destiny’s Song”, written by Sage Steadman is the story of Ole Lykke Madsen and his family travelling on the ship known as the Thornton from Denmark to the land of hope, America. If that weren’t bad enough, the Danish immigrants soon discover that they must traverse thousands of miles on foot across this new foreign land in order to reach the place they call Zion. Mistreated for their Mormon beliefs, also marching everyday in the decreasing temperatures, winter biting at their heels. Despite the warnings of the harsh winter ahead, the foreigners pushed on facing the risks of freezing to death, as well as being attacked by wild and vicious predators. If that weren’t bad enough, Indians are also attacking, looting and murdering travelers without a second thought.
    This novel also follows the story-line of more modern day descendants roaming America in order to understand their ancestor known as Ole Madsen, The preceding patriarch who led his family across the world and across America when it was young, He prioritized caring for his family as well as the rest of the party. His selflessness would ultimately cause his life to come to an early end.
    When it comes to my personal thoughts, I enjoyed this novel. The story of Ole Madsen is one I hope to remember for a long time, I thank the author for sharing this story. I also really admire how much time and effort that went into making this novel, for me it is evident she put everything she could into it.
    I do have some criticisms about the novel though as I stated before. For me personally, the story-lines were hard to keep up with at times. I like how Sage put what time period we would be in but it was still difficult for me personally. I wouldn’t necessarily call it unacceptable, because other readers may enjoy that, but in my opinion she should have just told the story of Ole Madsen. Also the beginning of the novel was really slow-paced. It felt like it was trying to throw a lot at me all at once, which wasn’t enjoyable.
    Criticisms aside, I would say it was a really good story that I wanted to follow along with. On a scale of one to five, I would definitely say it was a 3.5-4. This type of novel I would say is not necessarily a novel for me overall. This novel I would recommend to readers that prefer a slower paced book, patient to procure all the details within the book as well enjoy these two timelines at their pace without worrying about either one progressing too quickly.

    Fredrick

  58. This was a sad but touching true story about a historical real life journey where the author Mike Ericksen takes us back in time to the 1800s, where he researches and shares his ancestry where Ole and Ane Marie Madson, whose story has been fictionalized for the purpose of this book, but their experiences are real. The family leave their native home of Denmark, painfully leaving behind their eldest daughter, to obey commandment from Mormon prophecy to gather in Zion, United States. The revelations Mike discovers of his ancestors are lives which endured poverty, death to incurable illnesses and seeing cultures being stripped away and replaced by new farmland and new communities. The Madsons were converted, obedient Mormons who preached and practiced the holy bible. Believing if they followed God’s will they would be protected through their turbulent journey across the US by cart and gain reward from God for their obedience. This story is one of tragedy displaying the determination and courage demonstrated by the Erickson’s through a difficult time in history. You learn of their struggles along their journey to find a better life in strong faith. This was not an book written to entertain, instead it provides a story of true bravery and faith through hardship and tribulation. I found it to be extremely well written and researched by coauthors Mike Ericksen and Sage Steadman who composed it with such sensitivity and in great detail which truly captured the events, people and history.

    Rose

  59. This one is really something and a beautiful book I must add. It’s full of different emotions – love, drama, angst everything is there. I would not have many words to explain about the book, just I wanna say that I loved it and I’m full of emotions and will definitely recommend this book to all the readers.

    Himanish

  60. In the mid-1800’s, shortly before the American Civil War, Mormon immigrants from Europe crossed the United States from the East Coast to Salt Lake City, Utah, in handcarts.
    They traveled in ten companies from 1856–60, and the survivors find their place in the genealogies of many Utahns, including the authors of the book.
    “Upon Destiny’s Song” cuts between a fictionalized account of the Madsens, a Danish family in the Willie Handcart Company, and the authors’ years-long search for their connection to this family.
    The story expertly blends well-researched fact with stirring imagery, and works a personal tale of sacrifice, loss, and family unity into the broader fable of history.

    Harrison

  61. “Everything is connected and I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them,and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection”.With this words the author, Mike Ericksen finishes the last chapter of his book. He is the fifth generation of survivors of the Willie Handcart Company led by James G. Willie. One of the companies of Mormon immigrants that arrived in to the United States to settle in what today is Utah, and one of the two companies that fell into disgrace in their journey (the other one was The Martin Hand Cart Company, led by Edward Martin).The story is told in two different centuries. One tells the heroic journey of one of the members of the company: Ole Madsen and his wife Anne Jensen, and their family of six since they felt the call of God to leave their homeland Denmark in search of Zion and a place to settle within the respect and love of their beliefs. A trip that took eight months to finish through April to November 1856, and that was made in the most difficult conditions, for the families involved, who were bounded together only by their faith.Through the reading we understand the need of Ericksen to go deeper and deeper into the details of this epic episode of America’s history and his own, as he shares with us memories and segments of his life that helped him understand and cherish the origins of his beliefs and have a better understanding of his ancestors.Yes, this is a historic tale, but above all It is a book about love, universal and Divine Love, the love of a father to his family, the love of a child to his parents and the love between fellow brothers and sisters. It is the kind of love that has the power to transcend generations in order to be a light in times of weakness in our modern world.

    Leonardo

  62. This would be a “quick read”, if not for the intensity of it. I admit, I had to put the book down and wait for a moment when I could be alone with my thoughts and emotions that welled up and poured out as I openly wept. This book makes me want to do more than search my genealogy, it makes me want to know my ancestors stories. I loved how the past was tied to the present reminding us of the importance our choices have on the future! Well done!

    Sylvia

  63. At first, I had my doubts about this book, but as soon as I got to read it I was entranced by it. It sucked me in from the begining to the end, and I couldn’t stop reading it until I finished it. I felt very connected to the family whose struggles weren’t as great as their faith for a better day to come. I personally recommend it!!

    Itziar

  64. This would be a “quick read”, if not for the intensity of it. I admit, I had to put the book down and wait for a moment when I could be alone with my thoughts and emotions that welled up and poured out as I openly wept. This book makes me want to do more than search my genealogy, it makes me want to know my ancestors stories. I loved how the past was tide to the present reminding us of the importance our choices have on the future! Well done!

    Sylvia Westergard

  65. Love this book. If you like books about Pioneers this is a good one! Amazing story. Already knowing the story, I loved how he put personalities to each of the people in this book. Amazing True Story.

    B.J.

  66. I love this book. Its to emotional and real, I’ve never read true life story from beginning to end, but this book simply stood out. I feel she went through a lot in her life. A lot of the scenes were scary specially during their trek. It was so real. Descriptions written fantastically to convey what is written. I think all ane marie’s generation should be proud of their ancestors who fought hard for them to be where they were today. It was an epic read.

    Bello

  67. This is my first book review ever. The main thing that stands out for me in this book is how descriptive the writing is. I was amazed at how deeply involved I found myself. Oftentimes I almost felt as if I was watching a movie because I could visualize the characters, the scenery, everything. So much emotion too. This book has it all; Hope, faith, perseverance, love, sadness and loss. Following this family through the generations to their ancestry as they make the long journey from Denmark to Utah and how all the generations are connected. I felt part of this family and honored to get this inside view of history from the perspective of this family. I would definitely recommend this book.

    Pamella

  68. When I started to read this book, I was worried because I haven’t read in English for a long time, before now.
    Anyway, this story is so good that, from the very beginning, I’ve been able to understand the plot and, also, I’ve had the feeling to be inside the boat, in the middle of the river.
    Already after the first chapter, I thought: “It’s like a dream inside the past”
    And I’ll never be tired to repeat it, because it’s definitely true.
    You need to pay all your attention to this story, like if it is a child, because every chapter is a travel inside the time, in which you will know many different people!
    So, if you are feeling nervous or if you are looking for a simple book, please, wait for a better time and read this story when you’ll be able to put all you concentration in reading.
    Ole and Ane’s story is my favorite part.
    The female character is very strong and, also, I love Ole and Ane’s family.
    I was sad for them, when their neighbours start to hate them, just because they became Mormons.
    I mean, We are talking about a small community. Ole and Ane grew up there, so their neighbours knew them wll!
    It’s sad to say goodbye to your country in this way.
    Thinking to go in a new world because of them, hoping for the best.
    Life is not easy and this is true in every single historical period.
    We need to remember.

    Teriel

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