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Kingdom Forgotten: The Rise and Demise of a Mormon Island King


Worth reading 😎

An imaginative treatment of a fascinating little bit of US history. The story could have been shorter, though it was enjoyable.

When I picked up Kingdom Forgotten, I'd never heard of James Strang – and this little bit of history, turned into historical fiction, sounded fascinating. Who would have guessed that a Mormon rival to Brigham Young would set himself up on a Michigan island and appoint himself King of the surrounding district!

The opening of the book set the scene well, introducing the fictional characters of Lucy and local fishermen as well as the non-fictional character of Strang. I liked the way Lounsbury gave each person depth and roundness - there were few complete villains or angels, and the novel gives an insight into the thought processes of all its characters.

The novel slowed for me about a third of the way in, perhaps because there were too many people to keep track of, and not quite enough focus on the central 'plot'. Strang was presented as almost likeable at times, but that was hard to reconcile with the callousness and deceitfulness of his actions. I found myself longing for him to be kicked out of his territory, but that took a long time to happen. The writing style was slightly clunky, and perhaps for that reason the story didn't pull me in completely - so I never felt like I was fully 'in' the book, more that I was 'watching' it.

The story could be shorter and tighter, but overall I enjoyed reading about Strang and his poor, credulous, exploited followers, and I'm glad I now know so much more about this supremely odd part of American history.

Reviewed by

I'm an author but I also read a lot. I do especially like to read books by high quality indie authors, because you often get original and unconventional work which wouldn't have been picked up by the major publishers.

May 1848

About the author

Laurie Lounsbury is a national award-winning journalist and editor who spent most of her writing career covering northern Michigan. She currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she sings in a girl group dance band with great enthusiasm and exceptionally mediocre talent. view profile

Published on May 14, 2019

Published by Blue Foot Creative

150000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Reviewed by