Even after twelve years, Gemma Enman can still remember her amazement and pride at being singled out from among her siblings by her father to travel with him by train from Prince Edward Island all the way to Brookfield, New Hampshire. But seven year old Gemma had no way of knowing how long and tedious a trip it would be or that her father planned to return to their island home without her.
Though she has enjoyed a loving home with her grandparents, she remains deeply wounded by her childhood abandonment and haunted by the fear that a shameful secret surrounded the circumstances of her birth. Now a young woman, Gemma has met and fallen in love with Lionel Maines, a man of honor, integrity, and prospects.
As Gemma and Lionel plan for their future together, Gemma continues to be haunted by her past. She knows that before she can fulfill her pledge to Lionel, she must keep a promise she made to herself.
It is 1822 in Upstate, New York where Mason Chase hires a crew of local farm hands to dig a well on his property. At the bottom of the well a stone is found and we quickly find young Joseph Smith using this stone to find treasures said to be hidden below the earth. His new found fame as a necromancer leads to a legal trial where he is charged with deceiving people through the use of the stone. As maturity sets in, visions of treasure are set aside for visions of heavenly messengers, and a new religion is born. Shortly after the publication of the Book of Mormon, elders are sent out to spread the word and the kingdom experiences rapid growth. From his early days as a money-digger to his final days as a martyred prophet, the life of Joseph Smith is a mixture of adoration and apostasy from his people, blended with the ever present friction brought on by suspicion and mistrust from those he called gentiles—non-believers.
Joseph Smith was a colorful and dramatic person, charismatic and easy to love, but like a double edged sword or a two-sided coin, the story also tells of a man with a talent for getting on other peoples’ nerves. It was those others’ who called him Holy Joe, but everyone who read the newspapers of the day, and those with him in the midst of the action, knew the prophet had this other name. Today, this other name grabs attention and speaks of a multifaceted personality: ‘prophet, seer and revelator, yes; but he was also known as Holy Joe.
There are three good reasons why dashing Civil War hero and New York lawyer William Teague cannot tell artist Mae Kendrick he's in love with her. One, she told him he was dull. Two, she is the niece of an important client. Three, she just hired him to find the man she doesn't remember marrying.
As Will manages this peculiar case, the search for Mae's husband unveils a shocking discovery about her childhood, one that shifts the investigation to the place of her birth—Ireland.
But on the voyage overseas, circumstances become increasingly bizarre. Mae suffers ghost-like visions and further memory loss, and Will is seduced by a beautiful stranger who just might be trying to kill him. When Mae suddenly vanishes like her husband, Will is forced to enter a thin place, an ancient monastic ruin leading to Ireland's Celtic otherworld, in what becomes a race against time to find her.
But are Will's war-honed instincts any match for the alluring forces of Irish legend? Can he distinguish friend from foe? Can he protect Mae from the apparitions of her past? And how far beyond the breaking point can his secret love be tested?
It is 1890 when two boys stand on a steamship deck and stare in awe at the New York City skyline. Simon Walsh is traveling with his parents, Josiah and Sarah, to Chicago, where his father plans to help operate a family grocery store. Steven Richards is journeying with his sister, Martha, and his parents, John and Elizabeth, to Coal City, Pennsylvania, where his father plans to work in the coal mines. As the steamship docks and the families share a tearful farewell, Simon and Steven can barely contain their excitement. Their new life in America has just begun.
After the Richards family arrives in Coal City, they soon wonder if they have made the right decision. They settle into a filthy house, where life proves to be more of a struggle than they ever imagined—and apparently, they are not alone. As Elizabeth exchanges letters with Sarah she discovers that the Walsh family is undergoing hardships as well. But when John perishes in a cave-in, Elizabeth cuts off communication with the Walsh family, leaving everyone to wonder if the two families will ever reunite again.
Coal Dust Is White follows three generations of two brave families who arrive in America with lofty dreams and soon learn through forgiveness and atonement that it is always better to do the right thing.