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Book review: ‘Safe Passage’ is a delightful merging of Mexican, Mormon history

Editor's note: This has been updated to reflect that Carla Kelly will not be at the Romance-appalooza book signing this Saturday, Oct. 5.

"SAFE PASSAGE," by Carla Kelly, Cedar Fort, $8.99, 288 pages (f)

Mexico in 1912 is not a safe place for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While most have fled the country, one man returns to rescue his estranged wife. Although he has not seen Adaline since a bitter rift two years previously, Ammon Hancock puts past hurts behind in order to ensure she reaches the safety of the United States.

While the two travel through war-torn Mexico, they discover the kindness of its inhabitants. As they focus on the good in others, Ammon and Adaline’s hearts are softened to rekindle the love they thought was lost.

Author Carla Kelly understands how to meld history with romance. She has managed to take the Mexican Revolution, an event not well-known to most Americans or members of the LDS Church, and turn it into riveting literature. While being swept away in the book, readers can also learn a great deal about this pivotal time in LDS and Mexican history.

Kelly has also taken a very bleak event and brought out the kindness of everyday people. Many war-centered books focus on violence and suffering, but this one tempers the pain of war with many uplifting characters. An enemy turns out to be a pitied, then valued, friend; and a spoiled doctor values a woman’s virtue over the desires of ill-mannered revolutionaries.

“Safe Passage,” which was released last month, contains no profanity. Due to its Mexican Revolution setting, the book contains instances of violence, torture, rape and death. However, such things are dealt with lightly. While romantic interludes are referenced, they are not described. “Safe Passage” can be suitable for teenagers and captivating for adults.

Kelly grew up as a Navy brat who loved writing. She received a degree in Latin American history from Brigham Young University. She has lived in Ogden and currently resides in Wellington, Carbon County.

If you go ...

What: Romance-appalooza, book signing: Karey White, "My Own Mr. Darcy" Mandi Ellsworth, "Uneasy Fortunes"; Lisa Rumsey Harris, "The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Bloom," Shannon Guymon, "Do Over"

When: Saturday, Oct. 5, 6 p.m.

Where: University Crossings Plaza, 330 E. 1300 South, Orem


Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother.