Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters
Children of the Promise
Historical fiction has for many years been the mainstay of LDS literature.
With novels spanning the years from the Church's inception to the immediate
past, Mormon authors seek to bring Church history to life through fiction
and, in turn, to give Mormon readers a glimpse of lives beyond their own.
While much of this fiction is set during the early days of Mormonism, some
authors have chosen to explore more recent history. None of these has been
more remarkable-for content, literary quality, and sheer volume-than Dean
Hughes's double series Children of the Promise and Hearts of the Children.
The first five-volume series, Children of the Promise, is set during the
World War II era and follows the members of the Thomas family as they deal
with separation, war, and turmoil during a time of international crisis.
Then, having resolved one story, Hughes takes this family through an even
more complicated time period, the 1960s and the Vietnam War, in the second
series, Hearts of the Children.
By connecting these two eras with the lives
of a single widely-spread family, Hughes draws our attention to the
similarities between every generation and reminds us that there is never a
Golden Age, never a time when it's easy to live one's faith. His characters
are just like everybody else, ordinary people called upon by circumstance to
make extraordinary choices, which leads readers to ask the question that is
the essence of historical fiction: What would I have done in their place?
The AML would like to recognize Dean Hughes for his outstanding contribution
to Mormon letters, which we hope may be an inspiration for others in the
years to come.