Welcome to Day 2 of the “SMOKE ROSE TO HEAVEN” Blog Tour! @SarahAngleton @4WillsPub #RRBC


“Smoke Rose to Heaven Virtual Tour” Day #2

Sarah Angleton

Smoke Rose to Heaven by Sarah Angleton

Wrestling with a Good Read

I remember clearly one of the strangest sermons I’ve ever heard preached. It was more book review than reflection on the Bible and it began with this reassurance: “First, we need to all calm down and realize this is a work of fiction.”

The year was 2006. A new movie had just been released based on a thriller novel that was rocking the Christian world. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown had the Church up in arms, asking and debating theological questions about the truth of scripture.

A grad student in literature at the time, I hadn’t read the book. I didn’t have the time, nor the energy to defend my non-pretentious genre reading choices, but I found the debate surrounding it fascinating. When I finished my program a few months later, Brown’s novel was the first pleasure read I picked up.

I enjoyed it. It’s a good story featuring an implausible but lovable hero who stumbles into an adventure steeped in art and history. It also toys with some sacred beliefs. 

As a Christian, I’m generally not much troubled by authors playing fast and loose with issues of theology. It is, after all, fiction and I believe that occasionally wrestling with tricky questions is an important part of faith development. I kind of like it if a book forces an examination of my sacred beliefs, especially if it’s a good read.

But a few years later, as I embarked on writing my latest novel, I found myself looking back at the dustup sparked by Brown’s widely read book and wondering what, if any, responsibility a writer of fiction bears when handling issues of faith in his or her books.

Smoke Rose to Heaven is inspired by and incorporates a historical conspiracy theory that is sure to make some readers a little uncomfortable. The theory, known as the Spalding Enigma, suggests that The Book of Mormon is not the word of God as revealed to a prophet, but rather that it was plagiarized from an unpublished novel and presented to the world by a conman.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the Latter-day Saints or any sect of the original Mormon movement, though I’ve come to know and respect many people of that particular faith. Still, if I’m being honest, the novel has, at times, made me a little uncomfortable, too. 

I have attempted to be conscious of the difficult emotions the book may raise in some readers. I have worked hard to treat the faith of those who believe in the divine origin of The Book of Mormon as respectfully as possible while being as faithful as I can to the verifiable history as well as to the fictional story I’ve created within it.

Whether or not I’ve been successful will be up to each individual reader to decide. I suspect the book will receive a few negative reviews from readers who don’t care to wrestle, but my sincere hope is that most readers can enjoy it as fiction that may ruffle some feathers, but that is, ultimately, a good read.

Book Blurb:

New York, 1872

Diviner Ada Moses is a finder of hidden things and a keeper of secrets. In her possession is a lost manuscript with the power to destroy the faith of tens of thousands of believers.

When a man seeking the truth knocks at her door with a conspiracy theory on his lips and assassins at his heels, she must make a choice.

Spurred by news of a ritualistic murder and the arrival of a package containing the victim’s bloody shirt, Ada must either attempt to vanish with the truth or return the burden she has long borne to the prophet responsible for one of the most successful deceptions in US history.

Protecting someone else’s secret may save Ada’s life, but is that worth forcing her own demons into the light?

Author Bio

SARAH ANGLETON is the author of the historical novels Gentleman of Misfortune and Smoke Rose to Heaven as well as the humor collection Launching Sheep & Other Stories from the Intersection of History and Nonsense. She lives with her husband, two sons, and one loyal dog near St. Louis, where she loves rooting for the Cardinals but doesn’t care for the pizza.


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Purchase Links:



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Sarah is giving away 5 e-book copies of SMOKE ROSE TO HEAVEN and all you have to do for a chance to win a copy is to leave a comment below.  
To follow along with the rest of her tour, please drop in on her 4WillsPub tour page
If you’d like to take your book or books on a virtual blog tour, please visit us at 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com and click on the VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR tab.
Thank you for supporting this author’s tour and also the blogger of this post!

19 thoughts on “Welcome to Day 2 of the “SMOKE ROSE TO HEAVEN” Blog Tour! @SarahAngleton @4WillsPub #RRBC

  1. Jan Sikes February 21, 2020 / 4:03 pm

    Oh my goodness, Sarah! I don’t know how I missed this post, but I am sure glad I found it! The ideas surrounding so many religions come under scrutiny at times by different authors, and I always enjoy the system being challenged. If I had not been compelled to read your book, this post would have changed my mind! Kudos to you for tackling a sensitive subject in the name of fiction!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shirley Harris-Slaughter February 20, 2020 / 3:07 pm

    Hello Sarah. I am a member of RRBC and it is so nice to know you and learn more about what you do. I admire anyone who can turn a religious truth into a fictional writing because you have to be so careful and you actually need to do your homework so as not to offend anyone. Good luck and I will be sure to add you to my TBR list.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. balroop2013 February 19, 2020 / 12:54 pm

    This book seems promising. Wishing you great success Sarah.


  4. Yvette M. Calleiro February 19, 2020 / 6:25 am

    I am a huge fan of Dan Brown. I’ve read all of his books, not just the Da Vinci Code series. And I can relate to your concerns with dabbling with religious history. My own series rewrote the beginning of time (in the biblical sense) to include a goddess. As you said, it is a work of fiction AND you can’t please everyone. You stay true to the story within your head. As Dr. Seuss said, “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wendy Scott February 19, 2020 / 3:04 am

    I’m intrigued by your plot – I love it when an author melds fact and fiction so well it’s hard to tell when one stops and the other starts – I think this book maybe one of them!


    • Sarah Angleton February 19, 2020 / 8:55 pm

      I hope so, too, Wendy! I always want to write historical fiction that makes people want to look things up.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. jinlobify February 19, 2020 / 1:54 am

    Hi, Sarah, I am looking forward to tackling your book. Wishing you the best!


  7. beemweeks February 18, 2020 / 11:56 pm

    Wishing you the very best on your tour, Sarah!

    Thanks for hosting, Susanne.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. RaveReviewsbyNJ February 18, 2020 / 7:22 pm

    Sarah, I usually may not have a lot of time to follow all the tours being sponsored by 4WillsPub, but I must say, I am thoroughly enjoying your writing. I’m impressed! Great job and keep it up!

    Susanne, thanks for hosting today!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Ronesa Aveela February 18, 2020 / 1:00 pm

    It’s good to ruffle our feathers from time to time. Theology changes from one age to the next, so who’s to say what is really “the truth.” Too many people will blindly believe something because a leader tells them to believe it. I think we need to examine what our heart and intuition tells us is the truth. It all depends what part of the proverbial elephant we the blind man is touching.
    Rebecca Carter (writing as Ronesa Aveela)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah Angleton February 19, 2020 / 7:06 am

      I agree. And I’ve come to the conclusion that fiction is a really good, safe avenue for exploring uncomfortable things.


  10. D.L. Finn, Author February 18, 2020 / 12:16 am

    It is a hard subject to tackle, Sarah, I agree. I look forward to reading this book.

    Thanks for hosting, Susanne:)

    Liked by 1 person

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