Fictional journal offers historical, emotional look at Mormon faith during 19th century

“No Bed in Deseret” by Nickolae Gerstner follows the journey of an 18-year-old girl who marries a Mormon man, believing his promise never to choose another wife

(PR NewsChannel) / September 18, 2012 / MENIFEE, Calif.  

"No Bed in Deseret"

"No Bed in Deseret" by Nickolae Gerstner

Originally published in 1981, “No Bed in Deseret” (ISBN 1477656065) by Nickolae Gerstner provides a timely look at the Mormon religion when a famous church member, Governor Mitt Romney, is campaigning for the presidency. Based on the journal written by a young woman in the 1850s and 60s, this historical fiction highlights the beliefs and practices of the Mormons, properly called the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

Eighteen-year-old Olive Banks is desperately in love with Dr. Percival Terry, a member of the Mormon Church, and she doesn’t believe the ridiculous rumors calling Mormons polygamists. Heartbroken when Percival tells her polygamy is indeed a sacred tenet of his religion, she won’t consent to marry him until he promises she will be the only wife he will ever choose.

Believing him and too much in love to give him up, Olive marries Percival. Deliriously happy, she sets out with him on the long, wagon train trip to Deseret, the promised land of the Mormons. On the journey, Olive’s happiness shatters when church elders decide that Percival must marry Sophia, who is only sixteen and recently orphaned. Claiming he is not breaking his word because Sophia was chosen for him, Percival follows orders and marries the girl, twisting Olive’s life into agony.

In Deseret, Olive lives in one room of a two-room house. Through the thin wall, she can hear everything her husband says to his other wife. She is aware of everything they do. The situation lends itself to madness. Olive must find a way to escape from Deseret, knowing that if she is caught, it means her death as an unfaithful wife.

Using personal, heartfelt journal entries, “No Bed in Deseret” reveals the tumultuous history of Deseret, now part of Utah. The story is well told, and Gerstner manages to separate fact from fiction while retaining both a vivid feel for the historical background and a realistic look at the Mormon religion in the nineteenth century.

“No Bed in Deseret” is available for sale online at and other channels.

About the Author: Nickolae Gerstner served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Office of Education and enjoyed a career as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers. She became interested in mysteries after hearing Mary Higgins Clark’s keynote speech at a writers’ conference. Gerstner’s mysteries have been published in many languages, and “Finders Keepers,” coauthored with Barbara Pronin, was included in a Reader’s Digest anthology. “No Bed in Deseret” was previously published in 1981. A native of Chicago, she and her husband split their time between homes in California and New York and travel with a Siamese cat named Pippin.

Nickolae Gerstner
Phone:              951-679-3165



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