Karen Peterson Mosley


The Strength of the Hills

A dream. A voyage. A frontier. Young Madelaine Cardon dreams of three strangers bringing a message to her Alpine home in Italy. When the men arrive ten years later, she faithfully accepts their teachings and with her family embarks on a harrowing journey to the western frontier of America. This true story tells of violent Atlantic storms, cholera epidemics, threatened abductions, near drownings, and stampedes, as the Cardon family clings together, trusting God to bring them to their new home. Along the way, Madelaine meets the ambitious and handsome Charles Guild, a weaver from Scotland, and together they face their future in the unsettled wilderness. From the Great Salt Lake Valley, the Cardons spread out to homestead from Idaho to Mexico, Utah to Wyoming, facing the ever-present challenges of pioneer life and missing the sister left behind in Italy. Johnston’s Army, The Great Move South, the Civil War, polygamy, and the coming of the railroad bring new trials testing their courage and resolve. Madelaine’s story is filled with romance, heartache, motherhood, lawlessness, apostasy, prejudice, death, hardship and deep yearnings for her new dreams to be fulfilled.


About me

I was born and raised in Arizona, so I love the sunshine, warm weather, and beautiful sunsets. From my parents, I developed a love for singing and musical theater. In my youth, I studied classical piano and am now learning to play the organ. I still enjoy singing and performing with the Timpanogos Chorale in American Fork, Utah. I was born with an innate love for teaching young children, so I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, graduating cum laude from Brigham Young University in 1977. My husband is a dentist and I have been his office manager for most of his career, while I was raising our three sons and two daughters. I substitute taught for many years in my children’s classrooms. I love to travel, studied in Paris, France, for six months, lived in Stuttgart, Germany, for three years, and taught English for a year at the University of Electronic Science & Techology in Chengdu, China. I volunteer as an ordinance worker at the Mount Timpanogos Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I frequently travel to visit my eighteen grandchildren. Other hobbies include sewing, cooking, hiking, snorkeling, aerobic dancing, boogie boarding and reading. My favorite book genre is historical fiction. I live in Lehi, Utah, with my husband, Kirk.



This was a fascinating read. Especially with how much the LDS culture focuses on the handcarts. It was very interesting to read about the hardships of the converts’ travel using the wagons, as well as the trip across the Atlantic. It was also great to go through Madelaine’s whole life. You really get a sense of who she is and mourn with her through her hardships and trials. It’s a sign of a great character to feel their pains and sorrows as well as their joys throughout a story. I feel like it also ends well…. It was real fitting. The title also is beautiful for the piece. For having such a wonderful ancestor, I’m happy to see such a wonderful tribute to such a strong person. I really enjoyed working on this piece for you. Thank you for being brave enough to share.

Stephanie Procopio, Copy Editor, WiDo Publishing


The writing is so engaging. It had me laughing and crying all the way through. I appreciate a book with facts which helps me feel I’m learning about the time and place in history. And I’m so glad for the happy ending, too.

Linda Goodman, Tucson, AZ

I just finished reading your wonderful book and wanted to let you know how much I loved reading it. I appreciate all the time and effort you put into writing this amazing saga. This book was hard to put down. Your descriptions of their pain and suffering really got to me and I feel like I now understand what they went through. I enjoyed reading the Indian stories, and their own struggles with testimonies. I can't imagine their sorrow burying so many children.  Life without doctors and using plants and herbs for medicine is a far cry from where we are today. Your story certainly showed the great strength of the women! I liked your Endnotes section, too. I'll make sure all my relatives read your book.

Carol Steinitz, San Diego, CA


My Motivation

As a teenager, I read the autobiography of Marie Madelaine Cardon Guild, a fascinating story of challenge and triumph by a courageous pioneer. She became my hero. Through the years, I read many historical fiction books and particularly enjoyed “These is My Words”, by Nancy Turner. I invited Nancy to my home to speak to our book club when I lived in Tucson. She shared her writing experience, starting with a small journal entry by her grandmother, a short story and a community college class, and ending with a world-famous novel and an exemplary career. I was also asked to proofread and critique a historical fiction manuscript written by my friend, Debra Billman Weitzell. These women inspired me. I began to study the history surrounding Marie Madelaine Cardon Guild’s adventures and determined to use that knowledge to share her story in an entertaining and enjoyable style. The result is “The Strength of the Hills”.

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