This is the second in a series about the beginnings of the Mormon church and the settlements in Utah. It can be read alone, but there were times when I felt I was missing a little of the story by not having read the first book. And, it definitely feels like you need a third book to finish the story.
The series is by a Christian author and the story is about a religious movement. There is some discussion about whether all the edicts coming from the Mormon leaders are actually from God and the main characters are trying to escape from some of the more extreme church members. While I don't think that makes the book "overly religious", other readers may not be as comfortable with the story.
The characters are well-drawn. It's refreshing to see strong female characters in historical fiction.