Monday, September 14, 2009

Bringing Scripture To Life - Review of Alma

I have often wondered why it is the Book of Mormon gives us very little information about the women living at that time.  In fact there are only three women who's names are even mentioned.  Sariah - the wife of the prophet Lehi, Abish - a Lamanite servant and a harlot named Isabel.  There is not an absence of women - in fact the men are often inspired to do great things because of their mothers and wives, but unlike the Bible their is an absence of heroines and romance.  This oversight is what I believe has driven many LDS women authors to write historical novels that help to breath life into the prophets of old by adding a little spice of romance and give women inspiring heroines they can identify with.
Don't misunderstand me, I know that the Lord had a purpose for the Book of Mormon being written the way it was.  I know that it is divine scripture and has been preserved for us in the latter days, but sometimes, as inspiring as the Book of Mormon is, I still hunger to know about those women behind the men.  What were they like?  How did they deal with the trials in their lives?  These are questions that Heather Moore not only wondered about, she took it to the next level.  With her vast knowledge of the scriptures and her incredible imagination, Moore has brought the men and women to life in a creative, page turning adventure.

ALMA - is the second installment of what I believe is going to be a trilogy.  The first novel is Abinadi, and the third that she is now in the process of writing will be called Alma The Younger.  Three great prophets from the Book of Mormon. 

Events move quickly in the 2nd book. King Noah is thundering with rage. On Amulon’s watch, the former high priest Alma disappeared from the city of Nephi, and every night more believers manage to escape. The king threatens certain punishment unless Amulon recaptures Alma—a seemingly impossible task. But Amulon has a plan. An equally valuable prisoner is at his fingertips: Noah’s wife, Maia, whose newfound faith means bitter humiliation for the king and an opportunity for Amulon to seize power.
Amulon’s disavowed daughter Raquel is making plans of her own. Alma and his followers are building a colony by the waters of Mormon, and she’s determined to begin a new life there despite the deep grief she suffers daily as Abinadi’s widow. Abinadi’s watchful brother Helam deems the journey to Mormon too risky, but when Lamanites plunder and burn the settlement, Raquel has no choice but to flee with her young son.
Drama and danger escalate as Alma the Elder organizes the Lord’s church and baptizes its members, bringing an outpouring of divine grace and power. But even as they rejoice, the believers have profound and perilous trials to face, from the outward threat of Amulon’s treachery to the inward threat of pride and disobedience. With poignant emotion, gripping suspense, and rich inspiration, this new epic story from H.B. Moore vividly brings the Book of Mormon to life. - Goodreads

I have to confess that I haven't actually read Abinadi - the first book in the trilogy.  I meant to, but for reasons beyond my control(we only have one car right now) I have difficulty getting to the library or a bookstore.  If you're familiar with the Book of Mormon, it isn't absolutely necessary to read the first one, but I recommend it.  Moore changes point-of-view a lot and it took me awhile to feel invested in the characters or the story.  So reading the first book would have probably helped with that.  The scene that finally drew me in had to do with the noble character of Maia who is in love with Alma.  Here is a qoute from the book that brought on the tears:

Maia -  "I am but one woman--no lives should be lost over mine.  In the name of peace for my people, I accept this assignment."

To find out why she says this and what is going to happen to her, you'll have to read the book.  Trust me you won't be disappointed.

I became familiar with Heather B. Moore and her books when I attended the LDStorymakers conference in the spring. Moore is the award winning author of the Out of Jerusalem series:  Of Goodly Parents, A Light in the Wilderness, Towards the Promised Land, and Land of Inheritance.   She won the 2007 Whitney Award for best historical fiction for the Land of Inheritance and also won the 2008 Whitney Award for best historical novel for Abinadi.
To find out more about her you can check out her blog here.  She is also an editor for Precision Editing.  Precision Editing has a very helpful writing blog called Writing on the Wall and you can find that here.

Heather was very kind in offering to let a nobody like me review her book by sending me an autographed copy - she is awesome!

First book in the Trilogy


Juju from Tales of Whimsy said...

I love the name Alma. In Spanish it means soul.

Mary said...

I didn't know that Juju - thanks for the info.