Friday, November 14, 2008

Abinadi by H.B. Moore

Abinadi by H.B. Moore

Each time Abinadi sees the beautiful Raquel he tells himself that he couldn’t tempt a beautiful woman like her. She is the daughter of Amulon, one of King Noah’s high priests, and yet he feels something towards her. Then King Noah asks for Raquel to be one of his many wives, and she decides to flee out of the city of Nephi. Abinadi convinces her to allow him to help her, though she is determined to take care of herself. They find that though they came from different background their desire to please God gives them something in common. When Abinadi is called to call the King Noah’s people to repentance they will be both asked to sacrifice much.

Alma finds that being a high priest in King Noah’s court has some perks, if only he could forget about the lessons his father taught him before he died. As he falls further into a life of sin he realizes how the wrath of King Noah affects those around him, including a woman he cares about, Maia. Then he hears Abinadi’s call to repentance and feels the power of God. Alma must look inside himself for the courage to escape from King Noah, and his former life.

This latest release from H.B. Moore tells the story of Abinadi’s life and death. She chose to portray Abinadi as a younger man with a wife and small child when he was killed. I really liked Raquel’s character, as a stubborn, determined woman, and really liked her conversion story. I also enjoyed how she portrayed Alma as a complex character, and related his change of heart realistically. She seemed to hit the balance between his evil choices and ultimate goodness of his heart and spirit very well. I found the portrayal of evil to be slightly uncomfortable, as is should be, but not offensive. King Noah really is evil in this book, and Amulon leaves his daughter in a compromising situation with him in which she has to escape in order to avoid getting hurt. So, if you are extra sensitive about that sort of thing be aware. There were a few scenes I felt were a bit melodramatic, but overall this book was really captivating, uplifting, and entertaining. I had a hard time putting it down when it was time to cook dinner, and it was well worth the read.

Moore's Website:

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Adventures of Young Joseph Williams by Dean Hughes

The Adventures of Young Joseph Williams by Dean Hughes

I recently read the two last books in Dean Hughes church history trilogy, As Wide As the River, and Facing the Enemy. These books chronicle the struggles of the Williams family during the restoration of the gospel. The plot line of the trilogy focuses mainly on the early Saints struggles in Missouri. It is similar to the Work and the Glory, but written on a level for the younger reader, and focuses more on character than on educating the reader on church history. I sometimes wished I had brushed up on my church history a bit more as I read these volumes, as they don’t take a whole bunch of time telling in the narrative or in copious historical notes about background details. Rather they show through the limited experience of the main character Joseph Williams, what a family might have encountered living in Missouri during the 1830’s.

In As Wide As the River Joseph and his family are still trying to recover from their expulsion from Jackson County by an angry mob. Joseph struggles with questions about religion, trials, and his personal dream to be a steamboat pilot on the Missouri River. His family has to build their life anew, while their father struggles to recover from the illness caused by effects of the mob in Jackson County.

Facing the Enemy continues the story of the Williams family, now settled in Far West. Joseph continues to struggle to do what is right while those around him are talking about fighting back against the mob. Joseph does his best to follow the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and to help the saints in the ways that he is asked, even if his aid missions often put him in danger of capture. Then he learns that his brother Matthew is a part of a band called the Danites, a group that goes around to burn mob members out of their houses. Joseph questions how these actions can be justified, and whether the Mormons are just as bad as the mob members persecuting them.

I enjoyed completing this little church history series. I really enjoy Dean Hughes, and how he lets his characters grow, make mistakes, and even doubt, but ultimately they find their place. I found the story line about the Danites to be interesting and unique. I had heard of them, but didn’t know much about them, and so it was intriguing to watch the character deal with the ramifications of their existence. This series isn’t a new favorite of mine, but I still enjoyed reading it, and think they are worth picking up.

Dean Hughes website: