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Monday, September 28, 2009

What They Did Right--A Review of H.B. Moore's Novel, Alma

To me, one of the most important elements a good book must have is a life lesson and/or spiritual insight, like those found in some of my favorite classics, "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Rebecca," and "Jane Eyre." Unfortunately, incorporating insight into our work without being didactic can be tricky, but I'm happy to say H.B. Moore has done just that in her recently released novel, "Alma." Sure, her fictional story is based on a true story from the Book of Mormon, but Moore does not use that ready medium to preach. Like any master craftsman, she lets her characters and conflict reveal important truths for her.

For instance, one of ALMA's lessons, or themes, is the importance and power of patience. Every one of Moore's righteous, main characters struggles with it. First, there's Rachel, Abinidi's grieving widow. Though initially unwilling to open her heart to another, she plows forward with her day to day challenges until the Lord eventually heals her heart enough that she can again find joy.

Similarly, Maia, one of King Noah's widows, faces a worse fate, yet she patiently submits to abuse and servitude while simultaneously pleading with and relying on the Lord to deliver her. Alma and Helam, Abinidi's brother, also deal with like challenges. In fact, all of Alma's people subject themselves to the power of their enemies, knowing the Lord will, in the end, free them.

Of course, the beauty and strength of these lessons, are not the only reasons you should read ALMA. Actually, H.B. Moore is an exceptional storyteller. I mean, how many of us can create suspense in a story that nearly all LDS readers are already familiar with?

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