Wow. Just wow. Heather B.Moore is an author who is extremely skilled at bringing the scriptures to life. This story is based on the 10th century B.C. scriptural account from the Book of Ether in The Book of Mormon. (I believe this ancient story can be appreciated by readers of all faiths). It was a time of much corruption and struggle for power within the ruling family. I recognized the structure of the tale and the real-life characters from my own scripture study, but this novel is written in first person perspective from second daughter Naiva's point of view. She is an innately good person, loyal to her sister even at great sacrifice to herself. I was frustrated that she recognized the manipulation by her family but continued to serve them out of love. As she learns about and turns to the Lord instead of the idols and gods she was raised with, He strengthens her in her trials and guides her path. There are some seriously humbling and heart-breaking experiences for herself and her family, but the support she is lacking from her sister she finds with a few devout servants of the royal household and Levi, Akish's righteous brother. Naiva's sweet romance with Levi was thwarted at every turn, and I wondered if she would ever have her own happy future. Even though I knew the general story from the scriptures, I was riveted with Naiva's journey and the rich details the author used to make it easy for the reader to envision the ancient time period. Highly recommend, especially to fans of Biblical fiction.
(Thank you to Ebooks For Review for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
My wife snatched this book from me before I really got a chance to read it. She finished it in record time, and when it was my turn, I could see why.
It takes a great deal of skill to take a story that has already been told (the story of Jared's daughter as found in scripture), and make it a compelling page-turner anyway.
Moore handily built solid, believable characters I could relate to. Even though I'm not a woman, I could still empathize with the various troubles the daughters of Jared--particularly Naiva, the main character--faced. The great struggles she endured through made the ending a much greater--and sweeter--victor; the book has a very fitting conclusion.
Moore's earlier book, "Alma" hooked me. "Daughters of Jared" has totally convinced me she is a story teller worth listening too. This was a great read!
Maybe I should write a review on behalf of my wife, but since she's the timid type, I'll just pass along her experience.
I bought a signed copy today. I handed it to my wife to show her the signature; she didn't give it back. In fact, she didn't put the book down until she finished, later this evening (she reads fast).
My wife loved the story, and I've really enjoyed what I've read thus far. I'll come back with my review once I'm done.
My wife also said that Moore did a great job pulling off the tricky task of writing 1st person present tense--something my wife usually doesn't like.
I'm glad I bought this book. :)
"What have I done?" my sister asks me.
H.B. Moore has beautifully written another great Book of Mormon story. Inspired by the Book of Ether, the author takes us on a whirlwind ride of politics, deceit and love.
Naiva is the main character and we learn much from her point of view about the palace and royal intrigue. Her life is changed forever by a greedy king, a selfish princess and dark oaths as old as Cain himself.
Naiva is the second daughter, the one who gives everything to help the first daughter, Ash. Ash has plotted to help her father, the king, resume his throne. She makes a plan to dance for Akish and when he asks for her hand in marriage, the king will ask for one thing-the head of his father, Omer, reigning king. Akish agrees.
Ash's choice to get her father back on the throne throws them all into a twisted life that no one could predict the outcome.
As the story progresses, Naiva questions her life as a princess, daughter and sister in the sinister game of royalty. She also learns more about the gods her family worships and the one true God her grandfather worships. Which one will help her and her family?
Naiva also wonders when is the right time to lead your own life and not the one dictated by others selfish or abusive desires?
Many times through the story I wanted to hug then slap Ash. What kind of person turns on her sister? And I kept wishing Naiva would run away.
H.B. Moore does an excellent job of weaving scripture, description and fiction. Everything from the food to the clothing to the stone to Naiva's paintings added to the story.
I know there are many who shy away from "Mormon fiction" and I understand that thought process. H.B. Moore is one author I have no problem recommending to any reader because of her writing style and deep research.
After reading DAUGHTERS OF JARED, I turned to The Book Ether (in the Book of Mormon) and read the account of Akish and Jared. I wanted to read the scripture account of Akish and Omer.
Keep 'em coming, Ms. Moore!
Rating: PG 13
Not enough Levi! :)
The first book I read by H.B. Moore was Abinadi, and I have been a huge fan ever since. I especially love that Daughters of Jared was about two sisters and their loyalty to each other despite the very different choices and paths they take. I've always overlooked the story of the daughters of Jared, not really thinking about them and the impact their lives had on a generations of people. But this book reminded me that each of us - no matter what our role is here on Earth - has a unique way of influencing not only our spouses and children, but our friends, neighbors, and future generations. And with the internet, there are so many who read blogs or are followers on Facebook or Twitter - and each of them, whether they are close friends or cyber buddies - learn and grow from each other. I'm grateful that H.B. Moore brings scripture stories to life, with vivid characters and such an in-depth look of what their lives may have been like. I look forward to sharing this book with my 11 year old daughter, who pulled Abinadi off my book shelf a few months ago and absolutely loved it. She's working her way through the series, and I just love her questions and the conversations we've had. I highly recommend Daughters of Jared. It's definitely one to add to your To Read list!
DAUGHTERS OF JARED
By H. B. Moore
H. B. Moore’s decade-long immersion in Book of Mormon research and Meso-American culture has produced eight previous novels based on this beloved book of scripture. In "Daughters of Jared", her ninth Book of Mormon-based novel and eleventh book overall, Moore fills her pen with that rich understanding and illustrates this world in vivid detail, deftly interweaving excellent storytelling into an historical account of deception and intrigue pulled from the Book of Ether. The result is a novel with appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.
Moore’s use of a fictional, under-regarded, second daughter of Jared provides a unique perspective on the events of this dethroned king and his power-hungry eldest daughter. The author effectively ramps up the tension and character development in the book by playing the two sisters off one another, leaving the true nature of their relationship fragile and unclear, and the fate of the heroine in peril until the book’s end. It’s an interesting plot device that serves the book well.
For the sake of space I'll omit the back cover description about the book and share my experience reading it.
The story will be familiar to readers of the Book of Mormon, but this tale of power and corruption is ageless with universal appeal, even to those unfamiliar with the scriptures upon which "Daughters of Jare"d is based.
No matter one’s familiarity with the Book of Mormon account, Moore’s research brings this complex culture to life, shedding light on previously obscure facets of Meso-American religion, customs, dress, diet, hierarchy, and geography. The author follows the historical record, and with the addition of a few support characters, she fills gaps with intriguing, plausible storytelling that breathes life into the history.
But "Daughters of Jared" serves as more than a good historical fiction read. Readers that may have an objection to fictionalized accounts of scriptural stories can trust Moore’s instincts. As in her previous books, Moore takes her readers into the culture, delivers a great read, and leaves them with a war-chest of insights and understandings of this civilization and culture that will enhance their personal scriptural study of the Book of Mormon.
I’d also recommend "Daughters of Jared" as an insightful family read. H.B. Moore is a deft writer and an avid scriptorian who strikes a perfect balance—able to deliver a compelling story while delicately touching on the principles and lessons contained in the original scriptural narrative. Her book, "Daughters of Jared," offers parents an opportunity to launch into discussions on topics such as loyalty, accountability, faith in adversity, and a host of others.
"Daughters of Jared" is a book I highly recommend, but take full advantage of all the benefits it offers to enrich not only your pleasure reading, but your understanding of this period and people.
I am a great fan of Heather B. Moore's Book of Mormon books and this is perhaps one of my favorites! This book is a fast read but that doesn't take away from the poignant and emotional ride you experience along the way!! I felt a connection to the story (although very less extreme or intense!) and the struggle felt of the choice between family and beliefs hit home. Excited to read it again!
Two things stood out in this novel, besides the fact that it was well written.
First, the author certainly knows Meso-American culture and history. Having read a couple of her other works set in the same general area and time, I wasn’t surprised, but I must say that her research here really shines. Her descriptions of dwellings, clothing, makeup, food, and rituals easily transported me into the world and story scripturally described by Moroni in the the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon. Some may argue about the need or even the propriety of fictionalizing scripture, but I, for one, have no problem distinguishing between a work of scripture and a work of fiction. Besides, the story of the daughter of Jared has everything a novelist dreams of: love, betrayal, secrecy, murder…and a happy ending (at least for the good guy). And that’s just the scriptural account!
This leads me to the second aspect of Moore’s work that stood out for me. In taking the brief outlines of a story provided in the eighth chapter of Ether, she wisely introduced a fictional sister of the “wicked” daughter of Jared–Naiva. Unlike her older sister, Asherah, Naiva is appalled at the idea of assassination, but isn’t sure enough of herself to argue. Indeed, she is so tied to her sister that when things become difficult and there appears to be an easy way out for her she somehow can’t force herself to take it, even though the reader is screaming for her to do so. (In fact, if there is a weakness to the novel, it is that the reason for that bond wasn’t established clearly and firmly enough early on in the story.) I didn’t like her decision at first, but had to admit later that it gave a certain complex depth to her character. (Also, the author no doubt felt tied to the chronology of the scriptural story with regard to the fate of Naiva’s nephew, Shez.)
Moore could have chosen to tell the story through Asherah’s point of view (with no fictional sister), showing the change in her character as the terrible decisions she makes lead to horrific results. That might have proven a more interesting approach. It would have been challenging, however, because she’s hard to like for much of the story.
I only wish the book had been longer. I would have loved even more detail about the plotting, their royal life, and so forth.
Regardless, I highly recommend Daughters of Jared.
This latest novel by H.B Moore has got to be one of her best so far. I don’t think I even took a breath during the first 100 pages. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration and I most likely had to have, but only when the words started to blur and I reminded myself to do so. The tension between the heroine, Naiva, her sister, Asherah, and Akish was palatable throughout. Throw in the strong, mysterious and devoted Levi, and the emotional tension soared. The way in which Moore recounts this Book of Mormon story reminded me of Like Water for Chocolate where the culture dictated the duties of daughters according to birth order, and the unfairness of being born first, or second in Naiva’s case—only without any naked horse riding, of course.
Uh-uh! Moore’s book has plenty of romance, spine tingling kisses and love triangles, but no shenanigans atop a horse or any other surface for that matter. So, no worries. For those of you who like a clean historical romance mingled with intrigue, betrayal and a healthy dose of comeuppance, this is the novel for you.
Even though this book is a work of Fiction, it has characters who are well known from the Book of Mormon. We have Asherah, who dances for Akish and she becomes his wife. Even though Akish has eyes for Ashera's younger sister Naiva, who's point of view this book is written. Naiva enjoys Akish's attentions at first, but when she hears of the plot to kill her Grandfather, and Akish is the one who will gladly do it, with the help of her sister and father's encouragement. Being trapped by devotion to her family, Naiva takes you on a journey of sorrow, heartache, evil, love, and the realization that she is not alone and her prayers are heard even if they are not answered when she wants or in the way she thinks they should happen.
Naiva is a true heroin who loves unceasingly, while everyone and everything around her are falling apart. With Faith she presses forward until the day she can be free of her burdens and be with the man she loves. Even if it takes her years.
Review by G.G. Vandagriff
H.B. Moore’s latest fiction draws from The Book of Ether, Chapters Eight and Nine, in the Book of Mormon. She takes the bare bones of the story of the wicked, avaricious Akish, the dethroned Jared (the second) and his ambitious daughter whom she names Asherah. The richly layered story is told from the point of view of Naiva, the fictional sister of Asherah. This sympathetic character watches as her weak father is destroyed by the oaths and secret combinations that Asherah has uncovered and imparted unto her husband Akish. Using her wisdom of human nature, Moore spins Naiva’s tale beyond the scriptural account, taking thoughts and actions of her characters to what seem to be inevitable conclusions.
Moore’s writing skill has developed in artistry and intensity with this book. The following paragraphs are offered as an example:
“Akish and my father spent many hours together, working by torchlight well into the night. As each night crept by, the sense of dread increased. As each morning dawned, I felt as if I couldn’t quite catch my breath. I was always listening, always waiting and wondering when the news of the foul deed would be delivered.
“I thought of my grandfather more than I had ever previously done. Each moment I lived, I wondered if it would be the last moment he lived.”
The tale of treachery is balanced by the tale of Naiva’s conversion from an idol worshiper to a disciple of the true God, as followed by her grandfather. This is a rich story, replete with a sweet romance. In contrast to Naiva’s goodness, is the foul trajectory set by one selfish woman who uses her charms for evil, letting her ambitions lead her into the foulest of crimes.
The Daughters of Jared reveals Moore’s writing at a new height of power. Highly recommended.
Heather Moore has an exceptional talent for writing an interesting story that makes me want to pull out my scriptures and re-read the real thing. I really appreciate any historical fiction that makes me want to go to the history books (scriptural or otherwise) for more information.
This was shorter than her other novels, but the length was good. I liked the characters, even though Naiva's selflessness after what she'd been through was hard to imagine.
Levi's love seemed to come out of no where (the characters hardly knew each other), but their interaction over time and their commitment was sweet (especially the dialogue at the end of Chapter 34).
This was an enjoyable, fast read that made me want to work on being less selfish.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.
Daughters of Jared is a thrilling tale of a young woman caught in a web of evil spun by her sister. The story follows the journey of these two sisters - both searching for something different. One for glory and power, the other for peace and faith.
Naiva, the younger sister, adores her elder sister Asherah. But when Asherah's plots to gain their father their throne lead her down a path to attempted murder, Naiva soon realizes that she needs to protect herself from her sister's wiles - as well as those of her new brother-in-law Akish. When Naiva does not give in to Akish's demands, she is sent away. In her desperation, she meets a servant boy who introduces her to God. Not one of the many gods of her childhood and culture, but the one true God. The plot thickens when Akish learns of Naiva's budding beliefs and has her banished for treason and conspiracy.
This story is beautifully written and the reader gets a marvelous sense of the struggles of a blossoming faith in circumstances where such things were not tolerated. Several of the characters bring about much wickedness throughout the course of the story, but there are many who quietly go about doing the work of the Lord - showing that with faith and prayer and trust in God, miracles are possible.