Christmas Book Review Series: Forbidden Faith
Welcome to the Exponent Book Review Series and Cyber Monday Giveaway!
Over this week and ending on Cyber Monday, we will share our thoughts on books that we think you should consider as possible Christmas gifts for yourself and others! As in the past, everyone who comments on a post will be entered into the draw to win a copy of one of the books that we have reviewed! (Choice of electronic or hard copies in the domestic US, digital copies outside of this area). Your comment on each post gives you one entry (multiple comments on the same post will not give you additional entries.) This year, we are adding comments on the Book Review posts shared on the Exponent Facebook page in addition to comments on the blog.
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Guest Post book review by Marie: Forbidden Faith, published by Cedar Fort.
Ever read a story and wonder what the other people in it are thinking or feeling? Maybe you love those stories and TV shows that tell fairy tales from the perspective of the villain such as the wicked Stepmother, the evil Queen, or the Big Bad Wolf? Well if that sounds familiar or like something you could be interested in then you definitely have to read Forbidden Faith by RH Roberts and Mechel Wall.
Roberts and Wall have taken the story of King Noah and the prophets, Abinadi and Alma the Elder, from the Book of Mormon and have told it through the eyes of two women who loved God and loved Noah at the same time: his mother, Mera, and his wife, Tamar. We don’t hear much of the women of the Book of Morm
on but it is evident that they were there. Roberts and Wall have taken the events depicted in the Book of Mormon and used creative license to elaborate on what happened in the days leading to and after these events, making it a historical fiction novel.
The story begins with two brothers, Jarom and Noah. Unfortunately it is not long before Jarom is forced to flee, but he never really leaves the story as our narrators are two women who also love Jarom so we still get glimpses of him throughout as they continue to remember him. The story takes place solely in the city of Lehi-Nephi, which is renamed Shilom when Noah is crowned king. Throughout the story we see people who have given in to greed and pride, but also those who know and love God and must choose every day to risk their lives and their families just to stay faithful. We see several characters growing in faith through their trials, trials that are not entirely unlike those we face today. We see others fall away and come back to God stronger than ever, and others still who die in unbelief.
There is so much I love about this story. One of my favourite characters is Tamar and Noah’s son, Limhi. Throughout the novel we get to watch him grow from a small boy to a man defending his mother and his people. Limhi is so relatable as he learns and grows under his mother and her friends about the scrip
tures and the righteous way to live his life, however as most of us, he also has a very strong force pulling him to do evil. Tamar has a moment when she must let him go and make his own choices and trust that she has taught him well. I felt in this moment that that’s what we all go through no matter what background we come from. We all have to be let go of, whether by our parents, our missionaries, or our Heavenly parents, and given the chance to prove what we’ve learned. Limhi proves himself time and again throughout the novel and can prove a brilliant example to young readers of this book.
Limhi wasn’t the only example though. In the Book of Mormon, we hear much more of Alma the younger’s ministry than that of his father, Alma the elder. In Forbidden Faith, Alma the elder is a secondary character for most of the novel so we really get to see more of who he might have been. Roberts and Wall have done a brilliant job of illustrating the world he grew up in to help readers understand how he could have been so understanding when his own son turned away from the Gospel.
While having a prior knowledge of the Book of Mormon adds incredibly to the experience of reading this story, it is not necessary. Roberts and Wall have included an introduction that sets the scene and have done a magnificent job at developing all of their characters. While the stories in the Book of Mormon clearly provided the inspiration and plot for this book, and the authors have stayed with the details that were explicitly provided, this novel is fully capable
of standing on its own. As you read from chapter to chapter, you will find yourself pulled into a whole other world; engrossed with the lives of these people. You may even have moments, like I did, where you wonder if Noah maybe wasn’t all that bad and perhaps it’s not his fault, and just when you start to feel sympathy for him you will be reminded that we are all given the choice of our own actions. Noah will remind you that he accepted his choice many years ago and has no problem with it. You will beg for characters’ lives and for others to just listen to what the prophet has to say!
And just in case their writing didn’t make you ask yourself enough probing questions, the authors were kind enough to provide questions for discussion at the end of the book.
This is a book that I can see myself enjoying again and again but also giving to friends and family, young and old, to enjoy with me. If you’re looking for a quick but enthralling and thought-provoking read, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy as soon as possible.
Marie is a self-acclaimed crazy cat-lady, aerialist, and storyteller. She recently signed her life away in marriage and likes to spend her spare hours downing in Netflix and baking goodies she really shouldn’t be eating anyway.