Daughters of Jaredby H. B. Moore
Naiva, daughter of the dethroned King Jared II, lives in the shadow of her privileged elder sister, Asherah. But when Asherah develops a secret plot to return their father to the throne, Naiva's resentment turns to fear. Thwarting the scheme becomes more complicated when Naiva discovers that Akish, the first man who has shown interest in her, is an integral part of
Naiva, daughter of the dethroned King Jared II, lives in the shadow of her privileged elder sister, Asherah. But when Asherah develops a secret plot to return their father to the throne, Naiva's resentment turns to fear. Thwarting the scheme becomes more complicated when Naiva discovers that Akish, the first man who has shown interest in her, is an integral part of the plan.
Asherah traps Akish in a ploy to make him marry her, breaking Naiva's heart and leaving her feeling more alone than ever. Somehow Naiva must find the strength to stand against the encroaching evil in the kingdom and a sister who will stop at nothing to become queen. When Akish's wickedness escalates and threatens to destroy the bonds of sisterhood, Naiva must decide between protecting her sister and honoring her new belief in the true God-a forbidden belief that could cost her life.
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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!
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. Enjoy!