Monday, December 7, 2009
Book Review: Abish
I am home from work finally and have been enjoying this rainy day. It would be a perfect day to curl up under a blanket with a good book, a fire, and some hot cocoa. But alas, I recently finished Abish: Faith Among the Lamanites (by Brenda Anderson) and have yet to pick up a new book to read. Too bad, because in the final chapters of Abish there is an exciting chase seen during a rainstorm; it would have been more effectual to read it during an actual storm.
So what is Abish about? Abish is the name of a person in the Book of Mormon; in fact she is one of only three women named therein. Only a few scant details are given about her, but what we do know is interesting. Author Brenda Anderson has taken these details and crafted a story (with some very interesting sub plots) around Abish, her father (also mentioned), Ammon and others. Here is what the back of the book says:
Abish, a young Lamanite, wants to believe her father when he proclaims he had a vision from God. Raised in traditions of hatred toward their enemies, the Nephites, she has a hard time swallowing his claims that the Nephite religion is the true gospel. Unable to deny the witness that bears the truthfulness of his words, Abish joins her father in his conversion.
But when their secret is discovered and they are threatened with treason, Abish must flee the city in order to protect herself and the precious knowledge she possesses. She journeys to the king s palace in the hopes of becoming a servant to the queen.
When Ammon, a Nephite missionary, is captured and brought to the palace, the Lamanites are shaken by the miraculous powers he possesses. When Ammon s preaching of the gospel causes extraordinary effects on the palace, Abish suddenly realizes why the Lord has brought her there, and what she has to do.
I really enjoyed reading Abish. Anderson's plot idea is realistic, logical, and accurate to what is found in the Book of Mormon. In the book, Abish is well developed and has both character strengths and flaws. I also enjoyed Abish's father and Zeram (her love interest) as characters. Anderson's writing was vivid and easy to follow--and as I noted above, there was plenty of action and excitement.
To give you additional insight into Abish, I fielded three questions to Brenda Anderson:
What inspired you to write about Abish, such a little-known character in the Book of Mormon?
Brenda: I was reading about Abish one day for my personal scripture study and I kept wondering what kind of vision her father had and how that vision may have affected their life. Pondering those questions led to "Abish."
Abish has some interesting and complicated plot/sub-plot lines. How did map it all out and how long did it take?
Brenda: I started writing "Abish" in the summer of 1998 and at that point it was a simple story about her life. I got sidetracked by a move and having more kids, so when I got back to the story, I felt it needed more; that's when I added the love story and the disgruntled cousin. After a few submissions and reading some great recommendations from editors--and a lot of prayer--, I came up with most of the other sub-plots. From start to finish, writing "Abish" took ten years.
Are you working on a new book? Is it another scripture-based concept?
Brenda: I am working on a new book--it may turn out to be a series, I don't know yet. This book will bring back many of the characters from "Abish," but the main characters will be young men. I believe it was very likely that Abish had a son or sons that later became stripling warriors, so I've come up with a story along those lines.
Thanks Brenda! I really enjoyed Abish and would love to read more from you in the future. Keep writing!
Scripture of the Day: D&C 128: 19, 23