Friday, January 20, 2017

Blog Tour/Review: Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael, by Diane Stringam Tolley
2017, 304p, LDS Historical Fiction
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way

Growing up around prophets and prophecies, Hannah and her sisters are excited to be betrothed to sons of Lehi and to journey to the promised land. But now with her people dividing, Hannah must choose between her faith and her family. Should she follow Nephi again, or stay with her husband, Lemuel, and her son in sin and misery? This compelling novel tells the familiar scripture story from an illuminating new perspective.

This story takes place in Jerusalem, around 600 BC. It's a different perspective on the opening chapters of the Book of Mormon. Hannah's family is close to the prophet Lehi and his family. Lehi's life is threatened and one day, he and his entire family disappear. Later, Lehi's sons return for Ishmael's family and take them to the wilderness where they marry the daughters and start their journey to the promised land.

This story is told from Hannah's perspective. She is a young woman of great faith who is promised to one brother and, when circumstances change, ends up marrying a different one. She is disappointed but learns to love her husband and tries to influence him for good. From reading the scriptures, I knew how the basic story would end but was interested in what would happen to Hannah. Hannah is easy to like. She stays true to herself and what she believes, even when she is ridiculed for it. She experiences plenty of heartache but there is always a feeling of hope that things will get better.

This book is well-researched and shows the struggles and trials these families went through, as well as the good times they had together. When I was younger, I would easily become frustrated with Laman and Lemuel and wish they had stayed behind in Jerusalem. This story illustrates the unconditional love parents have for their children and the multiple opportunities they will give them to change for the better. It's a powerful story which I enjoyed from beginning to end and it will stick with me for a long time!

Trained in journalism and raised by a family of storytellers, Diane Stringam Tolley has spent her life writing. From her first published work, “The Scary House,” penned in Mrs. Hainsworth’s grade six class, to her tenth novel, “Daughter of Ishmael,” Tolley has dipped into every genre from sci-fi/fantasy to spiritual. Her Christmas book, “Carving Angels,” has been featured on the “best of” holiday lists for Edmonton Public Libraries since its first release in 2011. And her follow-up novel, “Kris Kringle’s Magic” (2012) is currently a standard for discussions on prejudice and bullying throughout the Black-Gold region. Drawing on her upbringing on one of the last of the great old ranches of Southern Alberta, Tolley’s stories are filled with unforgettable characters, warm, family connections, and the strength of faith and love.

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Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This is absolutely wonderful!

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