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'Daughter of Helaman' is engaging, insightful

By Shelby Scoffield

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 23 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

"DAUGHTER OF HELAMAN," by Misty Moncur, Bonneville Books, $13.99, 198 pages (f)

Misty Moncur’s “Daughter of Helaman” is an engaging, creative piece of LDS fiction that speaks to the faith of the Nephite people during the trying times in which they lived.

The novel introduces readers to 15-year-old Keturah, a young Nephite woman who has a secret passion for weapons and fighting. Instead of focusing on becoming a housewife, Keturah spends her days observing the Nephite army during its preparations for war.

Coming from a family of all brothers, Keturah is eager to learn the skills of a warrior. After meeting a young solider named Gideon, Keturah begins to secretly train with him, and eventually she starts to admire and care for him. Nonetheless, she hopes to prove to those around her that she is worthy of joining the army. She meets resistance along the way, not just from her family, but also from Zeke, a boy who has loved her since childhood.

Keturah finally proves she is capable of fighting in the army, and she does this by defeating Gideon in a mock fight. The scene is action-packed and engaging.

Moncur demonstrates a knowledge of the Book of Mormon. Though she writes a fictional story, she based it during events that actually happened in the Book of Mormon. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will appreciate the insight and the deep-rooted faith that is evident throughout her novel.

Moncur, who studied at Weber State University, clearly demonstrates a talent for creative writing. Coupled with her knowledge of the scriptures, she is a masterful storyteller.

This book will be most appealing to young girls who would rejoice in the strong-willed resolve of Keturah.

It’s most definitely a girl-power book, and young women will be rooting for Keturah throughout the course of the novel.

The love triangle remains unresolved, however. Though it is a seemingly minute part of the story it is significant nonetheless. Who does Keturah end up with? Does she stay true to her childhood love Zeke? Or does she fall for Gideon?

Perhaps those questions will be answered in a sequel.

Shelby Scoffield is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a graduate student at California State University, Stanislaus.

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