"SOULFIRE," by Betsy Love, Walnut Springs Press, $17.99, 303 pages (f)
In a novel filled with intrigue, suspense and attention to detail author Betsy Love brings Book of Mormon figures to life in “Soulfire.”
Well-known people in the Book of Mormon like Alma and Abinadi are woven into a compelling fictional story about Zephenia, her sister Sari and their father Laish. They live during the chaotic time of King Noah and his wicked priests. Love intertwines the story of an everyday family caught up in larger political events with the stories of Alma’s conversion, Abinadi’s sacrifice and Noah’s wicked reign.
While dealing with larger issues Love examines the timeless universal problems and concerns of marriage, faith and survival. Zephenia and Sari worry about the husbands their father will choose for them. They experience hard times and struggle to find food and shelter. They fear Lamanite invaders. They are caught up in the pull of those true to the faith and those who justify a more hedonistic lifestyle.
“Soulfire” is a fast-paced page-turner that builds to an exciting conclusion. Along the way readers see into the hearts of Book of Mormon people. The characters are drawn so that it is easy to relate to their inner turmoil. Filled with tension and intrigue, “Soulfire” is a book that is hard to put down until the final word. The ending leaves open the possibility to a welcome sequel.
Love did an amazing job with the research and the book gives a real picture of what it might have been like living in that time. Everyday details bring the scenes to life. Love writes, “A deerskin cloth, holding the last of their dried maize, hung at the top of the hut where the wall met the thatched roof. Zephenia measured out a small handful, placed it in the middle of the flat grinding stone and proceeded to grind the maize for their evening meal.”
A major theme in the book is patience in tribulation. Zephenia experiences many trials, but faces each one with patience and faith. While she doesn’t seek out trouble and wishes for a peaceful, happy life, she realizes that trials are a part of life and knows she will grow and learn from them.
The book contains no foul or profance language, but there is mention of alcohol use.
“Soulfire” is an exciting and satisfying read.
After attending BYU and the University of Utah for five years and not being able to settle on just one major, Connie Lewis decided to be a writer so she could keep studying all things wonderful and new.