In this sequel to “Ishmael’s Daughter,” author Diane Stringam Tolley continues the speculative experiences of the Book of Mormon families of Lehi and Ishmael after they leave Jerusalem. Commanded by the Lord to join together in a journey to the Promised Land, Lehi’s sons eventually marry Ishmael’s daughters and begin their lives in the New World. Unfortunately, some of the matches result in better success than others.
"A House Divided" picks up where the original book ended, and readers will find Hannah recovering from the horrific events accompanying the escape of Nephi and his followers. As would be expected, King Laman took great offense at the idea that so many of those in his kingdom have chosen to follow his younger brother. His edicts require submission to his law or there will be measures meted out. And any believers in the God of Nephi who have been left behind, like Hannah, do not find mercy from the tyrannical king. Yet, miraculously, there is an exit provided for this faithful believing woman.
As the author reveals the experiences of one woman’s escape from the grasp of the wicked, she also tries to impress on readers the faith needed to make difficult decisions when following living prophets. Hannah’s choices, though founded in righteousness, still result in painful experiences. But the watchful eye of a loving God is preparing ways for this good woman to receive the blessings she has always desired.
The conflicts surrounding the separation of Lehi’s family are diverse and have deep consequences for both groups. Some who are innocent suffer unfairly and a number of the guilty seem to be rewarded for their actions. But the author does a fine job of helping readers see that initial appearances are not always the total truth in these situations.
There is no swearing or sex and some non-descriptive violence.
For those who enjoyed the original book “Daughters of Ishmael,” "A House Divided" will be a welcome addition to their library, but readers who start with this book will find little difficulty gathering in the story and enjoying the message.
Tolley is from Beaumont, Alberta, Canada, and has published several other novels.
Mike Whitmer lives in West Valley City and can be reached at email@example.com.