Wednesday, June 23, 2010

LDS Fiction: Out of the Box

Authors who are writing in the LDS fiction genre are often writing to a very specific target market. The plot and characters fall within that proverbial box of what is acceptable to LDS readers and what is marketable to LDS-specific readers.

Yesterday I received a review for Alma the Younger that I'm really excited to share . . . because it was written by a non-LDS reviewer. The review can be found on GoodReads, and is copied below as well.

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Jun 22, 2010
Maria Zannini rated it: 5 of 5 stars

Read in June, 2010
I asked to read Alma The Younger even though I am not Mormon, nor am I familiar with their teachings. I simply knew that I enjoyed Heather Moore's stories in the past, and wanted to review it from a 'secular' point of view.

You have to understand also that I read everything with a deep level of disbelief. I demand the author prove to me that s/he can tell a story and make me live it with them.

It came as a true delight that Heather Moore didn't whitewash anything. The main character, Alma the younger, is an antihero, and he was modeled so believably, I started to wonder midway how he was going to be redeemed.

I liked too that the reason for his anger and rebellion was completely plausible and even understandable. This was a thinking man, a man with a great emotional well for compassion for his fellow human beings. So when he did strike out, the reader could empathize with his anger. This wasn't a two dimensional character. This was a man of deep convictions.

Cassia, Alma's love interest is the perfect counterpart to all-too-serious Alma. She is so sweet and kind, a young girl stepping into womanhood and carrying that burden with amazing grace. The relationship she has with Alma was truly sensitive and beautifully painted. You could feel the tension in words not spoken and the great love neither could admit.

The story opens in the middle of a crisis and then goes backward in time to tell how it came about. This particular technique is very hard to pull off well, but Heather Moore had no trouble at all hooking me and keeping my interest throughout.

I will say that this story probably has more meaning to people of faith, but that does not limit it in the least in terms of scope or grand story telling.

The characters were so well described, I could envision them easily, and the pace was terrific. I am an impatient reader at best, and one of the telltale signs that a story has me hooked is my willingness to pick it up again after I've put it down. HB Moore accomplished this again and again. I had to find out what happened next. I had to know Alma's fate and those of his friends and enemies.

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely.

The writing is crisp, the pace is brisk and the characters are most certainly memorable. If I had any qualms about the story telling it's that I think Ms. Moore cheated me. LOL. I wanted to know much more about the world building.

Perhaps those of the Mormon faith already know this world too well, but I was so intrigued by the details, I was hungry for more.

Regardless whether you are a person of faith or not, the story stays with you. That is a testament in itself.

9 comments:

Michelle said...

That is awesome! I just finished Alma the Younger and LOVED it! Way to go Heather! What an awesome review!!

Snowcatcher said...

Congratulations! What a wonderful review! I, too, love your style of writing and hope you will continue your work. I can never wait for the next book to come off the press!

Maria Zannini said...

For the past few weeks I've been digging ditches and moving dirt. (for an irrigation system)

What was nice was coming in after a hard day knowing I could relax with a good book. Reading your novel was my reward for working hard that day.

Angie said...

That's super! Way to go, Heather.

Rebecca Irvine said...

Wow! What a fabulous review--she hits your writing right on the nose. Congratulations! I can't wait to read this one.

Heather B. Moore said...

Michelle, I'm glad you enjoyed the book!

Snowcatcher: I don't have anything slated for press in 2011, so I'm writing AMMON through the summer--usually I take the summers off for the most part. Then I'll be working on a new venture this fall--hope to post more soon.

Maria--you are crazy. Have I told you that before?

Angie--thanks!

Stephanie Black said...

Congratulations, Heather! What a great review. I can't wait to read it.

Annette Lyon said...

Great review! How awesome that Maria is so open to reading things that aren't typical fare for her--and then reviewing it so thoroughly.

(Go, Heather!)

kbrebes said...

You cheated her! lol. That, and the end of her review, brought tears to my eyes.