8/23/10

SARIAH


by Helen Gilberts

While women of the Bible long have played an important part in religious literature, women in the Book of Mormon have received little attention. The first—and one of the few—to be mentioned is Sariah, wife of Lehi who led a small colony from Jerusalem to the "promised land" (America) six hundred years before the birth of Christ.


With only a few sentences on which to build her story, Mrs. Gilberts does an extraordinary job of making the wealthy Jewess-turned-pilgrim come alive. The loneliness and frustration of pursuing her husband’s elusive dream over blistering sand and storm-lashed ocean make Sariah believably human, while her strength in holding her family together during times of conflict and doubt make her as much a heroine as Esther of Old Testament fame.


Whether she is in a desert tent struggling unattended to give birth to a son, or comforting a bereaved daughter-in-law, or rejoicing in a rare moment of beauty, she is a woman with whom feminine readers can identify ... and one whom masculine readers will appreciate.


Aside from her excellent characterizations, Mrs. Gilberts combines authenticity (based on years of research) with a quality of writing that comes very close to being poetic; the resuIt is a truly outstanding book. Unique in style and content, Sariah represents an important first in Book of Mormon fiction.