Abish is one of the few women mentioned by name in the Book of Mormon, and as such, I've often wondered about her. She must have been a woman of tremendous faith, to proclaim her beliefs to everyone when she knew they would mock her and possibly even beat her for the things she said. Instead, she was an instrument in bringing King Lamoni's subjects to a knowledge of the truth, and aided Ammon's missionary work in that land.
K. C. Grant's first novel, "Abish: Daughter of God," explores all the what-ifs of this remarkable woman's life. Most of it is pure conjecture, as any book about Abish would have to be - we know so little about her. Conjecture though it may be, it made for a very interesting story.
We see Abish living with her parents - her father, a healer, renowned for his skill, and her mother, addicted to some of the drugs her father uses in his practice. Abish is adored by her father, unwanted by her mother, and wants to know where she fits in to the family picture. For a time, she works with her father in his trade, but then something happens to change everything. Her father had a vision of the goodness of God and the way in which He should properly be worshiped, and of the coming of a Savior. He is killed for speaking of his vision, but Abish heard his words and believed them.
Abish spends part of her childhood living in the palace as a playmate to the princess, and when she is sent home, her mother decides to arrange a marriage for her. She has fallen in love with someone else, but that's of no consequence - her mother is firm. Feeling she has no choice, Abish and her chosen love run away together, and thus begins a long period of separation between Abish and her people.
When the time comes for her to return, she meets a curious young man named Ammon, and together they discuss a way to bring the truth of the gospel to the people.
I enjoyed the story very much from a fiction standpoint. It was interesting to me to read about the traditions of the people, how they lived from day to day, and the things the author imagined might have happened to Abish throughout her life. However, I did wish that the two elements of the story that were based on scripture were given more attention. Her father's vision was only briefly mentioned, and the climax of the book, Ammon teaching the king, was only covered in the last small portion of the book. I would have liked to see more about each of these events.
That said, it was an enjoyable book. I found it well-written and I hope this author produces many more books for the LDS market.