As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"


THE STAR PROPHECY by Joan Sowards

written by Ranee S. Clark
My husband thinks it’s absolutely hilarious that I don’t like studying American west history or Wyoming history. I mean, I have a degree in history from the University of Wyoming. I live in the American west. But I can’t help that I just like European history and World War Two.


The Star ProphecyWhat does any of that have to do with reviewing The Star Prophecy by Joan Sowards? Well, when I read, I have the same problem. I’m LDS, but I hardly ever read LDS fiction. (I’m sort of stuck in a fantasy-adventure-I’ll-probably-have-to-stay-up-all-night-to-finish-this-book rut…) I’ll tell you the truth. I sort of shy away from it, and I don’t know why. But The Star Prophecy is a book I’m glad I snuck out of the box to read.

Set only months before the birth of the Messiah, The Star Prophecy takes place in several settings—mostly-wicked Zarahemla, the boat Jerusha Rebekah, and Jerusalem. It tells the story of a young man, Enoch, who dreams of finding the baby Jesus by sailing west across the ocean. He takes with him a crew of friends—some welcome, some not quite so. By relying on their faith, the crew sails month after month, from one adventure to the next in search of the prophesied Messiah.
I received The Star Prophecy at the perfect time. About a week before Christmas. I dove in the same day I got it, eager to get into the Christmas spirit by reading a Nephite Christmas story. Right out of the gate, I realized I’d probably really enjoy it! It combined so many elements that I’ve come to need in a good book—Adventure, some romance, good character development—and some things that I should seek more of—spiritually uplifting with lessons about faith and obedience.

I have lots of good things to say about the ideas and plot development of The Star Prophecy. Liz Adair (author of Counting the Cost) wrote about The Star Prophecy, “[Joan Sowards] begins this adventurous tale with ‘what if?’ and tells it so well that the reader closes the book thinking ‘why not?’” Liz had it right on. With every sentence into the book, I nodded my head to myself and said, “Yeah, that could’ve happened.” Every aspect is imaginative, yet thoroughly researched, making the plot believable. I once heard a writer compare a good plot and characters with the first stages of romance—when you walk away from a kiss or a date and that person stays on your mind. Even when I tore myself away from The Star Prophecy, I thought about Enoch and his friends. What will happen next? Will they make it to Jerusalem? The plot captures you inside and holds you there! The idea is so unique as well. My only critique of the plot development is that sometimes I felt a little gypped by how quickly some elements move along. There are moments in the story that I wanted to savor, to grow along with the character, but they happen too fast, and we move on to the next thing before I can linger.

Joan Sowards writes an excellent narrative. Another confession: my biggest pet peeve in writing is poorly done voice. That is—too many voices, jarring movements between voices, inaccurate jargon, etc. (If I’ve critiqued your work, you’ve probably noticed, hehehe J) The Star Prophecy has no problem with this. Enoch’s voice is believable, and consistent (only slipping up and using modern phrases a time or two). Though written in third person, Sowards stays with Enoch’s viewpoint throughout the novel, making it even easier to connect with him and the other characters. The narrative also flows well from idea to idea. The characters are lovable (and hate-able at times!). I enjoyed learning about each of them and coming to care for them. Their problems are easy to identify with, even though their trials took place hundreds of years ago.

Through Enoch, and all his friends, I’m sure you’ll love this imaginative tale about a boy with a dream and the lengths—and the places—he’ll go to see it through.

Chocolate Roses*Read more from aspiring author Ranee` S. Clark at raneesclark.blogspot.com.

Joan is the author of "We Seek After These Things" and other music as well.
Another book by Joan Sowards

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