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Gold in Havilah Paperback – June 6, 2017
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From the Author
They say you should write the book you always wanted to read. That's where the inspiration to write Gold In Havilah came from, for those early chapters of Genesis are a life-long fascination of mine. There's nothing like that mysterious narrative about a paradise called Eden and the human beings who once lived both within it, and later, maybe just outside its gates. Apparently I'm not the only one, though some people's interest takes what appears to be more subtle forms. Everything from song lyrics to the legend of Atlantis to our craving for tropical vacation getaways enjoyed in the semi-nude suggest we know at an intuitive level that the earth was once a pristine bliss bath where there were no words for things like clothes and work and sickness. In her popular 1970 song, "Woodstock," songwriter Joni Mitchell expressed what many of us already ache in the knowing of: We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden. We all strive by some means--holy or profane--to get back to that garden. We want to be golden again.
Though my Gold in Havilah protagonist, Akliah, is a speculative character, her name, as well as her sister Luluwa's, are mentioned in several extra-biblical texts as being among Eve's children besides the two we know about: Cain and Abel. I've chosen to tell Akliah's story in the straightforward way the author/s of Genesis tell theirs, working from the assumption that the people and mysterious events in the Bible's first stories happened in real time and space, not serving as evasive metaphors for something else. If we accept that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are historical figures--and most historians do, not to mention traditional Jews, Christians and Muslims-- then why do we balk at the Adam and Eve tale just because it seems so otherworldly? That's part of the point: things have definitely changed around here since God created it in a pristine state. We don't have to understand something for it to be helpful, or true. And the first three chapters of Genesis offer about as good an explanation as any as to why things are the way they are on earth.
About the Author
Jean Hoefling is a freelance writer and editor living in Colorado, a state with too much sun and far too little fog. She writes indie book reviews for BlueInk Review and blogs for Relief: A Journal of Art and Faith. She has published two books on her journey into Eastern Orthodoxy (Regina Orthodox Press), and her essays and short fiction have appeared in several formats. She enjoys social dancing, hiking, fog, and church stuff. Gold in Havilah: A Novel of Cain's Wife is her first novel.
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Gold in Havilah is very beautifully written. The language is elevated and refined to a degree that every word creates a poetic cadence that seamlessly moves you from one page to the next. Before you know it, you'll be at the end of the book wondering how long you've been reading because you didn't even notice how immersed you had become.
This book is refreshing in its originality and sincerity. The author did not try to make Akliah a typical heroine with unwavering confidence and righteousness. Instead the inner turmoil of her character is central in telling a tale of redemption that mere mortals like myself can relate to.