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Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite
Gold in Havilah: A Novel of Cain's Wife by Jean Hoefling explores the extent of Akliah's desire to be with her brother, Cain. In addition to her infatuation, the book explores how far Cain wandered away from the righteous path of his parents due to his insatiable thirst for searching for the unknown. While Eve and Adam were too focused on the prophecy, which declared that their seed would crush the head of Serpens, Cain felt his parents did not appreciate his skills. Anytime Cain would try showing off his talents, Adam rebuked him for not contemplating the ways to crush Serpens.
Gold in Havilah appears to be about the beginning of time; however, it is closer to our time in so many ways that it's astounding. Kids seek acknowledgment from their parents and when they feel unaccepted, they lose their way. This attribute is very efficiently evident in Cain's character. He could not get Adam to recognize his many skills that had nothing to do with the prophecy. Therefore, he began looking for recognition elsewhere. When Lilith praised his abilities and encouraged him, he could not help but be drawn toward her. The author has not shied away from plumbing the depths of negativity that Cain would have fallen into in the company of Lilith. He did despicable things and began detesting his parents' ways of doing things. Even after his few encounters with the divine, he could not discern his transgressions.
The author has taken complete creative freedom in the book, which made it a compelling read. Whether it was the inner turmoil of Akliah or the conversations of the characters, each aspect was relatable. The author ensured that the story did not become predictable by placing just enough twists to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy a dark twist to their historical fiction. Although some may not like how negatively Cain has been portrayed in this story, more openminded readers will commend the author for her imagination.