Monday, August 23, 2010

The Sister Wife by Diane Noble

From the back cover:

What if the man you loved told you God wanted him to take another wife?
What if the woman was your best friend?

Set in the heart of the earliest days of a new 19th century sect known as the Saints, The Sister Wife, is a riveting account of two women forced into a practice they don't understand, bound by their devotion to Prophet Joseph Smith. When Mary Rose marries Gabriel, neither of them could foresee how quickly the community would turn to the practice of plural marriage. Devastated when Gabe is faced with an order from the Prophet to marry her best friend, Brownyn, Mary Rose tries to have the faith to carry through with the marriage. But can she really be married to the same man as her best friend?

Can Mary Rose and Brownyn face betraying both their husband and their God to do what is right?

My take:

Mormon polygamy is a subject which has been in the new the last few years. From the legal proceedings against various polygamy leaders to the success of HBO's drama series Big Love, Mormon polygamy has been brought to the attention of the American culture. I am a fan of Big Love, and I admit the show has made me ponder the psychological and sociological aspects of modern day polygamy.

The first section of book, where they are on the ship to America was a little slow for me, however I felt the story picked up when they arrived in Nauvoo. Almost from the beginning, Mary Rose is hearing the rumors of polygamous relationships amongst the leadership of the sect. The scenes were Joseph Smith gives the men his revelations about polygamy were fascinating. It was deceptive and manipulative all at the same time, just like Eve and the snake in the Garden of Eden. The later scene where Gabe is trying to convince Mary Rose that it is imperative for his marriage to Brownyn to be consummated is just as manipulative.

I won't say The Sister Wife was an easy read, because it was not. However, it was one of the most thought provoking books I've read this year. It was not a light read, quite honestly I found it to be spiritually dark in many places. A Christian reader will be shaking their head at the Mormon theology, and at the actions of the characters. However, the light is there, peaking through the darkness. The seeds of later redemption are planted.

The Sister Wife was a book which stayed with me long after I read the last page. Honestly, it is the first book I can remember renewing at the library, even though I've finished reading it. I look forward to the rest of the books in the series, and to the journey to redemption.


Laura Frantz said...

I love the cover of this book, Michelle. And it's intrigued me simply by the subject matter. You've just added another title to my toppling stack:) Since we like the same books, I think it will be a thought-provoking read, too. Glad you're back:)

Michelle said...

So glad I could add another book to your stack. ;) I think a good tbr pile is bottomless. I know mine definitely is. I'm so glad I was able to get the library to get this one. I actually squealed in joy when I realized they were getting it.

Glad to be back. :)