Book 55: Hidden Wives by Claire Avery

Posted June 17, 2010 by Felicia S in 2010 Read / 0 Comments


About:  Fifteen-year-old Sara and her beautiful sister, Rachel, are too young to legally drive a car—but are approaching spinsterhood in Utah’s secret Blood of the Lamb polygamist community. Having long since reached the “age of preparedness,” they will soon be married off to much older men selected by the hidden sect’s revered Prophet. As Sara, chosen to become her uncle’s fifth wife, grows more distraught over her impending incestuous marriage, she begins to scrutinize the faith she has followed blindly her entire life. But for Rachel, who will be married to one of the many powerful community leaders vying for her hand, disobeying the Prophet means eternal damnation. Her friendship with the newest member of the community, the young and handsome Luke, starts as an attempt to save his agnostic soul, but ends with the pair falling helplessly in love. When Rachel is forbidden to see him, her absolute faith in the Prophet is severely tested. When Rachel’s future husband is finally announced, violence erupts, and the girls must find the strength to escape the only life they have ever known…before it’s too late.

What I Loved: This story was gripping.  I was literally yelling in my head “get out” and “get out now”.  The authors are very good at portraying this community as one that could exist in any part of the US.  While everything is fictional, it all seems very real.  They do not try to “sugar coat” the different types of people that may exist in these communities and they do not “vilify” them either.  The characters are who they are: good, bad, or indifferent (and there is a little of each type in this community). The situation for these two coming of age girls is intense and complicated.  Sara and Rachel are at times brave, sad, mad, terrified, and unsure.  Their journey of questioning every thing they know vs every thing they feel will leave you breathless at times.

What I Liked: I really enjoyed how you got to meet so many different people even though the story was about the two girls.  All the different types of functioning members in these communities were essential to the story and really brought home how different that life is from everything that we know.

Why I gave it a 4:  This is not a light read but it is a very good one.  If you pick up this book thinking the community is like the show Big Love, you might disappointed.  This reminds me more of some the books I have read by women who have escaped these communities.  The story reads more real for a lack of a better way to put it.  I would recommend this to any fiction reader who likes stories of triumph over adverse situations.  I would even recommend this to non-fiction readers who can keep in mind that it is a fictional story.

I will be giving away 2 signed copies starting next week on my blog.  I will also be interviewing the authors, so if you have any questions please leave them in the comment section.  I have met these ladies, they are very kind and after reading the book I realize how very creative they are!

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Felicia S
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