Sister Wife tackles an interesting and challenging history. Polygamy isn't a comfortable subject, but, as it was a practice in the early Mormon years, and the endless possibilities for stories makes it rich ground for novels, the topic makes for a page turner. After a slow start that contained a few too many cute scenes with lots of relationship building and a lisping child, the story took off and became compelling. Heavy topics, both spiritual and relational, are covered with sensitivity. Interestingly, Noble has tossed in multiple viewpoints and the reader gets to see the inner drama unfold between members of the growing MacKay family. Parental warning. I wouldn't recommend it for children due to the subject matter and drama over sleeping arrangements.
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Kelly Klepfer (KellyKlepfer)
Feb 11, 2009
Jun 8, 2012 02:25 AM UTC
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On the long journey between England and the U.S. in 1841, Lady Mary Rose Ashley falls in love with Gabriel MacKay. Her grandfather has become a saint, a follower of the new religion founded by Joseph Smith, and he's leaving his wealth and estates for a life in their community. Mary Rose has serious doubts about Mormonism, as does Gabriel, but after witnessing a miracle performed by Brigham Young, they become believers. But even though she has embraced her grandfather's faith in the fledgling church, Mary Rose is overcome with jealousy and a sense of betrayal when the Prophet orders that her beloved husband, Gabriel, take a second wife—her best friend, recently widowed Bronwyn Carey. This evenhanded, carefully researched treatment of the history of the Latter-day Saints includes a nonjudgmental look at the beginnings of polygamy. The Sister Wife is the first in Noble's Brides of Gabriel series, which, given the popularity of Big Love—the HBO television drama about a Fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah—should be a big hit with readers. --Shelley Mosley