Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Sister Wife-Diane Noble

The Sister Wife
Diane Noble
Avon, Jun 22 2010, $12.99
ISBN: 9780061962226

In 1841 recently converted to Mormonism, Lady Mary Rose Ashley travels by ship from Liverpool, England to America. On board the Sea Hawk, she meets ship builder Gabriel MacKay. They are attracted to one another; she introduces him to her new religious beliefs; and they marry.

The newlyweds settle in Nauvoo, where Mormon prophet Joseph Smith preaches his revelations from God. Joseph’s latest proclamation is that polygamy is acceptable and encouraged. He directs Gabriel to wed Mary Rose’s best friend, the widow Bronwyn so she can be taken care of. Gabriel and Bronwyn agree to marry, but she insists on a nonphysical arrangement; however Mary Rose believes that though she is his first wife she might be losing her husband to his second wife. Then there is Enid who plans to become Gabriel’s first wife regardless of prior spouses.

The first Brides of Gabriel tale is a strong relationship historical drama that takes a deep look at Mormon polygamy without preaching pro or con. Instead the cast makes the tale powerful as engrossed readers reflect on their belief system that encourages under certain proscribed circumstances multiple marriages in order to economically support several households that insures the caring of widows and orphans. Americana readers and those interested in alternate societal systems will relish the well written The Sister Wife.

Harriet Klausner

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