Monthly Archives: April 2012

Hidden Wives by Claire Avery *Review*

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 polygamist Blood of the Lamb community. Having long since reached the “age of preparedness,” they will soon be married off to much older men chosen 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 know…before it’s too late. 

Sara and Rachel have been allowed to remain unmarried for far too long.  Most girls in the polygamous sect in which they live have been married by the age of 13.  The religion in which they have grown up requires men to be married more than once in what is called “celestial marriage” in order to get to heaven.  Most men do not stop at two wives, they marry and marry to attain a higher status within the community.  Where do they find all the women to marry?  They start looking at the young girls who are just hitting puberty.  They look within their own families to cousins, nieces and even daughters and stepdaughters.  The older men in a higher position of power within the church get their “pick of the litter” so to speak.

Sara has questioned her religion for a long time.  She does not agree that her pending marriage to her uncle is what God is calling her to do.  Her sister Rachel is mortified that Sara would voice her doubts.  Rachel has always blindly followed whatever the Prophet has told her and her family to do.  If it is the will of God, so be it.  But then something happens that starts to sway her.  She falls in love.  Believing the Prophet will sanction a marriage between her and Luke since they are obviously made for each other, she is horrified by what she is starting to find out about the Prophet, her father and the Church she so dearly loves that will make it impossible for her and Luke to be together.

Her father, believing her to be a whore since so many of the elders in the community have set their sights on her, hands down her punishment.  Sara cannot live with what is happening to her sister and vows, with the help of Luke and a friend, to save her and to leave behind the only home and the only life she has ever known.  Riveting, emotional and heartbreaking, Hidden Wives is an excellently written book with very real characters who will leave you cheering for them.  4/5 stars

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The Odds by Stewart O’Nan *Review*

Valentine’s weekend, Art and Marion Fowler flee their Cleveland suburb for Niagara Falls, desperate to recoup their losses. Jobless, with their home approaching foreclosure and their marriage on the brink of collapse, Art and Marion liquidate their savings account and book a bridal suite at the Falls’ ritziest casino for a second honeymoon. While they sightsee like tourists during the day, at night they risk it all at the roulette wheel to fix their finances-and save their marriage.

 

Would you risk it all on love?  That is one of the questions that will come to your mind as you read this slightly humorous tale about a couple that don’t quite seem to fit together anymore.  Not only is their marriage dangerously on the rocks, but everything they own is about to be lost as well.  In a crazy scheme, they decide to withdraw all the money they own, everything in their name, to see if they can win big at the very same casino they honeymooned at.  If they win, they can pay off the house and be free and clear of all debt.  If they lose, not only do they lose all their worldly possessions, but it will be a sign to them that their marriage is truly over and they will divorce.

Stewart, however, though willing to gamble away his fortune, is not so willing to give up Marion.  He still loves her and he wants to prove to her that he is in it for better or worse, for richer for poorer…

Marion is indifferent.  Bored with married life and disenchanted with love, Marion is almost eager to move on.  She’s already figuring out ways to tell their grown children and in her head she’s dividing up the furniture.

This book bugged me and I’m glad it was a short one.  Marion was so unmoved by everything Stewart did to show his love that I could clearly see she had no heart.  Stewart, needed to man up and come right out and tell her how he felt rather than tiptoeing around her.  And the ending!  Amazon’s reviewers gave this book a 4 star rating and on Goodreads it was close to a 4 star novel so I am clearly one of the few who finds fault with this book, so definitely read it and see for yourself.  I am sticking with my rating of 2/5 stars.