books, carolyn jessop, claire avery, escape, fiction, Hidden Wives, lady ozma, polygamy, review
Written by: Claire Avery
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.
Claire Avery has woven a stunning tale that could be ripped from today’s headlines. Shocking and empowering, Hidden Wives is a page-turning debut that will stay with the reader.
I’ll admit, this one came at the recommendation of someone. I guess it hit some reader list or a magazine somewhere and then it ended up on my desk so to speak. Looking for a change of pace, I finally fished it off the looming stack of books on my floor and decided to give it a whirl.
Who doesn’t like a good polygamy story after HBO’s fictional tale of “Big Love” or TLC’s glimpse inside of “Sister Wives“? Throw in a little Newt Gingrich infidelity drama with a dash of Washington State passing gay marriage laws to season the pot and you end up with quite the fervent interest in alternative lifestyles.
I have to admit, “Big Love” and “Sister Wives” tries to make polygamy look not-so-bad, but then you get the fundamentalist religious sects that make it look like a horror. As an inquisitive person fascinated by the human mind, I must admit to a desire to rubberneck.
Hidden Wives is a fictional story that comes off as a “ripped from the headlines of the FLDS” sort of saga. It centers around two sisters in their teenage years facing imminent arranged marriages. The oldest is lovely and desired by just about every man in the commune and the so-called prophet claims her for himself. The other, only months younger, learns she must marry a very close family member, much closer than “kissing cousins”.
Queue shudder right here.
The two end up running away, finding help, and aiding in the downfall of the religion they once claimed. If it sounds a lot like Carolyn Jessop’s story, well that hearkens back to my “ripped from the headlines” impression.