Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Wives of Henry Oades (giveaway)

The Wives of Henry Oades
by Johanna Moran
384 pages

*** About the Book ***

In the mid-1800s in New Zealand, Englishman Henry Oades arrives home to find that his wife and four children have been abducted by a local tribe and his home had been burned. After months of fruitless searching, he comes to the conclusion that his family is all dead. Unable to bear the memories, he moves to California to begin a new, solitary life. After 6 years he meets a young, pregnant widow. The two bond over their shared circumstances and decide to marry. Just a few short months into their new life together Henry’s first family shows up on his doorstep. They survived 6 years in captivity and have been trying to contact him for months. Now Henry is faced with a decision – should he keep one wife and put the other aside? Or is there another solution? The town is in an uproar, convinced that Henry and his unusual family are polygamists, and they bring all three people - Henry and his two wives - to trial.

*** Why I Read It ***

The fact that this book is based on a true story captured my imagination and attention. I read it for the TLC Book Tour.

*** My Thoughts ***

I really enjoyed this book, mostly because the story is so unusual and yet it is based on truth. I kept imagining what it would be like to be in either of the wives positions, or even in Henry’s. This was one of those books where I had to summarize it to my husband at various points and get his input. We had some great discussions about it but, of course, didn’t come to any conclusions. I would imagine that this would be a great book club book. The fact that this actually happened (the basic story at least) – there is simply so much to discuss!

It is a quick read and that is always a bonus. I breezed through it in three days and never felt bogged down.

There is one thing that really bothers me about this book, but it didn’t appear until the Readers Guide at the end so I can’t say that it is a problem with the book itself. In the Readers Guide there is mention made of the original case summary published in a California newspaper. (As a side note, I’d have loved for that abstract to be included in the book!) The note goes on to say that some people suspect that this case was all a hoax to illustrate a loophole in the law. What?! All along I’d been treating this as a story based on actual fact. If all there is to the story is a newspaper article that may or may not be true, that changes my opinion of the book in a big way. I wasn’t able to find any more details during a quick internet search, so if anyone knows more than I do about this please let me know.

*** Your Thoughts ***

Does this book sound like one you’d enjoy? Did my issue with the Readers Guide affect your opinion either way?

Here are some other reviews you might want to check out:

*** Giveaway ***

Thanks to the publisher I have a copy of this book for one lucky blog reader in the US or Canada. Here's how to enter:
  • Leave a comment telling me why this book appeals to you.
  • Be sure to leave your email address or have it easily accessible through your profile.
  • You must have a US or Canadian mailing address to win (sorry, this is the publisher's requirement).
  • If you win you must reply to my email notification within 24 hours or I will choose another winner.
  • The winner will be drawn on Sunday (03/14/10) so don't delay, enter now!


Marjorie said...

I thought the review of this book is really good and very interesting.
Please count me in for this novel.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Dana said...

Please enter me! I've been wanting to read this book for a while - the plot sounds so interesting and unique!


Great review!

Julie P. said...

Well I wanted to read it anyway after reading all the reviews on the tour, but now that you've mentioned this hoax thing, I'm really interested!



mariag said...

I really enjoyed this review.

I love historical fiction based on real life events and for that reason I think I would really enjoy this book.

Please enter me to win.



A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I want to read this book because it's set in New Zealand, which I've never read much about. Thanks for the giveaway.


Linda said...

The idea of this situation is very intriguing. The fact that the "real" aspect is possibly a hoax detracts, but it still sounds very intriguing. Thanks for the giveaway.

Aarti said...

No need to enter me as I just won a copy of this book! I'm really excited to read it because I adore New Zealand :-) And the story sounds fascinating!

sharon54220 said...

The book sounds very interesting. I've been wanting to read this for awhile.

Thanks for the chance.

pixie13 said...

Sounds like a good read. The fact that it may have been a hoax doesn't bother me at all. Please count me in. Thanks!


bermudaonion said...

I've been anxious to read this ever since I heard that it's based on a true story so that note in the reading guide does disturb me a little. I'd love to be entered in the giveaway. milou2ster(at)

Ti said...

No need to enter me. I just stopped by to say that it's nice to be able to discuss a book with your husband. My Hub is not a reader and although I do at times mention what I am reading, but the eyes glaze over and I get the polite comments. It irks me to no end.

Florinda said...

No need to enter me in the giveaway, since I've already read this, but my copy was a galley that didn't have the Readers' Guide (or if it did, I skipped it). So it might NOT be based on actual events after all? THAT'S an interesting twist. I'm curious now!

longbrakeliving said...

The Reader's Note makes me want to read this more! I was hoping someone in the comments would know more about this, but no luck yet. Keep us updated if you find anything out!

Like Ti, my Hubby and I don't talk about what I'm reading much. He doesn't really understand reading for pleasure or reading to learn about different people or ways of life. Oh well, at least I learn!

Suey said...

Seriously, what WOULD you do in this situation? Which wife is "right?" It really would make for a good discussion, wouldn't it?

I would think a situation or two has cropped up like this in real life whether or not it ended up in court or not. So that little tidbit didn't bother me.

(Oh, and you know not to enter me in the giveaway!)

amy said...

Please enter me! I have been hearing good things about this book for months and I just wrote a research paper on polygamy. I would be very interested to read this book.:)

Thank you!

nfmgirl said...

This is a nightmare situation! We've all heard the story of the woman who's husband goes missing in war, and a decade later she has remarried and he turns up again. What do you do? In love with two people who are meant to be in two different eras of your life, now present in the same era.

BTW: You say that you will draw for the winner on 3/7, but you just posted the giveaway on 3/9. So I think there is an error there!

Thanks for the chance!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Alyce said...

It would truly frustrate me to learn that something was a hoax after being lead to believe it was true. As fiction I wouldn't mind it so much if it was stated up front though.

skkorman said...

I would like to read this book because I am a fan of historical fiction and the plot line sounds compelling!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

My Eclectic Reads said...

I've been waiting for a contest on this book. It's been on my wishlist for a while. Such a fascinating story. I'm really curious how it ended. Now, I'm also interested in the "hoax"!!

Oregon Kimm

Bonnie said...

I've been interested in reading this book since I first heard about it. The mystery about the two wives and that it was based on a true story interested me. Now that you mentioned that it may have been a hoax makes the book more interesting!

Count me in!

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

I too was interested in reading this because it was based on a true story. Now, knowing that it might be a hoax, I don't know if it makes it even more tempting to read or not. I am very interested in polygamy. I watch the HBO show Big Love and I think it's just so weird. It would be interesting to read about a family that is accused of it and it's not even true!

Thanks for the giveaway (I'm in the U.S.)!


madwoman-doing-cartwheels said...

This book has been on my TBR list and I think the main reason is because it is based in New Zealand and based on a true story. Both of those points fascinate me.

rubymoonstone at gmail dot com

Bookie said...

I like historical fiction so this book is a must for me

dawnpnr at aol dot com

LisaMM said...

Hi Heather, Sorry it took me so long to get over here! Great review. I read about the possibility of it being a hoax on someone else's review on the tour (can't remember which one) and was really surprised!! But for me, it doesn't make it any less interesting. I love that you're able to talk about books with your husband. My hub is more like Ti's, sadly!

Thanks again for all the time that went into reading and reviewing "Wives". It is greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

You wanted to know the real back-story to this book? Consider the mystery solved:

Heather J. said...

Anonymous - THANK YOU so much for posting that link - that is exactly what I was looking for! Knowing now that the story was a hoax definitely changes my perspective on it; although it was well written and entertaining, I would not have chosen to read it had I known it was completely fictional.

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