*** 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:
- It's All About Books gave it an A+
- The 3 R's agrees that it would be great for a book club
- Devourer of Books wanted more details but still really enjoyed it
*** 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!