Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Review: Hidden Wives 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 Blood of the Lamb polygamist community. Having long since reached the “age of preparedness,” they will soon be married off to much older men selected 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 known…before it’s too late.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a gem this book is! I enjoyed every moment of reading it. It grabbed me from page one and didn't let go of me for a moment. This is one of those books that you don't want to put down because you can't wait to see what will happen next. And, then, you're sad when it is over because it was so fantastic!
The world created in this novel is so fascinating ... the characters are so well drawn and well written. The two sisters that are the central characters of the novel are amazingly relate-able. I was drawn into their world and into their journey immediately.
I've read several novels and non-fiction accounts of polygamist sects and this is one of the best I've read. It presents all of the issues facing the characters so flawlessly. Claire Avery brought a lot of the issues to the forefront without ever coming across as preachy or judgmental. In many cases, the descriptions of the abuse experienced in the book were brutal but well written. I was impressed with how well Claire Avery handled those brutal aspects of the story. I see that other reviewers have suggested that it would be a great book for book clubs because of how much there would be to discuss. I have to agree wholeheartedly!
The writing is excellent, the attention to detail in the story was well done and the characterizations were excellent. The pacing of the novel was wonderful - it kept me on the edge of my seat! I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this is a debut novel. It's fantastic! This is a novel that I definitely recommend ... and I eagerly await future books by Claire Avery!
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