Friday, December 10, 2010

Saturday Review of Books: The Sister Wife by Diane Noble

I can't remember when a novel has affected me as viscerally as did The Sister Wife, by Diane Noble.

If you have a husband that you love, can you imagine having to share him with another woman? Unthinkable...but that's what Mary Rose McKay is forced to do in this beautifully-written, engrossing book.

Author Diane Noble says the story began, as many great stories do, with "what if?" questions. What if there was young, beautiful aristocratic Englishwoman whose grandfather decides to follow Brigham Young to America and the fledgling Mormon religion?

What if she and her newfound love, Gabriel McKay, are swept up in the fervor--and ultimately, she is forced to share the love of her life with another woman who is not only beautiful, but Mary Rose's best friend?

I found myself becoming emotional, especially during a particularly powerful scene in which Mary Rose is in anguish as she hears the sounds of her husband's passion with another woman. Her pain is palpable.

The book is not a rant against the Mormon faith, although its differences from Biblical truth are emphasized.

More than an indictment of any one religion, though, this fascinating story asks important questions about what happens when people look to any man for their standards of faith and practice...and lift up that man to a position demanding worship and obedience that belongs only to Christ.

Mary Rose is a wonderful heroine--beautiful, intelligent, and outspokenly skeptical of the demands of "the Prophet." The book has its light moments to balance out the seriousness, and even danger as the "Saints" face harassment and even death.

I've got to admit, I'm frustrated with Mary Rose's husband, Gabriel, as he submits to the edict requiring plural marriages. (I've always thought the husband in a plural marriage had a nice little thing going, unlike the poor women who had to share him.)

But in my years of being a Christian, I've seen enough otherwise strong men blindly submit to a pastor's capricious whims and forced convictions to know that,sadly, this does indeed happen.

This is Book One in the Brides of Gabriel series, and I'm now in the unfortunate position of having to wait until Book Two comes out. Because I will DEFINITELY be reading it.

I'm participating in Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books:


A Dusty Frame said...

WOW! That sounds good.

I have to admit this element of Mormonism is very difficult for me to understand.
However, one time I read a Mormon woman explaining it and she said that they believe that a woman can't go to heaven unless she's married.

So out of worry for the women who aren't married they go along with it.

;0! I can't imagine!

gautami tripathy said...

I can't imagine that state. I am single and I won't ever consider marrying a married man. Heaven, what is that got to do with it when it becomes hell in your lifetime?

Nicola said...

I haven't read this book yet but I have read some books about Mormons, historically. I'm Catholic, btw.

While Mormonism itself has issues that are against Christian teaching, we must be careful and remember that these polygamous relationships are not a part of the modern Mormon/LDS religion. They gave up that practice back when Utah agreed to become a state and no longer practice or even sanctify its practice any more than we do.
The sects who *do* practice polygamy today are breakaway cults who muddy the waters, malign the characters of practicing Mormons/LDS by calling themselves FLDS or "fundamentalist Mormons", when in fact they are more in line with a cult.

Friar Tuck said...

I am not sure polygamy is a much better deal for the man. Sure you get a little more variety in your sexual experiences, but is that really worth trying to manage multiple marriages instead of one. I think most men have a hard time keeping up with one wife and the children they have together.

Friar Tuck said...


Although polygamy has been shelved by the LDS church for this period of time, it is not considered a permanent change in the faith.


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