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Merrilyn A. (Escondido, California)
The Wives of Henry Oades
Johanna Moran's first published novel presents an intriguing problem to Henry Oades and his two wives, Margaret and Nancy. The novel takes place at the end of the Victorian period when moral attitudes where either black or white. The book takes place in 1890 and ends in the first part of the 20th century. The book will appeal to those who enjoy, and are curious about, people's attitudes and mores in the changing American and English cultures. The book has an interesting moral dilemma which becomes a driving, egregious narrow journey with a multitude of detours and dead ends constructed from the architecture of the era of Victorian mores. How this dilemma affects the people, who happen to be bound up in the circumstances, and how they handle the consequences of these societal hurdles drives the course of The Wives of Henry Oades. I found the book cumbersome in some parts and the characters guileless. I found the legal situation intriguing and one of the most interesting parts of the story. I think that women will find the relationship between Margaret and Nancy unusual, to say the least. The Wives of Henry Oades is not a page turner but, because of its twists and turns it will keep the reader involved in the outcome.
Carol J. (Isle, MN)
THe Wives of Henry Oades
An excellent work of historical fiction. The book transported me back to 1890's and into the intersecting lives of 3 normal people, whose lives are changed by extraodinary circumstances. The writer uses the voices of all three main characters to tell various parts of the story, so the reader has an opportunity to see the story from different perspectives. I continually found myself wondering what I would do in the place of the characters. An intriguing and insightful book. A great bookclub book; would stimulate interesting discussions. A book that would be enjoyed by both men and women. Would be interesting to hear the viewpoint of both on the story.
Jean N. (New Richmond, OH)
The Wives of Henry Oades
This is an excellent book that I would very highly recommend! The author portrayed the two wives and the husband in such a way that I could see each one, their situations, viewpoints and feelings very clearly. I really felt for these people. Knowing that this story was based on true events, I just couldn't put the book down!
Anita S. (BOYNTON BEACH, FL)
Life, love and polygamy
This is a book that is absolutely unforgettable!
What a story!! This book is a page turner. Because it is a fictionalized account of an actual incident, the story and characters become real to the reader. I particularly liked that the events were told from the viewpoint of the wives. Their emotions, actions and story made this book come alive. I'm certain that the author researched not only the history of the incident, but also all aspects of the time and place where it all occurred. This, to me, made the book extremely interesting. I loved the way she portrayed the wives as opposite personalities - one strong, the other weak. All the characters were portrayed well - from the children to the minor characters. I really loved this book. It will make a great selection for book clubs.
Max 41(Carmel, IN)
The Wives of Henry Oades
Johanna Moran writes an intriguing historical novel combining the elements of strong family love, friendship and legal turmoil. I was hooked from the beginning. Margaret Oades was an unusually strong and courageous woman which book clubs should enjoy discussing.
Priscilla M. (Houston, TX)
A triumph of the Spirit
Such a lovely read! This story, based on actual lives, pulled me right in. The characterization was excellent, allowing me to understand how each one dealt with their circumstances and to sympathize with their emotions and reactions. I enjoy historical fiction, and this one shines as it traces the lives and events of the two Oades families, separately and together. It is a testimony to the ability of the human spirit to triumph over adversity.
Andrea S. (Lafayette, IN)
Gripping telling of history
Inspired by a true but little known event, Johanna Moran tells the story of Henry Oades from the point of view of his two wives. The story takes you from England to New Zealand to Oakland in the 1890's. Moran used the historical incident as the basis for this novel, but had to fill in much of it with her own imagination. I really enjoyed this novel, reading it in less than 48 hours because I could only put it down to do unavoidable chores. The novel is very well written, with the characters believable and the narrative smooth.
Christine S. ( UT)
This book would be a great book for book groups because of the legal and moral issues surrounding the incident, not to mention that it is just a fascinating story. If you are a fan of historical fiction, you will enjoy this!
The subject of this novel was something I never would have believed, if I hadn't read that it really happened. The amazing strength of each of the main characters, Henry, Margaret and Nancy was to be congratulated. How awkward each of them must have felt. Somehow, they made it work by doing the right thing. The angry mob and judgmental attitudes of the general population appeared, unfortunately, realistic. An easy read and so very interesting.