When Henry Oades accepts an accountancy post in New Zealand, his wife, Margaret, and their children follow him to exotic Wellington. But while Henry is an adventurer, Margaret is not. Their new home is rougher and more rustic than they expectedand a single night of tragedy shatters the family when the native Maori stage an uprising, kidnapping Margaret and her children.
For months, Henry scours the surrounding wilderness, until all hope is lost and his wife and children are presumed dead. Grief-stricken, he books passage to California. There he marries Nancy Foreland, a young widow with a new baby, and it seems theyve both found happiness in the midst of their mourninguntil Henrys first wife and children show up, alive and having finally escaped captivity.
Narrated primarily by the two wives, and based on a real-life legal case, The Wives of Henry Oades is the riveting story of what happens when Henry, Margaret, and Nancy face persecution for bigamy. Exploring the intricacies of marriage, the construction of family, the changing world of the late 1800s, and the strength of two remarkable women, Johanna Moran turns this unusual familys story into an unforgettable page-turning drama.
The Newcomers 1890
A common bat on the other side of the world elects to sink its rabid fangs, and one's cozy existence is finished. Margaret Oades knew her husband was up to something the moment he came through the door with a bottle of wine. It was late. The children had gone up hours ago. "What's the occasion?" she asked, laying out a plain supper of shirred eggs and lardy cakes.
Henry kissed the nape of her neck, giving her a shiver. "I've an announcement," he said.
Margaret expected him to say he'd found a collie for their son. John, nearly eight now-her big boy, her pride-had been wheedling without letup for weeks. She took down two goblets, hoping the dog was an old one and not some frisky crocus lover.
"A senior passed in New Zealand," he said instead. "Of a bat bite, poor bloke. I'm to complete his stint. We're due as soon as possible. You'll want to prepare."
Margaret set the goblets aside. "Henry."
"Two years, sweetheart." He'd proposed marriage with the same ...
31 BookBrowse readers reviewed The Wives of Henry Oades, with 27 of them rating it 4 or 5 stars.
Knowing that this story was based on true events, I just couldn't put the book down! It's absolutely unforgettable (Jean N). All of the characters are portrayed well - from the children to the minor characters (Anita S)... 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 (Andrea S). The moral quandary Henry, Nacy and Margaret find themselves in would surely elicit an interesting discussion (Laura K)... At times the emotions of the women are not explored deeply enough, particularly the first Mrs. Oades who has every reason to feel emotionally betrayed. Still, this is an incredible story that will be certain to elicit thought-provoking discussions long after the last page is finished (Jill S). (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
Full Review (830 words).
The Story Behind the Story
(from Johanna Moran's website)
"More than a half-century ago, my father, a law professor, came across an abstract on the Oades case, and showed it to my mother, who was attempting to write short fiction in her nonexistent spare time. She was intrigued and gave thought to fleshing out the story, but that's as far as she got. She might have had three kids down with mumps that week or a spectacular birthday party to host. In any event, five children and writing never did mesh. My mother squirreled the abstract away, perhaps thinking she'd get to it eventually. She gave it to me about ten years ago. I was drawn in immediately and went from there."
About the Author
Johanna Moran worked as a flight attendant ...
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