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The Glovemaker: Book summary and reviews of The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber

The Glovemaker

by Ann Weisgarber

The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber X
The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber
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  • Published Feb 2019
    312 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

In the inhospitable lands of the Utah Territory, during the winter of 1888, thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler waits for her husband, Samuel, to return home from his travels as a wheelwright.

It is now the depths of winter, Samuel is weeks overdue, and Deborah is getting worried.

Deborah lives in Junction, a tiny town of seven Mormon families scattered along the floor of a canyon, and she earns her living by tending orchards and making work gloves. Isolated by the red-rock cliffs that surround the town, she and her neighbors live apart from the outside world, even regarded with suspicion by the Mormon faithful who question the depth of their belief.

When a desperate stranger who is pursued by a Federal Marshal shows up on her doorstep seeking refuge, it sets in motion a chain of events that will turn her life upside down. The man, a devout Mormon, is on the run from the US government, which has ruled the practice of polygamy to be a felony. Although Deborah is not devout and doesn't subscribe to polygamy, she is distrustful of non-Mormons with their long tradition of persecuting believers of her wider faith.

But all is not what it seems, and when the Marshal is critically injured, Deborah and her husband's best friend, Nels Anderson, are faced with life and death decisions that question their faith, humanity, and both of their futures.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This is a rich, powerful, and wholly immersive tale grounded in Utah and Mormon history." - Publishers Weekly

"Weisgarber makes effective use of early Mormon history to explore moral choice, and compression in language, setting, number of characters, and chronology lends this tale an unusual force." - Booklist

"A compelling story balanced on the knife edge between religion and ethics, crime and sin, compassion and fear." - Mary Doria Russell, author of Doc and Epitaph

"The Glovemaker is another triumph from one of our country's finest historical novelists...A tale of moral complexity as compelling and suspenseful as the great American classic, The Ox-Box Incident, The Glovemaker deftly explores a woman, alone with her conscience and the devastating consequences of serving community over self, finding the strength to choose right over righteousness." - Sarah Bird, author of Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen and Above the East China Sea

"When I first started reading Ann Weisgarber's new book, I had no expectation that a novel about renegade Mormons in Utah in the 1880s could turn out to be so precisely suspenseful that, if Alfred Hitchcock were alive, he might snap up the film rights. The Glovemaker is a humane, high-velocity glimpse into the ever-simmering dilemmas of faith and conscience." - Stephen Harrigan, author of The Gates of the Alamo and Remember Ben Clayton

"The Glovemaker, placed in Utah in 1888, is a beautiful novel that while deeply anchored in history feels oddly relevant in today's world. Told primarily from the point of Deborah, a Latter-day Saint in Mormon country who cannot stand to watch federal government lawmen hunt Mormon men and their families. The issue then was religious liberty and Deborah finds herself in the thick of it." - Jan Jarboe Russell, author of The Train to Crystal City

"Ann Weisgarber is a historian of the first degree, but her true strength lies in crafting sweeping and often poignant fictional narratives of the iconic women who helped settle the American heartland. Ms. Weisgarber, in The Glovemaker, has once again created a heroine of extraordinary grace and courage in a challenging, at times violent, but ultimately sublime landscape." - Kathleen Kent, author of The Heretic's Daughter

"The Glovemaker, Ann Weisgarber's engrossing, troubling, honest-to-goodness third novel, is as stark and touching as the lives described, as tense and testing as the Utah backlands where it's set, as fine as any fiction you will read this year." - Jim Crace, author of Harvest and The Melody

"'I loved everything about this book - the characters, the plot, the vivid and unique setting - but most of all I loved the fact that it felt so raw and honest." -Juliet West, author of The Faithful

This information about The Glovemaker was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Cathryn Conroy

A Slow, Almost Ponderous Writing Style, but This Is a Riveting Story About Truth…and Lies
This is an intelligent, deftly told story that I liken to a pot of water on a hot stove. It warms very slowly, begins to lightly bubble, and then breaks out in a furious boil. That is the pace of this novel by Ann Weisgarber. The writing style is slow, almost ponderous, and the plot moves very slowly. But it is riveting!

Taking place over a few bitter cold, snowy weeks in January and February 1888 in the uncivilized wilds of the Utah territory, this is the story of Deborah Tyler and her stepbrother-in-law, Nels Anderson, who are members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Deborah's husband, Samuel, is a wheelwright, who travels every year through remote Utah towns and villages from September to December, repairing and replacing wheels. Nels is Samuel's stepbrother. Samuel has been away since September 1, and he is now six weeks late coming home to Junction. One cold night with a snowstorm raging outside, someone knocks on Deborah's cabin door. She can tell it's a man. And she is all alone. With a paring knife in her pocket, she guardedly opens the door. It's a stranger, seeking not only refuge for the night, but also a guide to take him to the safe place known as Floral Ranch. He, and others before him, are on the run from lawmen because they practice "plural marriage," something that is now a crime in the Utah territory. The isolated, tiny village of Junction located on the floor of a canyon that is surrounded by steep cliffs, rocks, and mountains, is known for helping these desperate men. Against her better judgement—because these men with plural wives never, ever travel in winter due to the extreme danger—Deborah lets him in. It is from this place that the story spins out amid fear, anger, danger, violence, and trepidation. If Deborah and Nels are ever caught doing what they do, they could be executed for this crime. They will lie to protect the men…and themselves.

Each chapter is told in the first person from either Deborah or Nels's point of view with flashbacks to Samuel as he journeys through the Utah territory that previous fall. The descriptions of the land, the brutal winter weather, the cabins, and the people are detailed and bring it all to life, as harrowing and difficult as that life is.

Do pay attention to the wonderful symbolism of the gloves that Deborah makes and the rocks that Samuel collects. Deborah envelopes those she loves in warmth, while Samuel's fascination of rock formations symbolizes his quest for journeys into the larger world. It's a perfect contrast.

This is a story about the truth…and lies. This is a story about our perceptions…and reality. This is a story about what we will do to protect ourselves and those we love.

Becky H

A compelling tale
I almost stopped reading this novel because of the stream of consciousness style of writing and the repetition of a certain phrase. However, by page 20 I was hooked. Samuel is missing and Deborah, his wife, is waiting for his return when she is surprised by a stranger knocking on her door and seeking assistance.
Utah Territory in the 1880’s is the setting for Junction, a tiny hamlet of Mormon saints who are not anxious to have the official LDS church or the law visit them. The mysteries of Samuel and the stranger make a compelling tale. The tension of the community builds almost to the breaking point. Weisberger handles the tension and the setting very well. Deborah, and Nels, her neighbor and Samuel’s best friend, are realistically written. The forbidding climate and terrain become a part of the story as the tension builds.
A good story, a good writer, and interesting, well drawn characters all combine to make this read well worth your time.

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Author Information

Ann Weisgarber Author Biography

Ann is the author of The Glovemaker, The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel DuPree. For Rachel Dupree she was nominated for England's 2009 Orange Prize and for the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers. In the United States, she won the Stephen Turner Award for New Fiction and the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction. She was shortlisted for the Ohioana Book Award and was a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writer. For The Promise Ann was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and a finalist for the Spur Award for Best Western Historical Fiction. She was also a finalist for the Ohioana Book Award for Fiction.

The Glovemaker takes place in the Utah Territory in 1888 and revolves around the small Mormon settlement of Junction which is today ...

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