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The Wives of Henry Oades

A Novel

by Johanna Moran

The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran X
The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran
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    Feb 2010, 384 pages

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Doris K. (Angora, MN) (11/30/09)

The Wives of Henry Oades
I was disappointed in this book. Although it was based on a true court case the characters didn't ring true. The basic idea was interesting but I didn't think the characters were developed enough to make a really good read. Too many things happened too quickly. Somehow I felt as a reader I did not really get into their basic feelings about their circumstances and the problems they had to face.
Power Reviewer
Donna W. (Wauwatosa, WI) (11/30/09)

excellent historical fiction
The author used some real life legal facts to create an excellent historical fiction book. The Wives of Henry Oades is an easy read, and it was such a vivid telling of the story that I could picture myself in many of the scenes. The main characters were likable and I could feel sympathy for both women. A great book club read which would surely lead to an interesting discussion about the morals at the turn of the century.
Virginia W. (Cloverdale, CA) (11/28/09)

The Wives of Henry Oades
I loved this book! It is an engrossing story and very well written. Margaret Oades is one of the strongest women I have ever read about. Each travail in her life only makes her stronger. I recommend this book wholeheartedly and I look forward to reading more books by this author.
Margaret Ristagno (11/27/09)

A Woman's Book
This is a story that makes women think: What is marriage? What is bigamy? Can a man really love two women? Must women always be rivals?

But it’s also a story that makes people think: Why do we judge on appearances? Why do our religious or moral convictions cause pain when imposed on others? Can we control what our children do? And if we can’t, are we responsible for their actions?

Perhaps what’s most frustrating about this novel is the thought that if these events had happened one hundred years later, the outcome would have been different. And we’d have lost a moving insight into human relationships.
Power Reviewer
Sue J. (Wauwatosa, WI) (11/27/09)

Enjoyable read
I really enjoyed this book, not only for its good story but also for the insight into the feelings people can have against others. The author did a wonderful job getting you to really feel the characters in this book. Usually a cover attracts me to a book, but the cover chosen didn't appeal to me. I recommend The Wives of Henry Oades to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Jill S. (Chicago, IL) (11/24/09)

When Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction
This is a page-turning debut novel that is based on the true story of Henry Oades, a principled man whose first wife is abducted -- along with their children -- by the Maori. After years of grief, he eventually travels to Berkeley, California, where life gives him a second chance through his marriage to an attractive young widow. But then his first wife and children show up...and he is viewed as a bigamist by the narrow-minded Daughters of Decency.

The questions raised by this book focus on the moral dilemma of a decent man torn between two fascinating women and the evolving relationship among the three. 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.
Jeanne S. (Ludlow, MA) (11/22/09)

Terrific debut novel
The Wives of Henry Oades, a turn of the century novel based on a true series of trials, tells a fascinating story through the eyes of two remarkable women who are married through no fault of their own to the same man. The settings of New Zealand with its cruel Maori kidnappers and Berkeley, CA provide a stunning contrast until Henry's neighbors, angry that he refuses to rid himself of one wife, attack the family using both the law and terror. This is a beautifully developed story, realistic in characters and circumstance. It would make an excellent film. Women book club members will probably appreciate the strong female characters, but men might enjoy it too.

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