Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Book Review: The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Bishop's Wife is a compelling story, as well as an interesting look into the Mormon faith.

Linda is the wife of a bishop in the Mormon faith. As she tells the story, we get an intimate look into this world without feeling preached at. Linda explains her thoughts and decisions through the filter of her faith, as well as her doubts about it.

There are a couple of mysteries in The Bishop's Wife. First, a young man comes to see the bishop because his wife has left him and his young daughter. As time goes on, the husband becomes a suspect in her possible murder.

Secondly, Anna is about to lose her husband. He is several years older than her and she is his second wife. It is unclear how his first wife died -- he doesn't talk about it and his two sons were too young to remember. Linda finds things as she befriends Anna that make her think there may be some foul play involved.

There are other side stories. A young woman unable to conceive a child.  A young couple gets wed but do not get the proper blessing of the faith. There is much discussion of the idea of being eternally bound to your spouse and children in the afterlife. This affects the aforementioned couple. It also is a big part of Anna's turmoil, because her husband was bound to his first wife, but he has never desired to be bound to Anna. The discussion of this aspect of the afterlife is the biggest theological issue in the book. No matter what happens, good or bad, the first thought is "will they still be bound in heaven?"

The Bishop's Wife did take a while to get going. At first, I thought this was just going to be about this woman's daily life as a bishop's wife. and I was going to put it down. But once the issue was revealed, I was all in.

One might say, "when it rains, it pours" because there are so many different issues, most of them pretty evil, that are addressed in The Bishop's Wife. We can only assume than normal everyday Mormon life isn't like this book (as we can certainly say about most mysteries, thank goodness!) It does make for a story that keeps you turning pages, so much so, that I finished The Bishop's Wife in one day.

If you are interested in a Mormon perspective on family life, I would recommend The Bishop's Wife. But even without the Mormon perspective, it's a good mystery. I didn't see the ending. I would have never thought the bad guy would turn out to be this character.

This is an adult book, and while there's nothing inappropriate for teens, the subject matter may have little appeal. Definitely recommend for the adult crowd, though.

Published by Soho Crime, December 30, 2014
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
352 pages (qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)

Rating: 4/5

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1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I've been wanting to read this one, but I've also been really leery about reading it. The first few pages didn't grab me -- the main character seemed incredibly selfish and whiny -- so I put it down. Based on what you've said, maybe I need to pick it back up.

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year!


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