Not All Bigamy Is Mormon

How’s that title for an eye-catching concept? And it has nothing to do with Mitt Romney, by the way. What it has to do with is Johanna Moran’s book The Wives of Henry Oades. (If you’d like to see my earlier posting about this author, click here.)

I loved this book, which is an historical novel based on a news clipping the author’s mother found years ago. The news item, it turns out, may have been a hoax, but that doesn’t change the amazing novel Moran developed around it. The item related a late-1800s situation wherein a man from England traveled with wife and family to New Zealand, where he lost them to a raiding Maori tribe and believed them to be dead. Eventually, he moved to California, started a dairy farm, and married a recently widowed woman with a new baby. When the first wife shows up, the story becomes a tale of bigamy tried in the courts (three times!) and by public opinion. I’m not sure how much of this was in the news item, but the basic idea was enough to light a high-quality creative fire under Johanna Moran.

The characters in the novel, and the relationships among them, are well developed, realistic, completely believable. Go to the “Book Reviews” tab above and click on the book title in the list (alphabetical with “Wives”) to read what I posted on as a customer review.

Image: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot /

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2 Responses to Not All Bigamy Is Mormon

  1. Byn says:

    That book sounds right up my alley! Thanks for the recommendation!

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