Saturday, March 23, 2019

Absorbing Historical Novel Empathetic and Intriguing

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Nestled on the floor of a canyon at the place where Sulphur Creek and the Fremont River meet sits tiny, remote Junction, Utah.  It's 1888 and seven families affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) live in the small community, which has become an in-between place for in-between Saints.  

Raised in a polygamist family, Junction resident Deborah Tyler wants nothing to do with the practice.  More devout members of the faith may question hers, but Deborah's happy with her two decades of marriage to kind, hardworking Samuel, even if their union has not produced the children they long to have.  Still, Deborah has much to keep her busy—household chores, her glove-making business, and finding ways to fill the long hours she spends alone while Samuel is working in southern Utah and Arizona as a traveling wheelwright. 

One night while Deborah is worrying about Samuel, who's been gone much longer than expected, a stranger shows up at her door seeking refuge.  Helping a polygamist on the run from the law—which is what this man obviously is—could get her in big trouble.  Still, her bleeding heart gets the best of her.  When a U.S. marshal comes along soon after, Deborah finds herself in deeper trouble than she could have ever imagined.  With Samuel away, she has only his stepbrother, Nels Anderson, to help her.  And he's just as guilty as she ... 

As the two try to figure out how to get themselves out of the very hot water they're now in, Deborah must wage a fierce internal battle between right and wrong, justice and safety, and hope and despair.

The Glovemaker, a new historical novel by Ann Weisgarber, tells a tense, compelling tale that kept me turning pages to find out what was going to happen next.  The setting is unique, the historical details intriguing, and the characters sympathetic.  Deborah and Nels are both realistically flawed, making them relatable in their authenticity.  While Weisgarber in no way romanticizes plural marriage, her portrayal of the practice among early Church members is surprisingly sensitive, even empathetic, which makes the story even more absorbing.  Overall, The Glovemaker is engrossing, interesting, and hopeful.  I enjoyed it.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs) and violence

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Glovemaker from the generous folks at Skyhorse Publishing via those at Edelweiss.  Thank you!

2 comments:

  1. I like it when the characters are flawed, but appealing. It makes them seem real.

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  2. Wonderful review. I had looked at this one, but was not sure about it. I am now, I will definitely try and find this one. The characters sound wonderful. I agree with Helen, flawed but real is exactly what I like in a character because aren't we all?

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