When Lady Mary Rose Ashley boards a ship bound for the U.S. in 1841 with her grandfather, – a new convert to the new Mormon religion – she has no idea that she will step off the ship as a married woman. Mary Rose meets and falls in love with Gabriel MacKay, the talented designer of the ship, and in short time, the couple decides to spend the rest of their lives together.
Mary Rose and Gabriel are initially skeptical about Mormonism and their fellow passenger, Brigham Young. When they witness Young perform what they believe to be a miracle, both are overcome with faith in the new religion and its prophet.
As the family begins their new life in a Mormon settlement in Illinois, the enjoy the sense of belonging and camaraderie with their fellow saints. However, Mary Rose quickly finds herself at a crossroads when Joseph Smith begins to encourage the practice of polygamy. She hopes that their own family will be spared, but Gabriel is commanded to take recently widowed Bronwyn Carey – Mary Rose’s best friend – as a second wife.
I am a big fan of Diane Noble, and when I received the second installment of the Brides of Gabriel series, The Betrayal, for review, I jumped at the chance to start at the beginning.
Anyone that enjoys American historical fiction or shows like Big Love will love The Sister Wife. While the book capitalizes on the popular curiosity about the polygamist lifestyle, it does so from an educational point of view, providing unbiased details about the religion’s beginnings. Noble’s writing is clear and enjoyable, and readers will get to experience both the disappointment of those soured on the religion, and the devoutness of believers.
Review is based on a personal copy of the book. No review copy was provided.