Wednesday, July 21, 2010

'Hidden Wives' TLC Book Tour Stop

Author: Claire Avery
Published: June 8, 2010 Forge Books
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Synopsis from TLC:Fifteen-year-old Sara and her beautiful sister, Rachel, are too young to legally drive a car—but are approaching spinsterhood in Utah’s secret polygamist Blood of the Lamb community. Having long since reached the “age of preparedness,” they will soon be married off to much older men selected by the hidden sect’s revered Prophet. As Sara, chosen to become her uncle’s fifth wife, grows more distraught over her impending incestuous marriage, she begins to scrutinize the faith she has followed blindly her entire life. But for Rachel, who will be married to one of the many powerful community leaders vying for her hand, disobeying the Prophet means eternal damnation. Her friendship with the newest member of the community, the young and handsome Luke, starts as an attempt to save his agnostic soul, but ends with the pair falling helplessly in love. When Rachel is forbidden to see him, her absolute faith in the Prophet is severely tested. When Rachel’s future husband is finally announced, violence erupts, and the girls must find the strength to escape the only life they have ever known…before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:
I'm going to review this one a bit differently today. I'm would like to share my immediate thoughts and impressions as I was reading this thought-provoking book.

  • action begins immediately as the reader is thrust into the heart-pounding lives of Sara and Rachel.
  • wonder how the men would like it if the women had all the rights, choices, and power. Polygamy would die out...that's what would happen!
  • Law of Chastity: forbade sexual acts while the woman is expecting. What a FARCE! This law is so hypocritical, made me want to laugh and slap the men who created it.
  • By Chapter 3, I found myself to be filled with tension and feeling extreme revulsion at the god-complex of Prophet Silver.
  • p. 60 paragraph 4....pissed me off. This is where the men send the women into town to get their food stamps!! Why should WE, the taxpayer finance their way of life??? 
  • each girl is isolated from the outside world, which makes it so much easier for indoctrination and brainwashing.
  • the abuse these women, young girls, and children suffer at the hands of the men is making me physically ill.
  • Negroes aren't considered human. They are viewed as  Children of Satan.....really nice there Blood of the Lamb crazies!
  • sickening how all of the men blame Rachel for their lust. It's her fault...she's a witch, a temptress. The men are twisted and perverted.
  • Must wear sacred undergarments which are to protect them from the outside world. A lot of good these undergarments do when they don't protect the young girls in their own home and from the evil in their community.
  • Hope- the central theme throughout the book. In the end this is what we must all hang on to for comfort.
This book touched me on so many levels as you can see from my notes above. I am always struck by how easy it seems for people to get sucked into cults, because this is what I view communities that advocate this way of life. I have tried really hard not to judge others, but when it comes to captivity, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of children, I have to draw the line. If an adult chooses to live a polygamist life, whom am I to judge them? But when it infringes on the safety and well-being of innocent children.....well, they must be made to answer for their crimes. The authors did a wonderful job of setting the story and giving us two extremely well-written characters to relate to...Rachel and Sara. I felt like I was propelled into their lives from the very first page. I cried with them, felt scared with them, and in the end rejoiced with them. This would make an excellent choice for a book club pick.

Rating: 4.5/5
Highly Recommended!

Thank you to TLC for asking me to be a part of this book tour.
Check out the other tour stops HERE.

CLAIRE AVERY is a pseudonym for a writing team of two sisters.
  Mari Hilburn, an attorney, and Michelle Poché, a screenwriter.
Being raised in a Mel-Gibson-Catholic-fundamentalist type of home was anything but ordinary.  Add in a little socialism, a healthy dose of old fashioned guilt and a father who was so charismatic that you lost yourself in his dream, and you have all the necessary ingredients for a fiction writer’s ideal childhood.  His charisma laid the foundation for a group that has since grown to thousands nationwide.  Growing up in this fundamentalist community provided us with a real-life cast of characters worthy of a John Irving novel.  This included Barefoot Guy, an ex-monk who went barefoot even in harsh Chicago winters as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice.  It wasn’t until Barefoot Guy accompanied us on a ski trip, then stood outside in the snow proselytizing to other skiers sans the footwear, did we realize what an extremely weird childhood we had.
To further complicate the fragile eco-system of our brains, our father decided the world was ending.  This Yale-educated urbanite became convinced that to save us from imminent death, he needed to move his family and many others from the community to a rural, mountain commune out of state.  We built a bomb shelter and attempted to raise chickens and grow our own food in order to survive the forthcoming nuclear winter.   The collective disaster at living “off the land” eventually led to a mass exodus back to the Windy City, leaving only our family and a granola-eating survivalist (later becoming a Neo-Nazi who attempted to kill us by shooting out the bay windows of our home).
A strange childhood, but at least our father’s religious dogma didn’t force us to marry men five times our age.  We didn’t have to give up our education, freedom or dreams.  And if one of us met the love of her life, she was free to marry him.  Most importantly, she wouldn’t have to share her husband with sister-wives.
There was nothing in our childhood that even remotely resembled the lives of young girls being raised within polygamous cults in 21st century America.  Even though we grew up in a “cult” type environment, we were never subjected to the dehumanizing abuse that so many women and children living in polygamous communities endure in the name of religion.
Thankfully we left our childhoods behind, stronger as a result and empathetic to the individuals trapped in extreme circumstances like those portrayed in Hidden Wives.
Connect with the authors:
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  1. This sounds really good Staci!! And I enjoyed reading about the author too! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  2. So many things piss me off, I can't believe they act like that

  3. This sounds great, Staci! I like the format, too... it's fun to change things up once in a while.

  4. I love a book that gets me fired up like that! Boy, does this one sound good.

  5. I love this method of reviewing a book! It is so personal and I could feel my own ire welling up inside as I read your thoughts and emotions!

    I have read several favorable reviews for this book around the blogosphere. I think I may spend a weekend and read this one along with the 19th Wife, which I have languishing on my shelves.

  6. What a great review, I am VERY interested in this book now!

  7. I really have a hard time reading books like this. They make me so mad that I cannot even enjoy the story!

  8. I'm sure I would react exactly the same way! In fact, when I read The 19th Wife, I was ranting and raving the entire time!

  9. Excellent review. I like the way you did it. It felt like I was reading along with you. I also like books that make me so mad, although I don't like it when they make me physically ill. I'm up next week for the tour. I'm going to start reading it tonight.

  10. Great review, Staci! I've been drawn to this one for some time and have it loaded on my Kindle for reading perhaps on vacation. Well, maybe not, because I know it will make me mad and frustrated. I am drawn to books that feature polygamy, but they always make me upset.

  11. I like this type of review! Great idea, Staci! I can feel your emotions and I must say I agree with you on all these points. I am looking forward to reading this book someday. Excellent review!

  12. Hi Staci! I really like the way you set this up.. I loved seeing your raw, unfiltered reactions.. very powerful! Thanks so much for being on the tour. This book sounds great!

  13. Your review told me exactly what I'd need to know, Staci. I'll be watching for this book!

  14. Straight to the wish list for this one! Sounds like yet another powerful read. I really loved that you included the section about the authors--don't know why, but I usually avoid reading about authors, but in this case I think I like knowing what kind of insight they had into writing their characters.

  15. This was a great review Staci. I have this book. It looks like I need to get to it sooner than later. I agree that it's each to his own but if it hurts children in any way -- then that's it for me --it shouldn't be happening.

  16. This sounds like a book that would be hard to read, but just as hard to put down once started. I have to remember this one!

  17. I'm sure this book would infuriate me. Just reading the description was enough to be disgusted. Sure it's fiction, but it's so upsetting because there are groups out there that do this. The complete and total control that cults have over their members minds is scary to say the least.

  18. Very interesting and readable review! I would be incensed by some of this, I am sure.

  19. I really want to read this book but have to make it through a pile for book club (focus, focus, focus)!

    It's disgusting but important to read/be aware.

  20. This sounds right up my alley Staci. For some weird reason, I am fascinated about learning more about polygamy. I will be on the lookout for this one!

  21. Fantastic review Staci, and I love the format, another one I just HAVE to add to my list!

  22. I quite like the way you reviewed this--really gives the gut feelings that you had as you read the book. Sounds like a tough read but well worth it to get that kind of reaction.

  23. Wow! I don't know what else to say. Unbelievable that people would live and think like this but sadly it is true. And the little bio about the authors...whoa!
    I will certianly check this one out. Thanks for the review and I love the immediate thoughts/reactions at the beginning.

  24. This is on my TBR List and look forward to it. I'm so glad to see that you really enjoyed it. Thanks for the info on the authors - very interesting.


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