Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Wives of Henry Oades

The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

A debut historical novel from Johanna Moran that is entertaining, insightful and thought provoking.  The story takes place in 1890 to 1900 and it is based on a actual legal case presented in California on bigamy.

Henry and Margaret are married and living in New Zealand when Margaret and the children are abducted by Maori and forced into slavery.  Henry becomes convinced they are dead and crazy with grief he moves to Berkeley, California.  There Henry takes a new wife, named Nancy, when the previous Mrs. Margaret Oades shows up on  his doorstep with his children.  What ensues in problematic for both wives, the children, Henry and most of all for the town of Berkeley who considers them bigamists.

I was riveted to the page for most of this book.  Frankly you know a book has gotten into your head when you dream about it at night.  I couldn't stop thinking about the dilemma of two wives and who has rightful dibs on Henry.  It is such a complicated issue and one in which the author handles very well, in my opinion.  I wish I would have read this with my book club because this is a book that demands to be talked about and argued over.

If you like historical fiction,  you will really like this book!  This book wowed me!  I just can't imagine how you could choose between the two people you love. 
I received this book as a part of Crazy Book Tours.


  1. Hey...great review! I received the book today and started reading it. It already has me snagged!

    I love your blog tagline, "a woman who reads what she wants regardless of popular opinion." So cool! That's exactly how I am. We were just discussing Nicholas Sparks on another blog and I was saying how I don't read his books or see his movies anymore because he kills someone off EVERY time. Of course, I know he probably doesn't do it in every book and I haven't read them all, but after Nights in Rodanthe, I just couldn't take it anymore. Anyway, she was calling us out about saying bad stuff about him because people that like to read his books would be embarassed to let anyone else know they read him. I was like, "No one should be ashamed of what they like to read. Read what you want and who cares what everybody else thinks." =O)

  2. Now I wish I would have signed up for that tour! I've heard mixed things on this novel, but your review really makes me want to read it. Thanks!