What an absolute delight! I’ve long wanted to read a novel where my LDS (Mormon) faith was a relevant, deep part of the characters and story, in a booWhat an absolute delight! I’ve long wanted to read a novel where my LDS (Mormon) faith was a relevant, deep part of the characters and story, in a book that wasn’t didactic and one that was aimed at a national audience, not just for Mormons. HERE IT IS.
THE BISHOP’S WIFE is billed as a mystery, and while the mystery element is crucial to the story, I see it as the hanger on which the rest of the story is draped—it holds up and gives shape to the characters and events.
I loved Linda, with all of her strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. She’s real and flawed, often overwhelmed, but always doing her best, even when she’s hard on herself. The story has a wonderful cast of varied characters, people that felt real to me—possibly because I know people like them living in my current and past neighborhoods and wards (congregations). I was especially touched by how Linda’s drive to investigate and poke her nose into others’ business is motivated by the loss of her own daughter many years before.
Her husband, the bishop, is just as real: a very much mortal man trying to do his best to care for those under his charge, doing so with blinders he isn’t even aware of. He’s easy to like even when you don’t agree with his thoughts and actions because, like Linda, he’s honestly trying.
This is a great book for readers who enjoy women’s fiction and cozy mystery. It’s not a rip-roaring James Bond episode with explosions and car chases; the pace is much gentler as Harrison weaves the tale, laying down layer upon layer to gradually reveal the full picture. It’s beautifully written, unpredictable yet satisfying, and a book I hope will find its way into many hands—it deserves to be widely read.
I suspect that it would make a fantastic book club selection; so many parts are thought-provoking and would make for fascinating discussion. One element that will stay with me: Who ARE the people around me, really? I can’t know. Everyone has secrets. Most people have secrets that are benign, while others’ secrets are dark and twisted. And we simply can’t know which is which judging by appearances.
My only complaint: There were a few factual errors regarding the Mormon faith, which surprised me, seeing as the author is Mormon herself. They may well have been simple oversights, and seeing as I read an uncorrected ARC, I’m going to assume that those things will be corrected before the book officially hits shelves. That’s why I won’t list them; they may not be in the final version anyway, and even if they’re not, those things are minor enough that the typical reader, especially one unfamiliar with the LDS faith, wouldn’t even know they’re there. The errors don’t have any negative impact on the story.
It’s a rare book that I feel I can broadcast far and wide, recommending it to friends. This is one of them. Well done! ...more
I love Kristin Hannah's voice and stories. Of those I've read, this is my favorite so far. That may have something to do with the fact that I've delveI love Kristin Hannah's voice and stories. Of those I've read, this is my favorite so far. That may have something to do with the fact that I've delved into war and how if affects families in my own work.
I read a lot, and over the years, I've edited a ton of books for clients. So it's pretty rare for me to get so drawn into a story that I both laugh and shed tears.
Jolene and Michael are both very real characters--imperfect people trying hard to do their best, who grow and stumble and keep on going.
The things I liked most about this story are the characterization and voice. There's an outward feel of innocence and simplicity at first glance, butThe things I liked most about this story are the characterization and voice. There's an outward feel of innocence and simplicity at first glance, but there's so much more lying right beneath the surface, and that's what made it beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking all at once. If I could ask for more, it would be for, well, more--I'd love to have been able to spend a little more time with Elizabeth (or Beth or Liz, depending on when we are) so it didn't go by quite so fast.
While the main character is only about 12, I think that readers who will appreciate and like the book most would be a little bit older. It feels like a nostalgic look back into your own junior high years, with all the good and bad that they brought with them, even though your own issues and problems back then were different than Liz's.
Yes, it's my own book. :) But I honestly believe that this grammar (plus usage/punctuation/mechanics) guide is a great tool for writers--and anyone elYes, it's my own book. :) But I honestly believe that this grammar (plus usage/punctuation/mechanics) guide is a great tool for writers--and anyone else who struggles with understanding what can so often be convoluted terminology and concepts.
I figure the proof's in the pudding, so here's my proof: -I know several professional novelists who keep my book on a shelf near their computers for quick reference--and use it often. -A senior editor at a publishing house does the same. (I know!!!) -When my son prepared for taking the ACT a second time, he read my book, and his English score went up by SIX points.
I'm thrilled for this second edition, which is twice the length of the first, with brand new entries and several expanded ones. (Can we ever cover every comma issue? Probably not.)
I don't write a lot of reviews, and I've totally spaced keeping my shelf here updated. But this book blew me out of the water, so I have to mention itI don't write a lot of reviews, and I've totally spaced keeping my shelf here updated. But this book blew me out of the water, so I have to mention it. Lyrical, gorgeous writing, with characters that are flawed, deep, and absolutely real. I felt like I knew them so well that I'd recognize them and want to give them a hug if we ever crossed paths. It's the kind of women's fiction I aspire to write myself and it inspired me to keep digging and keep growing as a writer.
A suggestion, though: Don't read the last quarter of this book while exercising. I nearly fell off the treadmill at our local rec center, crying my eyes out. I look forward to the author's next book, and I'll be in line to buy it.
As a side note, I'm up against this book for the 2012 Whitney Award for Best General Fiction. I won the award in 2010, which was a thrill. I'm under no delusions that I'll win again this year. I'm putting my money on this book. The award will be well earned. Bravo!...more