Gaby's Reviews > The Wives of Henry Oades

The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran
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Mar 09, 10

bookshelves: nonfiction, historical-non-fiction
Read in March, 2010

** spoiler alert ** When I first began The Wives of Henry Oades, I was quick to sympathize with Margaret Oades. Her husband accepted a three year post in New Zealand for three years and she soon found herself leaving her family and life in England. Pregnant, unwell, and on a long sea voyage with her children, and the one friend that she makes dies on the long journey. Like many European wives, Margaret Oades has a difficulty adjusting to live in isolated Wellington, but she tries to make the best of her situation. Even when her husband signs up for another term, Margaret focuses on her family.

When an incident at Henry's workplace results in an unexpected Maori attack, it's Margaret and her children that suffer the most. Margaret and the children survive despite terrible odds. When the family is finally reunited, Margaret is shocked to discover that Henry has remarried a much younger lady. The families join together, shocking their Berkeley neighbors who file repeated charges of bigamy against Henry and the two Mrs. Oades.

While Mrs. Nancy Oades is much younger than Margaret, she proves understanding of Margaret's predicament. The friendship and respect that develops between Margaret and Nancy is one of the best parts of the story.

The Wives of Henry Oades doesn't read like non-fiction or a debut novel, Johanna Moran has written a gripping account of life for women in the 1800s.

ISBN-10: 034551095X - Paperback
Publisher: Ballantine Books; Original edition (February 9, 2010), 384 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.
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