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Brides of Eden: A True Story Imagined

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3.55  ·  Rating details ·  275 ratings  ·  53 reviews
In our defense, I can say only that nothing seemed so terribly strange in the beginning...

When, in 1903, the fiery preacher Joshua arrives in sleepy Corvallis, Oregon, Eva Mae -- and the whole town -- is never the same again.

Joshua is wonderful. He's charismatic. Insisting on simplicity, he commands his converts to burn their possessions. Demanding devotion to Christ, he t
...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Harper Teen (first published February 28th 2001)
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Average rating 3.55  · 
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 ·  275 ratings  ·  53 reviews


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Sheila
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
3 stars--I liked the book.

I read this book in 2002 or so, then recalled it later and wanted to reread it, but couldn't remember what it was called. Thanks to the detectives in the "What's the Name of That Book?" group here on Goodreads! They found it for me.

This is a pretty shocking story--all the more so because it's based on true events. This is a short book, and I wish it had a bit more depth and characterization; it's pretty sparse. Still, the story is fascinating, and I devoured it (both t
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Hannah
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the early 1900's, Franz Creffield comes to the sleepy town of Corvallis. He is good looking, charismatic, and full of religious fervor. Soon he has the women of the town entranced and they start a cult - the "Brides of Christ" and they begin to prepare for the end of the world. He changes his name to Joshua and tells the women that one of them is to be the second Mary.

The book is based on a true event, reimagined from the perspective of one of the women. The story talks about how they got ent
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Liz Whittaker
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Three cheers for historical fiction!

Cults are scary. Based on true events and characters that formed the “Holy Rollers” cult in Corvallis, Oregon at the turn of the century, this story is compelling, and at times heartbreaking. The God I believe in and love gave me free agency, and I’m grateful for that truth. I kept wanting to share it with the girls in this story! This author knew a good story when she found one, and there are both tragic lessons and powerful messages of redemption and hope i
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Mara
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly fascinating story, made only more so by the fact that it is true. It also struck my particular fancy because I have actually visited many of the towns mentioned within, and I had no idea that such an incredible, thoroughly creepy incident happened in Corvallis and around Yahats and other neighboring towns. And Linda Crew is an author whose research can generally be trusted.

What was probably most disturbing about Brides of Eden was that there are still people - Christians included -
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Kathy
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have lived in Corvallis, Oregon as a child and later as an adult, but had never heard the story of the Bride of Christ cult. It’s nothing new—charismatic men have always found ways to seduce people into doing and saying and believing things that to outsiders appear irrational. Unfortunately, religion is often used in this way, and in fact continues to drive such movements. Linda Crew’s extensive research has resulted in a gripping story, and serves as a window into the minds of vulnerable peop ...more
Sarah
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
this was an interesting book, but not particularly gripping. For a book with a little over 200 pages, it took me a rather long time to read because once I put it down I wasn't particularly motivated to pick it back up. I pretty much read it 20 pages at a time when I was waiting for other things to happen (water to boil for making dinner, dryer to finish, etc).

Not a compelling book, but I guess it was interesting enough.
Mara
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Fascinating true history about a cult started in Corvallis, Oregon that also had history in Yachats, but the writing and character development left the story feeling forced and less compelling than promised.
Heather
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting account of the power of organized religion.
Aj Sterkel
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I know a little about the Brides of Christ, so when I heard there was a fictionalization of their story, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

In 1903, a preacher who calls himself Joshua moves to Corvallis, Oregon and sets up a new church. At first, everything goes well, but when Joshua’s preaching strays too far from what’s in the Bible, the men in Corvallis chase him into the wilderness. But, he doesn’t go alone. A few women from his congregation go with him. After that, things get weird.

This i
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Jordan Taylor
In 1903 Corvallis, Oregon, a group consisting primarily of young women were drawn into a twisted cult by a handsome young man who claimed to be the Second Christ. In the beginning, everything seemed perfectly ordinary, and no one noticed when things began to gradually slip into chaos.

The account, though fictional, of a true story was both horrifying and fascinating to read about. As things progress, the events become darker, more extreme, and more tragic.

I couldn't put this book down, and I devo
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Auggie
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was a trip. I picked it up at a local library sale for $2 and was actually really compelled to read it. The concept of religious cults is interesting, albeit often disturbing, and the fact that this story was based on TRUE happenings just clenched it for me.

I couldn't put it down once I'd opened it up. I started it and read it it well into the night until I was done. Now, it wasn't that long, barely over 250 pages but I kept finding myself rereading passages completely blown away by wh
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Sharon
Jun 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I love historical fiction and am always intrigued by religious cults. That said, the subtitle of the book is "A true story imagined" and I feel much of this particular story is, in fact, imagined. While many facts are verifiable (mostly those relating to dates and places) the story is told from the perspective of Eva Mae Hurt, a young girl who gets caught up with the Brides of Christ church, and is entirely fabricated. Unfortunately, while the story is interesting and held my attention, none of ...more
Jara
Jun 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Based on a true event, this is the sad story of women in small Oregon town in 1903 who are mesmerized by a self proclaimed prophet who led them away from everything they had ever known and cherished into a life of deprivation, sacrifice, and solitude. I could never understand the attraction of contemporary cults and why people would follow these charismatic leaders. This book helped my see how vulnerable people can be led astray by a powerful speaker. These individuals begin with connections to ...more
Melissa
Dec 13, 2008 rated it liked it
I couldn't put this book down--in fact, I kept flipping ahead trying to guess how it all ended.
A fascinating man comes to a small town, starts a church, and a group of women throw almost eveyrthing away to follow him.
Fascinating story, though the writing was sometimes a bit lacking. It's told through the eyes of one of the younger members of the group--who does eventually leave, but part of me wanted to know more about Joshua's motivations. Did he really believe he was a prophet? Or was he alway
...more
Virginia Walter
Oct 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-books
In 1903 a charismatic young man seduces a number of women in Corvallis, Oregon, with his tales of a coming End Time and his own sexual magnetism. They leave their families to become obedient converts to his Bride of Christ Church. The story, based on a true incident, is told from the point of view of one of these women whose sister and mother are also in thrall to this self-proclaimed prophet who calls himeself Joshua. She eventually returns to her forgiving father and ends up living a long and ...more
Tracie
Apr 22, 2008 rated it liked it
A charismatic preacher stirs up the town's womenfolk and convinces them he has heard from God. Gradually he takes over their lives asking each to give up their worldly goods, ways, and ideas and they gladly do so. Finally he reveals that one of them will be chosen as a mother for God's new child. Based on a true story, (though all details are imagined) this is the story about how confusion, a strong personality and group dynamics can influence a person.
Melissa McClintock
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A quirky little story that takes place in Corvallis Oregon, about 3 hours from where I live. She does a good job of "retelling" what occured. She had to construct the charachters, but how a "pastor" seduced these women and made them "his flock" so much they left their husband's and would do whatever he wanted.

Not everyone's cup of tea, unless you like quirky historical stories and it is a fun and easy read.
Alyssa
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was looking forward to reading this book. The storyline sounded enthralling, and the cover art draws you in; but I was disappointed when I got the book. The whole thing moves too quickly, and the author's writing is very repetitive. The main character seemed very empty, and didn't have a very deep mindset or anything. It was meh, overall. The topic was interesting but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
Dana
Apr 10, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was a little boring. I think that may have been due to the author trying to stay within the bounds of history. It was not developed very well and the characters infatuation with Joshua seemed forced rather than like a natural progression of the cult mindset. I think that by trying to stick to the solid facts the author failed to develop the narrator enough for the reader to understand why she went along with the craziness.
Cindy
Jul 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: YA and up
Recommended to Cindy by: Denise
Good look at a true story of polygamy and cult following in the early American days. Scary how one man can convince so many to follow him so completely. Liked the fact that at the end they tell what happened to the people. Isolated community and no strong religious upbringing add to the ease of conformation. Relevant with the Texas polygamy scandel today.
TheSaint
Jan 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
The cult following of charismatic religious figures has been going on for thousands of years. Even in Oregon in the 1980s we had the Rajneshees. But in the early 20th century, Corvallis had its own "Holy Rollers." Linda Crew's book, Brides of Eden, is the account of this cult -- mostly women -- that lived, breathed and even died at the word of a self-proclaimed prophet.
Echo
Jun 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was really excited to read this book and to see how the cult fascination worked, but the main character seemed really hollow. She kept repeating how she didn't know what to believe, but everything she thought was a repeating of what another character said. The book felt more like an outline then a finished product.
Casle
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was set the year my grandmother was born, near where she lived. I found it so easy to see the characters and places in the book. I've paddled my kayak by the island on the Willamette where Joshua and his followers camped. I've stood on the beach where they're stranded. I've met men like Joshua Creffield. I looked for my family on every page.
Wendy
Sep 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
A so-crazy-it-seems-real kind of story, though the author doesn't make any claims about it being accurate (other than names and dates and so on). You Betsy-Tacy folk would be really into this, especially those of you who live in Oregon.
Nick
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
The true story of an early 1900s religious cult started in Corvallis, OR. I found the book to be a fascinating look at an historical event in my home town and the life and evolution of a cult. The book's final third was a page turner and my favorite part of the book.
Amanda Munoz
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for the Historical Fiction category. {I'm reading different genres so that I might win a prize at the library.} I'm not a harsh book critic anyway, but I think the author did a very good job. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Jessica Grosland
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book disturbed me, I'm not going to lie. But it does a really good job of showing the way that religion can turn into something manipulative and awful. It's a rough read, but well-written. Not for the faint of faith.
Stephanie
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought it was an easy read, and very compelling. Even though its based in facts and has evidence to support it, it seems like a crazy work of fiction. It's amazing what the mind will choose to believe and what blind faith will do to a person
Lorry Chwazik
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crew does a good job of exploring the feelings, thoughts, and actions of the young women and men who fall under the spell of an enigmatic preacher. Bonus: one learns the derivation of the term "Holy roller."
Laurel Kristick
Feb 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
Interesting take on retelling the true story about a charismatic man who came to Corvallis and established a cult of mostly women who were mesmerized by him. Told from the perspectives of one of the women who followed him.
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My early books were for young readers, and perhaps my best-known is my first, Children of the River. Set against the backdrop of the Cambodian refugee crisis of 1979, it’s still used in schools and English-as-a-second-language classes across the country twenty-seven years since publication. My two most recent—Brides of Eden: a True Story Imagined and A Heart for Any Fate: Westward to Oregon 1845—w ...more

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