#BookReview The Celestial Wife by Leslie Howard @SimonSchusterCA #TheCelestialWife #LeslieHoward #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Celestial Wife

Author: Leslie Howard

Published by: Simon & Schuster Canada on Apr. 9, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

A young fundamentalist Mormon girl facing a forced marriage escapes her strict, polygamist community and comes of age in the tumultuous 1960s in this captivating novel inspired by shockingly true events.

Keep sweet no matter what, for this is the way to be lifted up
Keep sweet with every breath, for it is a matter of life or death

1964. Fifteen-year-old Daisy Shoemaker dreams of life beyond her small, isolated fundamentalist Mormon community of Redemption on the Canada—US border—despite Bishop Thorsen’s warning that the outside world is full of sin. According to the Principle, the only way to enter the celestial kingdom is through plural marriage. While the boys are taught to work in the lucrative sawmill that supports their enclave, Daisy and her best friend, Brighten, are instructed to keep sweet and wait for Placement—the day the bishop will choose a husband for them. But Daisy wants to be more than a sister-wife and a mother. So when she is placed with a man forty years her senior, she makes the daring decision to flee Redemption.

Years later, Daisy has a job and a group of trustworthy friends. Emboldened by the ideas of the feminist and counterculture movements, she is freer than she has ever been…until Brighten reaches out with a cry for help and Daisy’s past comes hurtling back. But to save the women she left behind, Daisy must risk her newfound independence and return to Redemption, where hellfire surely awaits.

For readers of Emma Cline’s The Girls and Ami McKay’s The Virgin Cure comes an arresting coming-of-age novel about a fearless young girl’s fight for freedom at a time of great historic change.


Review:

Intense, heart-tugging, and intriguing!

The Celestial Wife is a gripping, emotional tale that sweeps you away to a fundamentalist FLDS community in Redemption, British Columbia and into the life of Daisy Shoemaker, a fifteen-year-old girl who, after being married off as a sister-wife to the middle-aged Bishop of the sect, escapes to find and start a new life outside the compound until she must head back no matter the danger to herself to do whatever she can to save the best friend and mother she left behind.

The writing is crisp and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, determined, and scarred. And the plot is a compelling, hopeful tale of life, loss, secrets, resilience, abuse, friendship, revelations, childhood trauma, self-identification, and freedom.

Overall, The Celestial Wife is an eerie, fascinating, moving tale by Howard that does a beautiful job of reminding us of all the emotional, psychological, and physical effects caused by long-term manipulation, control, indoctrination, and deviant ideologies.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

             

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Leslie Howard

Leslie Howard is the instant bestselling author of The Brideship Wife. She grew up in British Columbia and developed a passion for the province’s history. She divides her time between Vancouver and Penticton, where she and her husband grow cider apples.

Photograph by Bopomo Pictures.

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