Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Sister Wife by Diane Noble

I love to read trilogies with characters developed over the entire series, rather than those that go on to become a mere mention in each successive book. If I truly fall in love with the character, I want to see more of them in the next book and I feel cheated if they only show up at the family gathering on Sunday afternoons. The problem with trilogies, of course, is waiting for books number two and three. Usually, before I finally get to read the third one, I re-read the first two – just to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything.

But it’s not just any trilogy series that I’ll invest that kind of time in. And the ones I do, absolutely end up on my keeper shelf.

Today I want to share the first book in a Historical Christian Fiction series that I’m positive will end up on that keeper shelf. The Sister Wife, by Diane Noble, is the first book in the Brides of Gabriel Series. Yes, you read that correctly. Bridesplural. As in plural wives. One man, and more than one bride.

Before you read further, you should know I won’t be giving away anything that can’t be assumed from reading the back cover copy. There are no spoilers in this book recommendation.

Set in the early days of the Mormon Church, The Sister Wife absolutely captivated me from the very beginning. Of course, the back cover blurb is intriguing all on its own:

What if the man you loved told you God wanted him to take another wife? What if that woman was your best friend?

I love books that are different; and I especially love Christian fiction where the characters are far from perfect. So that blurb was enough to convince me this would definitely be something different. And once I opened the book and read the first pages, I knew I wasn’t doing anything else until I finished the book.

Newlyweds Mary Rose and Gabriel, are both converted to the new religion of the Saints on board a ship traveling from England to America. When she first hears rumblings about plural marriages, she’s hard pressed to believe it. But Mary Rose’s disbelief soon turns to reality when she learns Gabriel has been ordered by the prophet Joseph Smith, to take a second wife. Did God truly ordain this? And if so, is He the same God Mary Rose knew and loved before she converted to this new religion?

Author Diane Noble effectively delivers her message of God’s unfailing love for us as she skillfully interweaves Mary Rose’s struggle to accept the unacceptable. It’s made even more difficult when she’s told that if she refuses to go along with it, she’ll be punished as an apostate and won’t ever make it to the Kingdom of Heaven.

With a couple of other intriguing subplots, and the fact that the Mormons are being persecuted, there is a lot of depth to this book. And once you get to know the second woman Gabriel is supposed to wed, you’ll have a difficult time disliking her. That fact alone makes this book far from predictable.

Incredibly well-researched, the book is made all the more fascinating to anyone who has ever done their genealogy and discovered this type of history in their family tree.

I’m eagerly waiting for the second book, The Betrayal (due out in July), because I can’t wait to see where Diane Noble takes us next. To learn more about this gifted author and her books, you can visit her website at: I'm also including a link to an article about the book on CNN that you might enjoy reading:

Question for the day: Can you imagine being in Mary Rose’s shoes, a newlywed, devoted to your prophet, believing with all that is in you that he has the direct ear of God, and then he says you must let your husband marry another woman?

Suzie Johnson has won several awards for her inspirational novels, including the Maggie, Lone Star, Heart of the West, and Beacon awards. She has also placed in the Touched by Love, Finally a Bride, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, and Virginia's Fool For Love contests. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and is a cancer registrar at her local hospital. The mother of a wonderful young man who makes her proud every day, she lives with her husband and little kitten on an island in the Pacific Northwest. And although the beaches are rocky instead of sandy, lined with Madronas and Evergreens instead of Palm trees, and the surf is much to cold for wading, it is still the perfect spot for writing romantic fiction. You can visit her personal blog at


  1. Intriguing story line. Even more so, the idea of a Mormon fiction book and where that story will go and who it might touch.

    Thanks Suzie. Beautifully done.

    There are times when having a sister wife is probably a good deal.
    "just sayin"

  2. This book caught my attention when it was in our side bar "What We're Reading" feature. One day I looked at it and thought, "Sister Wife" huh? I wonder if they mean in the Mormon sense. So I looked it up and decided I want to read it when I get a chance.

    I almost can imagine what it would be like to be one wife of many, mostly from helping Roseanna White with her Jewel of Persia series. I read it several times and really got into the mindset. She never shies away from these difficult emotional situations.

    In her Stray Drop of Blood she deals with a slave forced to have sex with her master, who further complicates the situation by falling in love with her and deciding to marry her. How do you deal with that? Be thankful and forgive and accept? This guy raped you. But now he loves you. Complicated and very real.

  3. Good morning, Deb.

    Diane has another book that deals with Mormon history after they're driven out of Missouri, and is every bit as intriguing as this one. It's called The Veil. I don't know if it's still available, but it is superb. It's one of those books that grabs you by the throat and won't let you go until you make sure the heroine is okay. I loved it.

    So, since you're just sayin' I'm just askin', what would you have this sister wife do? Dishes? Windows? Floors?

  4. Hi Dina. You and Deb are sure up early this morning. Of course, you are three hours ahead of me, but's Saturday. I slept until eight.

    Thanks for reminding me about Roseanna's books. They are in my TBR stack, and I'm trying to get to them. I wish I could spend every day reading one book.

  5. Interesting that the CNN article by Diane Noble says that her book has been banned by certain religious groups.
    We have ministry friends who have pastored a spirit-filled, full-Gospel church in Salt Lake City for 20 years. Some of the stories they've heard about what goes on within the Mormon church are hair-raising.
    That said, this book opens up a whole different avenue. I mean, most of us aren't Amish, either, and I don't know of any Amish fiction readers who've converted...

  6. Interesting point, Niki. I wonder if the religious groups who banned the book are afraid of something?

    I can't imagine how I would respond if my church leaders said they were banning the congregation from reading a certain book. I don't think that would go over very well with moi.

    Nor can I imagine reading a book like this and then saying, "Hey, I think I want to convert."

    I will confess, however, that when I read an Amish book, I find myself longing for that kind of lifestyle. Simple, away from the fast-food lifestyle so many of us read. However, I wouldn't want to give up my electricity, my tv, my car, my computer.... But I do find myself longing for a slower paced lifestyle quit often. I need to find a balance somehow.

  7. One thing I wanted to tell everyone, that I didn't put in the post. Diane Noble writes the most incredibly layered books. Dina, if you're reading this, I do think she writes the kind of books you like. She manages to pull out a lot of emotion in the reader, and makes you think. Two books I think you would especially like are The Last Storyteller and Heart of Glass.

  8. Oh, I read Heart of Glass. Didn't realize it was the same author. It was a little sad, but I really enjoyed it.

  9. Dina, The Last Storyteller has two parallel storys going on, and one is set in medieval times. There's also this little thing about stem cell research and should the heroine get an abortion. Masterfully done.

  10. I've been looking forward to your review, Suzie. The premise is intriguing and I've been curious about its place in the inspy market. This story sounds like a real thought-provoker. *And* a well-crafted story.

    I'm curious about Deb's plans for a sister wife, too! LOL. Mopping?

    Much as I'd like help cleaning house, I'd rather do my own mopping than share my man. ;-)

  11. Thanks, Susie. I think the inspy market is ever expanding. Which I think is good. I like the way it's evolved over the years.

    Lol! Deb hasn't come back to 'splain herself.

  12. I've wanted to read this book since I first saw it on the shelf last fall. Now that I've been reminded of it I know which one I'm buying next!

    The psychological aspects of all of this has long fascinated me. My sister and I are hooked on HBO's Big Love and we watch every documentary that comes out about polygamy and the "compounds".

  13. Hi Rachel. I've always wondered about that show, but don't have HBO. I do think you'll enjoy this book, and since you're fascinated with the psychological aspects, I would also recommend The Veil, also by Diane Noble. Thanks for stopping by!

  14. This sounds intense! Bless you Suzie!

  15. Complex indeed, and interesting! I am glad I checked out your blog today. I am wondering how you choose the books you review - do people submit to you? My debut novel releases on Tuesday, you might be interested in it.

  16. Hi Catherine,

    Congratulations on your debut novel. You must be so excited. Please tell me the title! For review purposes, I usually review books I really like. But I'd love to know more about your book. I am so glad you stopped by!


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