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The Bishop's Wife (A Linda Wallheim Novel) (edition 2014)

by Mette Ivie Harrison

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1552577,049 (3.4)3
Member:bonniev
Title:The Bishop's Wife (A Linda Wallheim Novel)
Authors:Mette Ivie Harrison
Info:Soho Crime (2014), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Mormonism and marriage

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The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison

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I have a thing about Mormons. I'm not proud but because of it, I will read and enjoy a book like this. As a mystery, it's pretty meh and the writing is ok - it could have used a good editor because there is a lot of repetition. But I really liked the character of the narrator. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Feb 18, 2017 |
Weak writing, scattered plot and absolutely ridiculously unbelievable ending. This book may appeal to a niche audience - I am not in that niche.
ARC from publisher. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
AUTHOR Harrison, Mette Ivie
TITLE: The Bishop's Wife
DATE READ 06/05/2016
RATING 4.5/B+
GENRE/ PUB DATE/PUBLISHER / # OF PAGES Mystery/ 2014/ Soho Press / 341 pgs
SERIES/STAND-ALONE: #1 Mormon wife Linda Wallheim
CHARACTERS Linda Wallehim -- Mormon Bishop's wife
TIME/PLACE: Present/ Utah
FIRST LINES Mormon bishop's wife isn't an official calling. "Bishop's wife" isn't a position listed on ward documents; there's no ceremonial laying-on of hands or pronounced blessings from on high. But if the bishop is the father of the ward, the bishop's wife is the mother, & that meant there were 500 people who were under my care.
COMMENTS: Really enjoyed this one. Interesting to learn about the Mormons and their different perspectives. A young wife and mother, Carrie Helms -- disappears. Her husband reports that she has abandoned him & their daughter. There is murmuring of abuse and maybe Carrie left for her own protection. All is not as it seems and this scenario is contrasted w/ another couple that have been together for decades and the husband is dying. There is a cloud of uncertainty about the what happened to his first young wife . Will be looking for the next book in this series. ( )
  pammykn | Jun 15, 2016 |
I don't remember where I heard about this book, maybe on a radio interview, but I had the impression it was making some kind of waves in some circles. I seemed to remember that it could be appreciated by Mormons and non-Mormons alike, and the story tried to deal with difficult religious and Mormon themes while going on a amateur-detective murder mystery. Since I'm writing this after having finished the book, maybe my recollections aren't reliable, because that is what I actually got out of the book.

The characters are very Mormon. They live in white, middle-class, suburban Utah. Their lives revolve around church community and service and doctrine. Mormonism is explained from a lived, personal perspective. This felt like an accurate portrayal, including typical practices and motivations explained. I thought it was both honest and respectful. Perhaps this is already difficult territory for some readers, since Mormons are sometimes thought of as weird, or misguided, or close-minded, or judgmental. And there are certainly characters of that mold in this book. But there are also noble, hopeful, honest, yearning, generous characters, showcasing the best of Mormonism. And some of those grumpy characters had redeeming qualities. And some of those noble characters had their own demons. I appreciated their complexity, with the main character as prime example. We spent a lot of time in her thoughts, cooking up suspicions about what was really going on, wondering when her imagination was too far beyond the evidence.

Because she sees her husband attend to his religious service to the community, and she sometimes assists, we peek into the personal lives of neighbors in tough situations. So much of this rang true to me, as a Mormon. People with perfect outward faces can also struggle with heavy pain or uncertainty. And like the ideal Mormon, the Bishop's Wife rolled up her sleeves and got involved. There is humanity in this book. ( )
  richjj | Mar 26, 2016 |

The book is well written and I found the explorations and description of the Mormon culture and customs fascinating.

A few weeks ago, I heard an interview with the author on NPR and was intrigue with the unusual setting of the story. This is the first adult novel by Mette Ivie Harrison, who apparently is already well known in the world of young adult/fantasy romance genres.

Linda Wallheim, who is the title character and narrator of the book, is a 50 something mother of 5 boys and the Bishop's wife. Kurt, her husband is an accountant and the Bishop of their ward(congregation).

The book is both a mystery novel, that deals with the investigation of two murders that, at times seem pretty implausible,as well as a window into the Mormon church, its culture, doctrine, rituals and practices.

As a mystery, the story seems to stretch far longer than necessary and the way the plot(s) develop are not in my opinion, intriguing enough to consider it a "page turner".

Linda becomes very involved in the investigation over the mysterious disappearance of Kelly Helm, a young wife that is part of her ward after Kelly's husband pays Linda a visit. This is one of the two crime stories that are explored throughout the novel.

There are several characters and subplots, most of which include very chauvinistic men, that are in one way or another involved in the mistreatment, abuse, rape and even killing of women. My guess is that many Mormons, particularly men, might find the book's characterization of the male genre perhaps too one-sided.

The novel also provides lots of details into Mormon culture and traditions. These descriptions might be culturally chocking for many readers, including me. I have to acknowledge my own bias, since as a someone that was raised within a Protestant tradition, I was taught that Mormonism was a not part of what is considered "mainstream Christianity". This perception appears to be changing somehow in the last few years as more high profile Mormons become part of our culture, politics, etc. and I think this is all for the better.

Linda herself seem to acknowledge this characterization and sometimes appears to be conflicted about her faith and they way Mormons are perceived by many in our society.
I also appreciate the fact that the author allows this character to show doubts about her beliefs, and even once in a while show some sense of humor by acknowledging how odd some of these beliefs might appeared to someone outside of her church (Special Underwear alert!!). Personally I don't think this is unique to the Mormon faith and most of us can probably find "quirky" practices on any religion.

Also on the positive side, the book explores important social issues that are still so relevant today and that obviously not limited to Mormon culture, such as domestic violence, rape and anti-gay sentiments.

At times Linda can be obnoxious and very bad a reading people!,her inner dialogue through the book drove me crazy sometimes, but she is also a wonderful wife and mother,loyal friend, supportive and a generous spirit.

Linda still aches for her(stillborn) daughter and is very emotionally affected by this loss. But now that her youngest son is about to finish high school and probably leave the nest for good, she is a middle age woman looking ahead to the next chapter on her life and perhaps finally learn how to put aside this painful experience.

I noticed that the book is described as a "Linda Wallheim novel", which seems to suggest that this is the first book in the series.
I haven't made up my mind yet as to whether or not I'll give the author another try but I suggest that readers that are interested in Mysteries with a different flavor might want to give this one a try.

I should also add that Kristen Potter, the audiobook narrator did a good job as usual.
( )
  irisper012106 | Nov 1, 2015 |
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