The Wives of Henry Oadesby Moran, Johanna
In 1890 Henry and Margaret Oades leave England with their two children to travel half way around the world to New Zealand. It is only supposed to be for a few years, Henry promises, just long enough to make their fortune. However, the years pass and Margaret persuades Henry to move from the crowded city of Wellington to a cabin in the back country, largely uninhabited by white people. One day while Henry is in the city for supplies, Maori tribesmen attack his homestead and when he returns he finds his house burned to the ground and no trace of his family. For many months he searches for them but eventually he is persuaded by friends that they are dead. In despair, he leaves New Zealand for a new life in California and eventually marries a widow there, not knowing that six years later Margaret and his children will escape from the Maoris and find their way to America looking for him.
Debut author Johanna Moran has crafted a fascinating story filled with adventure, tragedy, love and heartbreak from a little known 19th-century California bigamy case. Each chapter is narrated by one of the three main characters, Margaret, Henry, or Nancy, Henry's second wife, and reveals the growing fondness and support of Margaret and Nancy despite their unusual situation. This is a thought- provoking story and would be an excellent choice for a book group discussion.
Reviewed by nk, 09/10. Other reviews by nk. Have you read this book? Tell us what you think!