The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison: A Book Review
Linda Wallheim is the wife of an LDS (Mormon) Bishop who finds herself in the midst of a seeming mystery. Her neighbor has gone missing, and Linda is sure that she has been murdered by her husband. She begins to dig into the circumstances further, and is brought into more than one mystery concerning members in her LDS congregation.
I truly enjoyed this book, and read it in one great big reading marathon one Sunday afternoon and into the night. Linda Wallheim is refreshing as far as LDS characters go. She does not have all the answers, and in fact struggles a little bit with her faith. But she is still trying to do the right things amidst her struggles. While I couldn't relate to her particular faith struggles, I did relate to the fact that we all struggle with our faith--whether or not we are willing to admit that. (I just wrote a post detailing some of my own thoughts on that issue here: What I Do Know.)
I also liked how the book shows just how much we DON'T know about those around us. Whether they are our neighbors, the people with whom we attend church, or our family members. Everyone has secrets, and while most of our secrets do not involve a dead spouse buried in the backyard (hopefully!), they are things that we prefer are not public. Our secrets also affect our behavior, our faith, and our relationships with others.
While the mysteries may seem over the top for Draper, Utah, they were intriguing and moved the story along well. Still, because the first mystery is clearly based on the Josh and Susan Powell case (though with a vastly different outcome), these things are not unheard of for the area.
I did have a few issues with the way the LDS church doctrine was represented. Some of them surprised me, as the author is LDS, but I also recognized them as a way to introduce larger, more important doctrines to the story. Still, I feel that since this is a book marketed to a national audience that those things should have been checked out and corrected. (I did read from an ARC, so it is possible they are fixed in the final copy.)