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Synopsis

When Henry Oades accepts an accountancy post in New Zealand, his wife, Margaret, and their children follow him to exotic Wellington. But while Henry is an adventurer, Margaret is not. Their new home is rougher and more rustic than they expected—and a single night of tragedy shatters the family when the native Maori stage an uprising, kidnapping Margaret and her children.

    For months, Henry scours the surrounding wilderness, until all hope is lost and his wife and children are presumed dead. Grief-stricken, he books passage to California. There he marries Nancy Foreland, a young widow with a new baby, and it seems they’ve both found happiness in the midst of their mourning—until Henry’s first wife and children show up, alive and having finally escaped captivity.

    Narrated primarily by the two wives, and based on a real-life legal case, The Wives of Henry Oades is the riveting story of what happens when Henry, Margaret, and Nancy face persecution for bigamy. Exploring the intricacies of marriage, the construction of family, the changing world of the late 1800s, and the strength of two remarkable women, Johanna Moran turns this unusual family’s story into an unforgettable page-turning drama.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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CUSTOMER REVIEWS

October 5th, 2013
Imagine that you come home one day and your house has been burned to the ground and your wife and children are missing. There are remains in the fire which you assume are your family. You search for months but without success so eventually you give in to the fact that they are gone. You decide to move on and leave the country for a strange one, America. After six years of bachlorhood, you help an expecting lady in distress and marry her. So, life goes on even though he is still grieving he has started to live again. Meanwhile, his wife and children were actually abducted by the Maori in New Zealand and are set free many years later. She follows you to America. Bigamy? You bet? I enjoyed this story tremendously, however, I felt a let down on the ending. I don't really know what I was expecting, but it just seemed to "finish" without any notice. It just dwindles away in my view.
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