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The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

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CindyInOz
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The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

Post by CindyInOz » Mon November 1st, 2010, 1:01 am

CONTAINS SPOILERS

I'm so keen to hear what other's thought of this book. It was a fast read for me and an enthralling tale, but...

For me, the story just didn’t seem realistic. I understand the fact that women didn’t have a lot of freedom back then or the ability to really ‘make it on their own’. Did they really feel that they had no choice but to deal with the situation the way they did? Where was the jealousy, resentment and the fight for Henry’s affection??

I felt both wives were far too accepting of one another and I struggle to comprehend how they became such good friends. Margaret, in particular, was such a strong woman having survived captivity but I thought that strength somehow dissipated on return to Henry. To have fought so hard to survive all those years in order to get back to her husband, only to roll over and accept the fact that she’ll never truly be Henry’s wife ever again.

Why did Henry marry Nancy in the first place? It was simply a marriage of convenience, wasn’t it? I never saw at what point he actually fell in love with her – at least I never saw love for her that seemed strong enough to justify him putting Margaret aside. He was so grief stricken when he thought he’d lost Margaret that he obviously loved her deeply. How could it have been Nancy that he chose to live with as husband and wife?

Does anyone have any thoughts on Captain Fisk? What was the point of his and Margaret’s ‘relationship’? Once they parted ways, I kept waiting for him to come back into the story, but he didn’t.

There seemed to be quite a few instances where something, or someone, appeared to be integral to the plot, however they just vanished. Nancy’s drinking is another example. At one point it seemed important to the story, and then it’s never mentioned again. It’s almost as if the author just stopped writing and didn’t finish the book where she initially intended to. Did the ‘they lived happily ever after’ ending seem a little too easy or abrupt to anyone else?

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Mon November 1st, 2010, 5:05 am

Your questions about the characters' motivations and behaviors are interesting because, wasn't this based on a true story? If so, I wonder how closely the author followed the true story, and how much of her own interpretation she put on the facts?

annis
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Post by annis » Mon November 1st, 2010, 7:00 am

There was a bit of a fuss about this, because Moran believed that her original source was a true story, but it seems likely that it was in fact a hoax.

http://www.stinkyjournalism.org/editordetail.php?id=796

CindyInOz
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Post by CindyInOz » Mon November 1st, 2010, 7:02 am

I've been trying to find out how much of the story is actually true. I believe the book is based on a newspaper article about the case, although I remember reading (although I cannot recall where) that it may have been a hoax and did not happened at all.

Thanks for the link Annis - that was it!
Last edited by CindyInOz on Mon November 1st, 2010, 7:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Vanessa
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Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
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Post by Vanessa » Mon November 1st, 2010, 8:27 am

I didn't find the relationship between the two women particularly credible either. There would've been so much competition and jealousy, I would've thought. In fact, I'd have packed my bags and left! Other fish in the sea and all that. However, I suppose it would've been a little different in those days and women had to put up with a lot more - but in competition with another wife? Hmmm.....

Having said that, I did enjoy the story as a whole.
Last edited by Vanessa on Mon November 1st, 2010, 8:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Mon November 1st, 2010, 2:32 pm

I had mixed feelings about the ending as well. Will jump back in later, it's month end and I really have to work today :o ;)
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Michy
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Post by Michy » Tue November 9th, 2010, 6:44 pm

I haven't even read this book (I seriously debated about buying it, and ultimately decided not to. Sounds like I made the right decision), so I'm probably speaking way out of turn, but I'll throw my two cents in, anyway. :) It sounds like the author tried to make her female MCs behave in a way that is pretty contrary to basic human nature. That is, females are not hard-wired to happily share one man, much less be BFFs about it. Yes, I know there have been and are cultures where this arrangement exists and everybody seems to be happy with it, but I would argue that deep down the women really aren't happy with it. They just don't feel free to express their true and honest feelings because of the pressures of their society or culture or whatever, nor do they feel they have the option of any other arrangement (and quite possibly they don't). So they're making the best of it.

But, given the setting of this book I would say the females did have other options, but for the sake of her plot the author chose to have them behave in a way contrary to typical human nature. I suppose an author could pull that off if their writing was compelling and skilled enough; but judging by the comments here and at Amazon, it sounds like this author failed to do that. Things like that totally kill a book for me; I want the story, even if it's totally invented, to be something that conceivably could have happened.

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Tue November 9th, 2010, 6:54 pm

Thanks for bumping this thread Michy. I forgot to come back and vent as well. While in the end I enjoyed it, I was very disappointed in the way Henry's first wife just backed off and let wife #2 be the dominant one. Several of us had a lively discussion about this at Goodreads, but unfortunately the author hung onto every comment made we had to take it off privately :mad:
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Michy
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Post by Michy » Tue November 9th, 2010, 7:09 pm

Did the author give any helpful or interesting feedback? Or did she just get defensive?

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Tue November 9th, 2010, 7:20 pm

[quote=""Michy""]Did the author give any helpful or interesting feedback? Or did she just get defensive?[/quote]

Neither, it was just obvious she was hanging on to every comment made, and it just really hampered us from commenting freely. By the time she realized she was "gate crashing" and left the discussion we'd already taken it elsewhere.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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