Tuesday, March 31, 2015

THE BISHOP’S WIFE by Mette Ivie Harrison

Publisher:    Soho Crime
Published:   December 30, 2014
ISBN:   978-1616954765
Genre:   Mystery, Suspense
Format:  Hardback
Obtained via:  Library
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina Gina@loveromancesandmorereviews.com


Mormon bishop’s wife, Linda Wallheim, is in a way mother of not only her five sons, but all of her husband’s flock.  She is there for births, deaths, marriages and for any that seek her out.  She has one great sorrow in her life, a sorrow that often has her questioning what is to come not in this life, but in the afterlife.  The death of she and husband Kurt’s little girl, a baby who never saw life, weighs heavy on Linda.  For the most part she has been able to contain her own feelings, giving her all to her sons and her husband’s congregation.  And then one day a member of the ward, Jared Helm, comes with his little daughter, Kelly with troubling news—his wife, Carrie, has left them. From the outset Linda feels a connection to little Kelly, more so than any other child.  It is perhaps this connection that sends Linda down a path she never thought she would follow.  It seems Carrie may not have left on her own. 

Is she dead or in hiding? If she is dead, where is her body?  If she is in hiding, where?  And as a mother, most painfully for Linda, how could she leave her little girl?

When another member is nearing death Kurt and Linda are called to the family’s home.  There another story of loss and death is unveiled.  Linda finds herself questioning what happened in these seemingly loving and caring families.  More than that, she begins to question and weigh her own life and feelings. 

Are the deaths interwoven in some way?  Or are they placed at Linda’s door for a different reason? 

I was drawn to read Mette Ivie Harrison’s THE BISHOP’S WIFE because several members of an online book club I’m in read it.  They had differing views on the Mormon church—particularly a member of the church, but the general consensus was that it was a good book.  I agree and found it to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  The mysteries in the book are good.  If you are looking for a good mystery, THE BISHOP’S WIFE is a good choice.  How Harrison interweaves the two murders and with Linda’s own perceptions and internal struggles is well done.  There were a few “oh no, don’t go there!” moments in the book – when Linda ventures into what could be the killer’s shed and basement.  It is a book you can leave at the mystery—see it solved and move on to your next read.

Or, you can dig deeper into the story, to the deeper concepts, which is what kept me up one night reading, turning the pages, telling myself one more chapter, one more chapter, until it was done.  Many of the questions confronting Linda are some I’ve questioned myself the past several years.  With the death of one of my best friends, an avid reader who shared my love of mystery and romance, a gaping hole emerged in my life.  While I have other good friends, it takes several to complete the many aspects that my friend Susan brought to our friendship.  At the same time I have a good friend (who happens to be Mormon) who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor a little over a year ago.  In January 2014 she was given about a week to live.  A few weeks ago, 13 months after her diagnosis was had a retirement party for her.  At that party she took a few minutes to speak and I saw just how courageous she is when she calmly told us “I am not going to get better.”  Harrison delves into similar issues through Linda’s character and more than once I felt her words were ones of comfort to me. 

Reviews are supposed to be objective.  We aren’t supposed to bring our personal lives into the equation.  THE BISHOP’S WIFE, however, was not, for me, simply a good story.  I felt like Linda was a friend, a good friend. Or perhaps, Linda is a part of Harrison that found her voice in the pages of a very well done book.

As I read the last paragraph I was sad the story ended.  Glad the murderer had been caught and dealt with – but still, there are some characters that are hard to say goodbye to.  I was pleased to see that this is actually the first book of the Linda Wallheim series.

THE BISHOP’S WIFE is book you do not want to miss.

This is an objective review and an endorsement of this book.


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