Linda Wallheim, to most who know her, seems a woman who has everything. Loving mother to five beautiful children, devoted Mormon, and kindhearted wife of a Mormon Bishop, she lives at the centre of her community and has little to be unhappy about.
In truth, Linda has begun to question her place in the patriarchal and secretive society that she lives in, and the disappearance of a local girl provides Linda with new drive – drive that could fast become an obsession. Mette Ivie Harrison has previously written a wide range of books for young adults, and this is her first foray into the world of adult fiction. A member of the Mormon church herself, she has written a story about the church in which she is a part, and it does make for interesting reading.
Whilst the initial mystery is both intriguing and, at times chilling, more mysteries are piled on top until it begins to get a bit too much – whilst I appreciate that this is classed as a Crime novel, so many awful incidents occurred in the tiny community that this story is set in, it began to feel rather like an episode of Midsummer Murders.
However, that may also be a strength of the book – whilst Midsummer Murders is popular in America for immersing viewers in a very British way of life, The Bishop’s Wife does much the same, giving the reader an intimate look at the Mormon church – a relatively small group in the United Kingdom, but a huge one in America. It’s that that proves truly fascinating, and is absolutely the strong point of the book.
In addition, the author writes relationships extremely well – the relationship between Linda and her husband feels flawed, loving, and very real indeed, and I’m grateful that it was dealt with in some depth during the course of the book . Whilst I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed this as the thriller it seemed determined to be, The Bishop’s Wife works well as a portrait of a woman, a marriage, and provides a fascinating look into the inner workings of a church that still remains a mystery to many of us.
This review was originally posted on The Bookbag – http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=The_Bishop%27s_Wife_by_Mette_Ivie_Harrison