Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book Blog Tour of The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran & Giveaway

When I heard about Johanna Moran's The Wives of Henry Oades, I was very excited to become part of the book blog tour. I've been fascinated by New Zealand and had considered moving there when R decided to take a job there in 2005. The Wives of Henry Oades is partly a story about life in New Zealand in the 1800s and largely a story about love, loss, loyalty, and family. Spolier alert: This review reveals key points in the plot!

The Wives of Henry OadesThe blurb:
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.

When I first began The Wives of Henry Oades, I was quick to sympathize with Margaret Oades. Her husband accepted a three year post in New Zealand for three years and she soon found herself leaving her family and life in England. Pregnant, unwell, and on a long sea voyage with her children, and the one friend that she makes dies on the long journey. Like many European wives, Margaret Oades has a difficulty adjusting to live in isolated Wellington, but she tries to make the best of her situation. Even when her husband signs up for another term, Margaret focuses on her family.

When an incident at Henry's workplace results in an unexpected Maori attack, it's Margaret and her children that suffer the most. Margaret and the children survive despite terrible odds. When the family is finally reunited, Margaret is shocked to discover that Henry has remarried a much younger lady. The families join together, shocking their Berkeley neighbors who file repeated charges of bigamy against Henry and the two Mrs. Oades.

While Mrs. Nancy Oades is much younger than Margaret, she proves understanding of Margaret's predicament. The friendship and respect that develops between Margaret and Nancy is one of the best parts of the story.

The Wives of Henry Oades doesn't read like non-fiction or a debut novel, Johanna Moran has written a gripping account of life for women in the 1800s.

ISBN-10: 034551095X - Paperback
Ballantine Books; Original edition (February 9, 2010), 384 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.
About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Johanna Moran comes from a long line of writers and lawyers. She lives on the west coast of Florida with her husband, John. The Wives of Henry Oades is her first novel.
Learn more on Johanna Moran's website at http://johannamoran.com/MeetJohanna.html


To enter please share why you'd like to win this book.

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on March 31, 2010.

Thank you so much to Johanna Moran, Random House and TLC Book Tours for this review opportunity and for sponsoring the giveaway!


  1. I would like to win this because I don't think I have ever read a book about New Zealand it sounds very good. Thanks for the chance. I am a follower.

  2. Please count me in. I follow on GFC.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  3. I've always been interested in historical fiction and New Zealand - this sounds like a fun read.


    daphneramos at gmail.com

  4. I love historical fiction based on real life events.
    Please enter me to win.

    I follow


  5. I'd love to win this book. I've read quite a few interesting reviews and I've never read a book about New Zealand or bigamy. Thanks for the giveaway.


  6. I have heard nothing but good things about this book and would love a chance to read it. I am a follower thru my bloglines.

  7. I would love to read this because it has been getting good reviews and sounds very intriguing.

    dlodden at frontiernet dot net

  8. justpeachy36@yahoo.com

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    This one is getting a lot of good buzz on the blog circuit. It looks like a good one.

  9. This sounds wonderful, definitely right up my alley, and I follow.


  10. I am a follower. This book sounds so good. The plot twists....the struggles...it all sounds so riveting. I am a sucker for this kind of novel...especially one that is written back in time. Thanks for the chance! bekki1820cb at gmail

  11. I love historical fiction, and this book sounds like one I'd like to read. I'm a follower.


  12. I am a follower.

    What an interesting story! What else is Henry supposed to do? This is a story line that has a good possibility of happening - such as the story in the movie "Brothers." I would really love to read this book.


  13. Hi Gaby, I'm so glad you found the book gripping! Great review. I can't wait to read it myself. Thanks so much for all the time you put into reading and reviewing "Wives". We appreciate it so much.

  14. Wow! So shocking that this is based off of a true story. I was originally drawn in by the lovely cover but now the dramatic description is what keeps me interested.

    Google Friend Connect follower, name is Bani.

    wakeupangel at gmail dot com

  15. I always want to at least try books set in New Zealand or Ireland and it sounds like there is so much more to this book than just an interesting setting such as captivating characters!

    Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

  16. The ultimate rock and hard place. Two loves that were meant to exist in two different eras of a life.

    I'd love this book. Please count me in. Thank you!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  17. I'd like to win this book because it sounds like a good story :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  18. I think new zealand is a beautiful place so it's great it takes place there. i'm a follower

  19. Please, please, pretty please with a cherry on top pick me! I'm so intrigued by this story, I'm desperate to read this book!

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

  20. I have never read a book set in New Zealand. Sounds interesting.

    rhoneygtn at yahoo dot com

  21. Gaby,

    Thank you for the lovely, thoughtful review.


  22. I'm a follower!
    dcf_beth at verizon dot net

  23. Please include me!
    dcf_beth at verizon dot net

  24. I am a follower and would like this book because it sounds mysterious and very exciting.

  25. I would love to read a book based in New Zealand -- that is a country I know almost nothing about and I'm sure it would be fascinating! I am a follower.


  26. I would like to win this book because it looks really interesting. I am a follower.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net