Saturday, April 24, 2021


Sister wives Rachel, Emily, and Tina don't seem to like their shared husband Blake (or each other) very much, so when Blake is found murdered, it would seem as if more than one wife had a reason to want him dead. The family lives out in the desert in a compound filled with broken-down equipment and not much else.  

First wife Rachel keeps the family together and spends most of her time canning food in preparation for the apocalypse that Blake assures them is coming soon.  Second wife Emily is flighty and immature, and not much help with anything.  Tina, a recovering addict and former sex worker from Las Vegas, provides most of the family's financial support through her job as a real estate agent.

When Blake is discovered murdered, the police are convinced one of the wives is the guilty party.  The problem is figuring out which one.  Although their suspicious fall to Rachel, suspected of being upset that her place as favorite wife has been taken over by the others, Emily soon confesses.  Based on this, the police have to let Rachel go.  She and Tina decide to work together to figure out why Blake was apparently attempting to buy a deserted compound previously occupied by a polygamist cult that Rachel grew up in. They also plan to prove that Emily is innocent and that her confession is just another in a long series of lies she tells.

The story is told in alternating chapters by each wife, so we get to see the events unfold from various perspectives.  We also see how each woman was drawn into the "sister wife" lifestyle.  The author doesn't hold back on her disdain for this type of lifestyle, from repeated pointing out how most of the women and children living in such situations are heavily medicated, to emphasizing how domestic violence is actively encouraged in such households.  The other, traditional Mormons, are also very contemptuous of people who live in such arrangements, calling it illegal, adulterous, and shameful. 

It was interesting to read a book about an alternative lifestyle and to find out what might cause someone to choose that way of life.  In reading the afterward of the book, it seems the author is British and had done a lot of research on this topic, rather than drawing from her own experiences.  

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of Black Widows from NetGalley in exchange for this review


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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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