The story begins in 1890 as Henry Oades surprises his wife Margaret with a job promotion – although it entails moving to Wellington, New Zealand. Margaret makes the best of it and the family soon settles in happily until one day when the Maori natives retaliate over a beating and capture Margaret and her children and burn their home. After exhaustive searches, a bereaved Henry finally accepts they are gone, but he can’t bear his grief with reminders everywhere and packs up and moves to California and settles on a farm in Berkeley.
Several years later a lonely Henry meets recently widowed and very pregnant Nancy and marries her. Now you know what’s going to happen next – Nancy and her children manage to escape the captors and find their way to California and upset Henry’s new martial applecart – as well as the authorities hell bent on jailing Henry for bigamy.
First time author Johanna Moran did a nice job of handling the characters in this very difficult situation, along with the difficult decisions Henry and his wives both make. The relationship the developed between the two wives was interesting as well – although I’d have expected more tension and cat fights, but perhaps that was not their nature. A very quick, albeit enjoyable read, and definitely one to consider for your book group, it should generate plenty of discussion.