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For Time and All Eternities

Cover of For Time and All Eternities

For Time and All Eternities

The Mormon church may have disavowed the polygamy it became so famous for in the 19th century, but for some Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints, "plural marriage" isn't just ancient history
Mormon bishop's wife Linda Wallheim is stunned to learn her son Kenneth has gotten engaged to a young woman from a polygamous family. Naomi Carter may have left the religion she grew up in, but the Carters will still be the Wallheims' in-laws once Kenneth and Naomi are married.
Stephen Carter, Naomi's father and the patriarch of the Carter clan, invites the Wallheims over to the Carter family compound in the remote foothills of the mountains outside Salt Lake City. Stephen Carter wishes to extend an olive branch to his future in-laws, and introduce them to his five wives and twenty-two children. But Linda suspects he also wants to try to persuade the Wallheims that his way of life is truly righteous.
From Linda's point of view, polygamy is an abhorrent practice, one that dehumanizes women and makes children vulnerable to unhealthy family structures. She and her husband, Kurt, arrive at the Carter compound braced for trouble—Linda has her eyes peeled for signs that Stephen's wives and children are unhappy or abused. Although she can't find concrete evidence of mistreatment, Linda's gut instinct tells her that something on the Carter family compound is deeply wrong. She can't quite put her finger on what—until it's too late, and one of the family members is found murdered.
Afraid that Stephen Carter's unworldly, sequestered wives and children might suffer at the hands of investigating police, Linda vows to stay at the compound until the murderer is found and the survivors are safe. But even if she manages to do more good than harm with her snooping and interfering, Linda can't unsee what she has seen during her time at the Carters'—now, confronting the legacy of polygamy in her own Mormon family raises even more questions about her already shaky faith.
From the Hardcover edition.
The Mormon church may have disavowed the polygamy it became so famous for in the 19th century, but for some Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints, "plural marriage" isn't just ancient history
Mormon bishop's wife Linda Wallheim is stunned to learn her son Kenneth has gotten engaged to a young woman from a polygamous family. Naomi Carter may have left the religion she grew up in, but the Carters will still be the Wallheims' in-laws once Kenneth and Naomi are married.
Stephen Carter, Naomi's father and the patriarch of the Carter clan, invites the Wallheims over to the Carter family compound in the remote foothills of the mountains outside Salt Lake City. Stephen Carter wishes to extend an olive branch to his future in-laws, and introduce them to his five wives and twenty-two children. But Linda suspects he also wants to try to persuade the Wallheims that his way of life is truly righteous.
From Linda's point of view, polygamy is an abhorrent practice, one that dehumanizes women and makes children vulnerable to unhealthy family structures. She and her husband, Kurt, arrive at the Carter compound braced for trouble—Linda has her eyes peeled for signs that Stephen's wives and children are unhappy or abused. Although she can't find concrete evidence of mistreatment, Linda's gut instinct tells her that something on the Carter family compound is deeply wrong. She can't quite put her finger on what—until it's too late, and one of the family members is found murdered.
Afraid that Stephen Carter's unworldly, sequestered wives and children might suffer at the hands of investigating police, Linda vows to stay at the compound until the murderer is found and the survivors are safe. But even if she manages to do more good than harm with her snooping and interfering, Linda can't unsee what she has seen during her time at the Carters'—now, confronting the legacy of polygamy in her own Mormon family raises even more questions about her already shaky faith.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Chapter 1

    My fourth son, Kenneth, pulled into the driveway as I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes. I had a sense of foreboding at the troubled look on his face and guessed that he'd waited until my husband, Kurt, was gone to work and I was alone. Kenneth had been distancing himself from the Mormon church lately, which had put a serious strain on his relationship with his father, the bishop of our ward.
    "Mom? You home?" he called out, not bothering to knock on the door.
    "In the kitchen!" I answered. I wiped my hands off and wished that I looked better, but he was my son. He'd seen me in my pajamas before, and without my hair done.
    He came over and gave me a big hug. "I love you, Mom," he said. He smelled like he'd been sweating on the drive over. "You know that, don't you?"
    This only made me feel more nervous about whatever Kenneth had come over to tell me. Of my five sons, he was the one I worried most about—well, after Samuel, my youngest, who had come out as gay last year and was currently far away in Boston on a Mormon mission.
    "What's up?" I asked cautiously.
    "I'm getting married," he said simply.
    "What? How? To whom?" Was he so estranged from the family that he had gone as far as to get engaged without even introducing us to the woman?
    "Her name is Naomi Carter," Kenneth said.
    "That's a lovely name," I said, trying to act normal about this. If he loved her, I was sure the whole family would love her, even if I had to make them do it.
    "She's great, Mom. I'm a lucky guy."
    I wished that I knew anything about her. I wished I could see them together, make sure they seemed happy together, right for each other. But I trusted Kenneth, and in the end, I hugged him fiercely. "Oh, sweetheart, I'm so happy for you." He wasn't hugging back, though. Something was wrong. "So?" I said, when I released him.
    "So what?" said Kenneth.
    "Well, what aren't you telling me? Why did you make sure I was alone to spring it on me? Does she have two heads or something? Is she a felon?" I was trying to joke, but I could tell it wasn't going over well.
    He sighed. "Naomi's part of—well, her family is only kind of Mormon."
    "Kind of Mormon? What does that mean?" With Kenneth's doubts about the church, I really hadn't expected him to marry a devout churchgoer. But that was obviously why he was nervous about telling Kurt. He must want me to act as an intermediary, to get Kurt used to the idea that they weren't going to get married in the temple—sealed as Mormon couples are in an eternal family in this life and the celestial kingdom, not just married till death, as in other religious traditions.
    Kenneth sighed again, and rubbed at his head in a way that reminded me of Kurt, if Kurt had had more hair. "I guess there's no easy way to say it, Mom. Her family is polygamous."
    I was so shocked I had to gather my thoughts. Of all my sons, Kenneth was the last one I would have expected to be interested in a polygamous branch of Mormonism. I was really not sure how I was going to handle it if Kenneth were about to tell me he'd be having multiple wives, if that was what he planned for the future with this Naomi Carter. I'd never really accepted the polygamous past of the Mormon church and had always assumed I'd never have to. I thought I'd raised Kenneth to think the same way.
    "Are they FLDS?" I asked slowly. The Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints was the most infamous polygamist branch of Mormonism, led by the now-jailed "prophet" Warren Jeffs, who had been indicted for statutory rape after he married...
About the Author-
  • Mette Ivie Harrison is the author of numerous books for young adults. She holds a PhD in German literature from Princeton University and is a nationally ranked triathlete. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, she lives in Utah with her husband and five children. She is the author of two other novels in the Linda Wallheim mystery series, The Bishop's Wife and His Right Hand.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 24, 2016
    In Harrison’s thought-provoking third Linda Wallheim mystery (after 2015’s His Right Hand), Linda, a conflicted Mormon wife and mother in Draper, Utah, has doubts about church doctrine that put a strain on her marriage. When her agnostic son, Kenneth, becomes engaged to Naomi Carter, whose physician father, Stephen, is the patriarch of a polygamist sect, Naomi asks Linda to visit her family’s compound and help determine whether her nine-year-old sister, Talitha, is being abused. At the compound, in a part of the state “off the map,” Linda discovers that not all of Stephen’s five wives are happy with their situation. When a murder occurs and the wives refuse to call the police for fear of losing their children, Linda once again turns sleuth. Never mind the contrived solution or that no one affected by the murder seems that distressed. The plight of a woman who’s struggling with a crisis of faith makes this Harrison’s most powerful and personal novel yet. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary.

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