The Glovemaker

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Seven Mormon families have settled in the tiny town of Junction, Utah, along the bottom of a canyon.  Deborah and her husband Samuel are one those families.  They have no children.  Samuel, a wheelwright, travels for months at a time, repairing and building wheels for people along his route.  Deborah tends their orchard and makes gloves for a living.  It is 1888 and Mormons are still seen as evil for their views, particularly their custom of plural marriage.  The people who have moved to Junction have done so to live their lives without the many constraints their church puts on its members, including polygamy, while still observing the basic tenets of their faith.  One evening, in the early winter of 1888, Deborah is worrying over Samuel's lateness in returning home from his work when there is a knock at her door.  The man who enters her home is a fellow Mormon and a fugitive from the law for his marrying a third wife, the young daughter of a U.S. Marshall in Tennessee.  He is one of several who have made their way to Junction for refuge and assistance in evading the authorities.  The next day, after Deborah has lead him to the nearby home of her neighbor and good friend Nels, who will guide the fugitive to the next town, a U.S. Marshall arrives at her door.  At this point, life changes for Deborah, Nels, and all the other residents of Junction.  

This was a wonderfully written, sad but beautiful novel.  I finished it two days ago, and am still thinking about it.  I strongly recommend this book.

I thank Netgalley, the author Ann Weisgarber, and the publisher Skyhorse Publishing, for the ARC I read and thoroughly enjoyed.  This is my honest opinion.
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‘’The recent days of sun and spells of warmer afternoon had melted the snow so that it was only calf deep. As day broke, we rode past and around rock formations shaped like cathedrals. Massive pillared walls of rock streaked orange and white sat on top of buttes. Nels steered us away from deep cracks in the earth that appeared without warning. Above us, hawks rode and rafts of air with their wings stretched wide.’’

Utah, 1888. Deborah, a Mormon woman who doesn’t practice polygamy, is waiting for her husband while winter shows its harshest face. Tending the orchards and making gloves, Deborah has secluded herself from the rest of her scattered community. Things change dramatically when two men, from very different backgrounds but equally dangerous and desperate, arrive on her doorstep. From then on, it is a struggle against time and people for her and Nels, her brother-in-law who has his own shadow to face.

I was interested in reading a book about the Mormon community and The Glovemaker was a successful choice. I don’t understand their way of life and I most certainly don’t accept it but the writer chose to construct the story around Deborah and Nels, two people who question and refuse to blindly conform. This prevented me from being alienated to the point of remaining different. In beautiful prose and flowing dialogue, Weisgarber shows us a community isolated from the world around and persecuted to the point of obsession. And she manages to justify the actions of both sides. The ‘’Saints’’ and the ‘’Gentiles’’ are both threatened by people who exploit others using different aspects of religion to satisfy their own ideas and dubious convictions. Deborah and Nels are at the heart of the storm, trying not to fall down, thwarted by rage and revenge. The way the feelings and thoughts of the two main characters were developed and communicated was very effective.

The background of the story is vividly created. The wintry setting, the harsh cold, the dimly lit houses, the ordeal of loneliness and exile are features of this well-written novel, along with the themes of who is ‘’accepted’’ and who is not in a particular community. How can someone feel like a stranger within the premises of their own close-knit environment? What choice is there when you feel the obligation to ‘’protect’’ a criminal just because he is one of the ‘’faith’’? These questions form the essence of the novel and provide the best incentive for a very interesting discussion.

Deborah is a very sympathetic character and the same can be said for Nels. They are not ground-breaking or particularly memorable (hence the 4 stars…) but they are an honest, well-constructed choice for main characters in a book whose success lies in the plot and the way it unfolds, in my opinion. Deborah is the cause of some slight repetition that makes the novel a little bit slow but overall, The Glovemaker is a quiet, beautiful story about choices, their consequences and the strength of women in a world that wants to isolate and manipulate them.

‘’This was what we always did. We didn’t talk about the things that hurt us. Or the things that might. It was as if silence could stop pain and fear.’’

Many thanks to Skyhorse Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/
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Fantastic story!  I learned so much about the LDS religion.  Fast-paced story that left me wanting more!
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This book takes place in the winter of 1888 in Junction which is part of the Utah territory. Deborah Tyler is anxiously awaiting the return of her husband Samuel who is several weeks late. Deborah and seven other Mormon families are struggling to survive in this remote region where they don't agree with the practice of polygamy and some of the stricter doctrines of the Mormon faith.

When a stranger shows up at Deborah's door it sets off a chain of events that will forever change Deborah and the tiny town of Junction.

This was a fast paced read that kept my interest and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happened. Highly recommend to any historical fiction reader.
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This compelling historical novel was so good, historically accurate and well told, about the Mormon settlements in remote locations of Utah. The Glovemaker was not what I expected, and it touched me in ways I'm still trying to resolve. I was fascinated by the day-to-day struggles that a woman faced alone. I also was interested to learn more about the Mormons of that time period. I'm now curious to learn more. Excellent read!
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What a huge step in the right direction for Ann Weisgarber ! I have read her first couple of bigger books about the west and must say she has improved in her writing and her background history work by leaps and
bounds ! This was a emotionally charged , survival story of one womans journey and struggle to find her TRUE belief in her own sprirtualialty while being married into a plural marriage in the late 19th century. Going along with her on her journeys in the west will always be a rememberable time for me as well , as this is one book I won't soon be forgetting .
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This is my first read by this author. The book's historical details were finely researched by the author. The characters are very realistic in speech and mannerisms of the Mormons which is what the main character along with seven other families in this desolate Utah territory in the winter of 1888 are. 
The book was raw,very realistic and bleak. It kept my attention fully riveted on the pages. I enjoyed learning about the Mormons and some of their beliefs and practices in nineteenth-century rural Utah. This is one book that is nothing like I expected it to be, but better!
Published February 5th 2019
I was given a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
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I was completely invested in The Glovemaker right off the bat. I found this historical fiction story interesting - it stayed interesting - and I was curious to see how things would play out. 

The Glovemaker is set in the late 1800s in Utah. Deborah is anxiously awaiting the return of her husband, Samuel, from a work trip. He travels, near and far, fixing wagon wheels. Deborah, her husband’s stepbrother, Nels, and the other families living in the isolated town of Junction, are Mormon. 

One winter night, a man shows up at Deborah’s cabin, seeking shelter. He is a Mormon on the run, being pursued by a Marshal. If Deborah and the others help any men on the run, they risk punishment if they are caught aiding them. When an accident occurs, involving the Marshal, Deborah, Nels, and the rest of the Junction community are tested. 

The group faces many struggles, both internal and external. They must balance moral questions of right vs. wrong, deciding whether to protect themselves or act in accordance with their religious values, remain patient in Samuel’s absence, and do all of this while battling the harsh conditions of winter. 

I really enjoyed The Glovemaker and wasn’t sure what would end up happening or how the various situations would be resolved. I liked both Deborah and Nels, whose POVs alternate throughout the book. This was a very good story!
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This book was right up my street! I have a deep interest in the American Pioneers and the terrible hardships and determination they faced. This story and setting is evocative and bleak. Deep questions of faith and  self- determination make this a thought provoking read. It was very well researched and held my interest throughout.
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I gave this book a  5 out of 5 star review.  It was an enjoyable and I would recommend. to others.   Generously provided to me through NetGalley
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In the small Mormon settlement of Junction, Deborah has been waiting months for her husband Samuel to return. A traveling wheelwright, he has been delayed far into the winter, and she fears the worst. Samuel’s stepbrother Nels tells her of a rockslide on the road to their isolated town, but there is no confirmation of Samuel’s whereabouts and no letter to set her mind at ease. When a polygamous Mormon running from a Federal Marshal asks for help, Deborah and Nels must decide whether to help him and run the risk of getting in trouble with the law themselves.

This slow-paced book painted a vivid picture of the life, culture, and hardships of the early Mormons. Through flashbacks and memories, we learn the violent beginnings of the Mormon sect and their adversarial relationships with the “gentiles” who fear and hate them. The Mormons in Junction are “saints,” but they are unwilling to fully give up their independence to the church. Unlike most Mormon towns, they have no bishop or wardhouse, and they do not believe in “plural marriage.” Deborah herself remembers with dismay the day her mother was supplanted by a second wife. Nels evidences skepticism about the Mormon “revelations,” recognizing that the angelic messages people often receive are “confirmation” of what they already wanted to do anyway. But for both Nels and Deborah, the Mormon church is all they’ve ever known. To step away from it would be unthinkable.

A poignant character study, this book was a surprisingly satisfying read. Recommended.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

The Glovemaker is a historical fiction novel set in 1880s Utah. More specifically, it is set in a town made up of Mormons who are not closely associated with the mainstream LDS church. They don't practice plural marriage and they don't have a bishop in town, and they want to keep it that way. In fact, they came to settle in this town so they could be Mormon their way, and they don't trust outsiders easily.

When a stranger comes to town, Deborah feels obligated to let him into her house and provide him shelter from the bitter cold for the night. Her husband isn't home, and the stranger sleeps in the barn. She doesn't ask questions but she doesn't have to; it's not unheard of for men to come through their small town on their way to the next, which is a sanctuary for polygamists. Unfortunately this usually means that within a day or two, law enforcement will also come through and ask questions about which way the man went and who it was that provided shelter. 

This latest stranger has a more complicated story, which is further complicated when a lone lawman arrives looking for him. Deborah and her neighbor, Nels, must hide the stranger from the lawman and try to help him escape, but when the lawman is critically wounded they have to come to his aid as well.

Framing this story is the narrative of Samuel, Deborah's husband who is away, visiting a nearby town training others in his trade as a wheelwright. Samuel was expected home more than a month ago. Where is he? What happened to him? He should be back any day. 

Based on a real town in Utah, this story provides an insight into the culture of the Mormon faith while also feeling like a western. The story is told through alternating narrators using plain language and simple phrasing. The reader is pulled deeper into the conflicts as the stakes get higher. Where is Samuel? Will the stranger make his way to safety? Will the deputy survive? How many more lawmen are coming after him? They don't usually travel alone. And how to keep the whole town safe when they do arrive, seeing what happened to one of their own? Deborah's story is compelling and pulls the reader into her world easily.
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This was a beautiful novel set in the rugged canyon country of southern Utah and takes place in the winter of 1888. 
A few Mormon families have moved to “The Junction” they do not practice all the ways of the church anymore but haven’t completely broken away. 
This story was mostly told by Deborah, a Mormon wife waiting patiently for her traveling wheelwright husband to return home, and Nels.. the husbands stepbrother.  
Some occurrences happen that make this very suspenseful, and that tackle their moral conscience.
I read this much faster then most books.. couldn’t stay away!

Thank you to Netgalley and Skyhorse Publishing for the advanced copy!
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3.5 STARS

This is the first book I've read by the author Ann Weisgarber. I must say I was not disappointed with her writing. She writes a poignant and fascinating story. You can envision the rough and rugged landscape of Utah in the late 1880's that she writes about.

The story is told by two characters. Both are living in a very small Mormon settlement in Utah in the late 1880's. Deborah, has been left alone for many months as her husband (Samuel) is a wheelwright and travels the countryside to find work. He is past due his return. Nels, is Samuel's step-brother, who also lives alone in the settlement. One day a stranger knocks on Deborah's door. As she answers this pulls her into a predicament and she requests the help of Nels.

I did not know much about the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) history and I found it rather interesting. The story was good but at times ran a little bit too slow for my liking. Still a good book that does not end very surprisingly but yet very appropriately.

Thank-you to NetGalley, Skyhorse Publishing and Pan Macmillan (Publishers Group Canada) for granting me the opportunity to read this Advanced Reader Copy.
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WOW!  6 Stars!  Love, love, loved this book.   I am a historical fiction fan and was thrilled to read a unique story that didn't have a similar story line to any previous books I’ve read.  This one especially struck home for several reason; I am a fairly new (within the last few years) resident to Utah and understand well the tight knit Mormon culture, polygamist (yes, hard to believe but they are still thriving there) and overall exclusions vastly felt by non Mormon citizens.  

Ms. Weisgarber nailed it! Kudos and thanks for the trip back in time.

I imagine the way the author portrayed the story (1849-1927) is exactly the way life was then.  The  other fact that pulled me in was the reference to a single massacre event that occurred known as  Mountain Meadows.   I live very near to this massacare site and have often wondered what took place where the markers reside on Utah's Highway 18.  One marker on the left referencing woman and children and one on the right referencing men fascinated me but I never took the time to stop and read the details.  Well now I know.  I admit I did more research but found the author's account quite accurate to what is told in the history books.

The story is told in two voices, Nel, a widower who is an expert tracker and Deborah, a glove-maker and the wife of a wheelwright away on business.   There are 6 - 8 families that move away from the bigger cities and the tight holds of the Mormon church.  The group decided to settle in the small town of Junction, now known as Capital Reef.  The settlers of Junction practice their Mormon faith but prefer to worship and live some distance from the pressures and rigid requirements expected of the church congregation.  They have no church Junction so they gather and pray in the school.

When the law changes and it becomes illegal to have multiple wives, an influx of Mormon men begin to travel through Junction running from lawmen.  It is a harsh, unforgiving land and Deborah and Nels begin to assist the men in their journey to freedom.

The characters are incredibly well done, I felt like I knew each of them personally.  The writing style exquisite but easy to barrel through.  I hate the coined phrase "I couldn't put it down" but honestly, it fit here.  I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN!

Many thanks to Netgalley, Skyhorse Publishing and Ann Weisgarber for an ARC of this awesome book!
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Thank you to Skyhorse Publishing and Net Galley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review. I found this to be a gloomy, sad story. It is about several Mormon families who have settled in the Utah Territory. Deborah Tyler, whose husband is a wheelwright, is waiting for him to come home. When he doesn't show up, things go from bad to worse. While I admire the courage of these people, it just seems like they led such a hard, lonely life. The story is well written.
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The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber

When I reached a certain age my mother told me I must have beautiful leather gloves and she purchased them for me in black, navy and white...along with some driving gloves. As I read this book I thought about what it might be like to make gloves from scratch using leather tanned by my father keeping a book with measurements, snippets of leather and threads with people’s names beside them. My daughter now how my leather gloves and they are going strong. A good pair of gloves, no doubt, would be worn by the recipient and, if given by someone they knew, cherished forever. The gloves Deborah made were custom-bespoke and sometimes embellished. And, though Deborah’s life was not filled with frills I do believe she found beauty not only around her but in the gloves she made. 

So, what is this story about? It is about an interesting time in Utah and about a small breakaway group of Mormons who moved to Junction where most of them did not participate in plural marriages and all seemed to want a bit of distance from organized religion as they knew it. They still considered themselves “Saints” but a bit to the side rather than immersed in all of the traditions. The group was small with only about six to eight families living in the same area. A small number of the group assisted “Saints” on the run from the US Government out to catch polygamist. And, into this group comes trouble. How they deal with the trouble and how it impacts each of them is part of the story. The blurb pretty much tells what the story is about but it is so much more than the blurb. 

I have to say I learned from this book a part of history I was unaware of. I had known parts of the history of the Mormons but had not heard of some of the events mentioned in this book. I also have to say that I could truly enjoyed getting to know the characters and empathized with them as they made the decisions they did. At this point I feel I need to let this story simmer within for a bit and then take it out to look at again. I would like to think that those who remain in Junction will be happy and since Deborah seems to be a woman with both feet firmly planted on the ground I do see her moving forward and finding a way to be content in the future...at least I hope she will...and hope she will not be alone as she makes gloves for those she loves. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing for the ARC – This is my honest review. 

5 Stars
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In premise, 'The Glovemaker' is a taut, compelling, emotionally dimensional glimpse into life at the peripheries of the Church of Latter Day Saints, life in a Utah settlement in the late nineteenth century, life lived under the scrutiny of the law, the church and one's peers. Weisgarber presents the historical friction between the 'gentile' law prohibiting plural marriage, and the scriptural endorsement of having many wives and multiple families, and the greater social mistrust between Saints and gentiles, but it also suggests the ripples of discomfort within the Mormon community, the possibility of church-sanctioned violence, the existence of Saints who refuse to practice plural marriage and who reject some of the strictures on behaviour and communal life. More particularly, the narrative is focused on a woman waiting for her husband to return from his yearly journey south on business, the arrival of a fugitive Saint and what befalls the lawman pursuing him, and the internal tension of a settlement set apart from much of Mormon life but equally alienated from the rest of society by their otherness. 

Unfortunately, the execution of this went the way of 'The Snow Child' for me; the prose is too sparse, the characters too muted, the internal, emotional landscape too shadowed for the book as a whole to leave the impression it could have. What could have been taut felt flat, what could have been compelling felt unsatisfactory, what could have been emotionally real felt underdeveloped and sketch-like. I think this is very much a matter of personal taste, it's clearly not a style that works on my feelings or imagination; I think Weisgarber's treatment of the socio-cultural dynamics that accompanied the growth of Mormonism is interesting, and I commend her use of a style that works with the stark, strange abruptness of her setting, it just doesn't quite come together for me.
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Set in Utah in the 1880's,  the Glovemaker is the story of Deborah Tyler,  member of a Mormon community, who is waiting for her husband, Samuel, a travelling wheelwright to come home.  The town of Junction, where she lives, is a Mormon community, though the members have distanced themselves from some of the churches teachings.  During the period of the books setting,  the US government has branded polygamy a felony, and seeks to arrest and prosecute those it deems guilty of the crime. Junction has become a stopping point for Mormon men fleeing this type of pursuit, with Samuel and his friend Nels helping the men to find sanctuary. When one such man arrives on Deborah's doorstep late one night, she has no idea of the trouble that is coming. He is being followed by Marshals, who are hot on his heels, and when one of them is seriously injured , the whole community is in danger. 
I found the setting of the book fascinating, and loved the dilemmas of personal faith vs organised religion posed by the author. I also really enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the rugged and isolated living conditions which made me feel like I was right there alongside Deborah and Nels. The slow unfolding of the story matches the bleak landscape and wintry setting. 
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
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This was a bit of a slow start in the beginning and I just couldn't help but feel that the storyline would have been much more interesting if it was a short story rather than a full length novel. Crazy idea, right? Not enough action for my tastes but I did find the historical record interesting.
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