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The Prophet's Wife

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Member Reviews

I'm not sure if it's my mood, or kindle-reading instead of physical-copy reading but gosh I found this so, so so long. I really liked it - but I can't imagine who I would recommend this to. It was LONG, but I stuck with it because I was wanting some "Ninth Wife" drama.
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Thank you Book Club Girl Early Read program and William Morrow Harper Collin Publishers for the Net Galley early ebook edition of The Prophet's Wife: A Novel of an American Faith. Having been interested in the history of the Mormon church, I appreciated learning more about their history, but especially from the viewpoint of Joseph Smith's first wife. The use of older vocabulary helped set the historic scene. Grant switches back and forth from the time of Smith's death and the key moment of his life after meeting his wife, which was sometimes a challenge, but in the end, I believe it helps the reader to better understand the complex person that Emma Smith was. The story also provides insight on Brigham Young and the transfer of power from Smith to Young. All in all, a very good read for those who love historical fiction.

Posted on Goodreads, 1/2/2022
when I try to add the link to my Goodreads review, it comes up not valid.
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Interesting read told from Joseph Smith's wife and how the start of the Mormon religion.  Interesting perspective on the life in the early 1800's when people forge their own path.
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Grant’s amazing book, The Prophet’s Wife, brings to life a vivid portrait of Emma Smith, and does a beautiful job of bringing readers into her world, her mind, and her heart. This is just the book we have been needing to restore this founder to her rightful historical place. .
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A slow moving historical fiction. Every event that I wanted Emma to have an opinion on were explained away in a sentence. I just couldn’t get into the book and DNF at 39%.
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The Prophet’s wife is a retelling of the beginning of the Mormon church as seen through the eyes of Emma Smith, wife of Joseph Smith. Emma is a strong woman who while not totally agreeing with her husbands views and actions while building the church, supports and councils her husband wisely. Not being familiar with Mormon history, I was surprised as to the poor treatment of the members from the “Gentile” as they called them in the areas they settled in. I was particularly surprised at all the conflict with townspeople even before the doctrine of plural marriage was established. The book does a fantastic job of portraying Emma as the strong, rational wife standing behind her dreamer husband despite all odds. It was a great read and sent me researching to learn more about the Church’s rocky start.
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This literary historical novel about the origins of the Mormon faith blew me away. 

I expected to hate the character of Joseph Smith, or at the very least, think he was crazy, a liar, or both. But after reading this story from his first wife’s point of view, I see him as painfully human. The narration is from Emma’s point of view, both as the events take place, and her reflections later in her life. 

What struck me most was: IT COULD HAVE BEEN ME. I could have been the prophet’s wife—swept away by the mysteries and fear and desire to be loved. And the all-consuming desire to not be punished by a relentlessly unforgiving deity. 

The early nineteenth century was a whole different ball game in regards to religion and family ties. Especially having to do with reasons for getting married or staying married. Women were powerless in most things, and once they became mothers, most choices they made had everything to do with the safety and future prospects of their children. Such was the case with Emma, and yet another reason that her whole life COULD HAVE BEEN MINE if I had been in her shoes. Mind-boggling. 

I highly recommend this book for fans of literary historical fiction, and for anyone interested in the history of the Mormon faith. 

I read a netgalley ARC, and this book will be released in February 2022 by @williammorrowbooks 

Preorder this book right now! Immediately! 

Content warning: It covers the early days of the Mormon faith. It is done with great care and respect, but it also paints every historical character as fully human with all kinds of flaws. Also includes infant death and violence.
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Such an interesting book. I hadn’t given much thought to Emma Hale Smith and when I saw this book I was instantly drawn to it, wanting to find out more. Well written and compelling.
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Oof! This book! Easily one of the finest novels I've read—just wrecked me. So beautifully written, so damn good. A more coherent review and endorsement to come once I have a chance to gather my thoughts. But trust me, you don't want to miss this one.
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A fictional yet historical look at the true wife of Joseph Smith and the founding of the Mormon Church. A compelling read from beginning to end.
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I'll admit, I really didn't know anything about the history of the founding of the LDS church before reading this book. I found myself researching it on my own to learn more. I really liked that this book focused on the point of view of the women involved, questioning whether or not they truly believed or just had no choice but to go along with the men in such a restrictive culture. It was fascinating to read how it all evolved. Sometimes the historical narrative felt a little slow, and a map of the area with the towns notated would have been helpful. Overall I found this a very interesting historical fictional biography of Emma Smith, the wife of the prophet and founder of the LDS church Joseph Smith. I received a copy of this book from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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The Prophet's Wife by Libbie Grant tells the story of Emma Smith the wife of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Norman Church. What an interesting read! Very well written. I was able to follow the 2 different time lines. Thanks for titling  the chapters and providing dates. It would be helpful to include a map also. The discussion at the end of the book by the author was helpful. It was interesting to hear what happened afterwards. Emma expressed thoughts and emotional that I was was thinking. Is this man crazy, or for real. I'm still not sure. I will recommend. Thank you for letting me review this book
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The Prophet's Wife tells the story of the early and turbulent days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Emma, as portrayed by Libbie Grant, is trapped in marriage to the charismatic church founder.  She comes to love the man who is her spouse and father of her children and works with him to grow his church.  But she can also see Joseph's weaknesses.  She endures estrangement from parents, poverty, loss of children and twice has to flee during the night to save her own life and the lives of her children.  She is also seen as a leader for women and works tirelessly to help the poor and needy.

This book will provoke conversations.  It is well researched historically and compelling to read.  It is also historical fiction and the private interactions are created by the author.  I appreciate Grant's listing the books she used as sources (some of which I've read).  I also like her transparency in listing what she has changed for dramatic purposes for the story.  Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow and Custom House for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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A wonder ti read! A compelling look at the start of the Church of Latter Day Daints told through the eyes of the sometimes skeptical wife of Joseph Smith. I was thoroughly engaged as I learned a lot of history I was unfamiliar of. A must read!
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The Prophet’s Wife is the story of the beginnings of the Mormon religion, from the perspective of Emma, the woman who saw it all from the inside as the wife of founder Joseph Smith. Emma was wrapped up in the idealistic beginnings of the church, but began to struggle to reconcile her love for Joseph with doubts about the motivation behind some of Joseph’s revelations that took the church in directions Emma couldn’t bring herself to accept. 

It’s all about the age old story of the lies men tell to hold onto power, and how easily people can be caught up in their beliefs, following leaders that tell them what they want to hear. 

Thanks to NetGalley, William Morrow and Custom House for the Advanced Reader’s Copy, and for author Libbie Grant for bringing this important story to life.
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Expansive and riveting, The Prophet’s Wife is a fascinating exploration of the roots of the Mormon faith, conveyed through the eyes of Emma, Joseph Smith’s first wife. 

Rich with historical detail and empathetic, compassionate storytelling, this novel is both heartbreaking and inspirational as readers follow Emma and her struggle with reconciling her faith against her wavering devotion to the man some consider a prophet and some consider a heretic. Absolutely enthralling.
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THIS BOOK!! SO RELEVANT--I didn't realize I had questions about how the Mormon Prophet's wife felt about all of this, or if she was duped, or if she went along, or if she had any choice at all. I've always had pretty distinct feelings about the young women who find themselves in a plural marriage, and what they think about it, once the glamouring is over. Funny thing is, while I didn't have questions about Joseph Smith's wife before I picked up this book, I do have so many questions about exactly how people can believe things they believe these days. (I'm writing this within the same month that about 1,000 folks showed up at the Dallas Trademart for JFK's second coming, as an example.) So the timeliness of this book is hard to overstate. THE PROPHET'S WIFE is a compelling story which sheds light on a time in history when people are searching so hard for a savior on earth that they'll rush in and make a man much more than he is, while overlooking his very obvious failings. 

To be clear, there is a setup to the story. And it is well done. Yet I found myself impatient, saying--yes but, how--only to be swept in by a certain point and realize I was being shown how and yet I was blind to it, just as Emma likely was, as well. Oh, the duplicitousness of the powerful. 

And then there's the women--and why they never joined forces and ended it all. The answer to that question feels very timely, too. So, from about the 50% mark, I raced to the end of the book--sometimes in absolute horror but also in complete immersion. No doubt about it, Grant is a great story teller, building her world and characters precisely, so that the story comes alive in the reader's mind. Book clubs will have much to discuss. 

I'm all for women's biographical fiction, especially women whose contributions--or enabling--have led to momentous movements which still affect us today. This is just such a book. Highly recommend.
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The Prophet's Wife has been a joy, a pleasure, and a privilege to read. The catharsis I experienced in this was validating in ways few things in life can be (full disclosure, I was raised in the Mormon faith). It tells the story of the foundation and turbulent early years of the Mormon church through the life and lens of Emma Hale Smith, Joseph Smith's first wife.

The Mormon religion was founded in the fraught and volatile time of American religious revivalism of the early 1800's. The figures central to its inception are routinely mythologized by its adherents and the current LDS body, or outright forgotten (much to the detriment of historical accuracy). Many of those figures were far more human that what has been built up around them (hint, hint, we're talking about Joseph among others). As history shows, things are never as pure as nostalgia would have us wish for.

Libbie Grant, through exceptional prose and deeply complex characters, has written a novel that gets as close to the truth as we can have with this tale. Few things are perfect in their creation, least of all a religion.

This is powerful literature. This is literature that gives the reader the reason to pause and reflect on what they think they know. We need powerful literature in our lives and in the world.

Thanks go to NetGalley for the ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) and to the author, Libbie Grant for manifesting this work into the world.
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THE PROPHET'S WIFE is a fascinating look at the origin story of an American religion—and an equally fascinating portrayal of what we're willing to endure in the name of love and faith. Emma and Joseph Smith are both deeply flawed and curiously sympathetic, together making one of the most interesting and nuanced portrayals of a marriage I've read in a very long time. The psychology at work in this book is brilliant.

Emma's firm dignity and quiet strength aren't the way "powerful women" are usually handled in literature, but it feels so true to her character as presented. And while I have no doubt that some readers might dislike the book's portrayal of the early LDS faith—the author will be receiving emails— I found it thoughtful and artfully done. Joseph Smith as written here isn't a demagogue or a blistering false prophet: he's a human being who wants desperately, all-consumingly to believe and be believed. It made me feel toward him like Emma does: drawn to him, longing to protect him from himself, wishing the story could end differently.

THE PROPHET'S WIFE made me want to do more research of my own into the story it's telling, and for me that's the mark of successful historical fiction.
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