Hidden Wives is a novel about two sisters coming of age in a polygamous cult in America. The book outlines the hardships they face at a crucial moment in their lives, and how these situations influence their decision about staying in their community to marry the men chosen for them, or to escape.
Although the author based many of the issues such as underage marriage, lack of education, and abuse on real situations, it was as if she chose all the shocking elements known about such groups to write about, and tried to cram them all into the story.
The characters needed more development. Rachel and Luke love each other. Why? They just met at the beginning of the book. Rachel barely speaks to him. There seems to be a mutual physical attraction. Why are we suppose to think their love conquers all, if all we know about their love is how attractive they find each other? Providing more depth would help the readers care when they are overwhelmed with the horrifying experiences of the characters. They won't feel it is just more drama for the story, they will identify with the characters, and feel outraged that such things really do happen.
The author grew up in a fundamentalist religious group, and feels passionate about the topic. The point of her book was to show why America shouldn't allow groups to do whatever they want under the guise of religious freedom. Abuses wherever they happen should not be tolerated. I agree what happens in some of these groups is horrible, and the public should be made aware of them. I think that the author should have tried to develop her story more using some of the real scenarios, but maybe not all. She could have included a note about the research she did for the book, and where you could read more about this topic in a nonfiction setting, instead of trying to put everything in this book.
I would recommend reading other books on this topic if you are interested. Caroline Jessop's Escape is her personal account of what happened to her in such a group, and is gripping.