Ezekiel's Third Wife

Ezekiel's Third Wife

One woman's polygamous Utah community is thrown into turmoil by the discovery of her sister wife in an irrigation ditch.

  • Paperback £10.99 || $15.95May 31, 2019
    978-1-78904-095-1
  • e-book £4.99 || $7.99May 31, 2019
    978-1-78904-096-8

CATEGORIZED IN

It's past midnight in the desert of Utah in the 1890's. Rachel, the third wife of a Mormon patriarch, sneaks out to make love to her secret, second husband. Instead of him, she finds her sister wife murdered in an irrigation ditch and her new husband’s boot prints around the body.

Her stepfather gathers a posse to track the apparent killer. Rachel is left behind in town, trying to uncover the real killer before her stepfather catches up to her husband and one shoots the other.

This contemporary western mystery explores tensions inside communities and gives us a new refreshing strong female heroine. As independent-minded amateur detective Rachel uses evidence and logic to uncover the murderer, she is also exploring the texture of the very fabric that holds the settlers together. Not just water, but all resources are precious in the arid land they farm; a scarcity which often results in anger and violence. Can she untangle the tight web woven by diverse peoples welded into powerful communities in the harsh landscapes of western Utah?

REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

John Bennion’s novel Ezekiel’s Third Wife immerses us in the Utah Territory of the late 1890s, a time of hardscrabble farming, plural marriage, and outsider suspicion. A dead body in a ditch after midnight raises questions of murder. But deeper still, this is a novel about individual and communal values: What debt do we owe others, and what joy can we claim for ourselves? ~ Jack Harrell, author of Caldera Ridge

Aridity, Wallace Stegner wrote long ago, is the “ultimate unity” and “the one inflexible condition” of the American West, and survival there demands cooperation and community, which aridity will test to the breaking point. Nowhere has this been more true than in the West Desert of Utah where John Bennion was born and bred. Bennion’s ruralist literary roots may reach toward Hardy and Lawrence, but go deepest into that desert dust he has never wished to shake off. Descended from 19th century British converts to Mormonism who sought to make the West Desert fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy and “blossom as the rose,” Bennion has soaked his imagination in the felt life of his patriarchal and polygamous forebears, and in this novel he summons out of the dust the voice of Rachel O’Brien Rockwood Wainwright Harker, a young polygamous wife, secret rebel, and apprentice sleuth, who discovers that “Only lust for water was strong enough to make a good person kill.” Listen for the story she has to tell. ~ Bruce W. Jorgensen, writer, poet, and literary critic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
John Bennion
John Bennion A native of the Utah desert, John Bennion writes personal and historical essays and fiction about people struggling the state's forbidding l...
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