Publication date: 26th February 2019
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
Deborah lives in Junction, a tiny town of seven Mormon families scattered along the floor of a canyon, and she earns her living by tending orchards and making work gloves. Isolated by the red-rock cliffs that surround the town, she and her neighbors live apart from the outside world, even regarded with suspicion by the Mormon faithful who question the depth of their belief.
When a desperate stranger who is pursued by a Federal Marshal shows up on her doorstep seeking refuge, it sets in motion a chain of events that will turn her life upside down. The man, a devout Mormon, is on the run from the US government, which has ruled the practice of polygamy to be a felony. Although Deborah is not devout and doesn’t subscribe to polygamy, she is distrustful of non-Mormons with their long tradition of persecuting believers of her wider faith.
The Glovemaker is an atmospheric tale set in the small Mormon community of Junction in Southern Utah. A small group of Mormon families have moved away from the core group to create some distance but not all together give up their faith. It was a place for those that wanted to escape religious persecution and those that needed some space within their religion.
Deborah and Samuel do not practice the faith’s practice of polygamy but are willing to help their ‘brothers’ who are hunted and persecuted for having plural wives. The men come to their door and Samuel moves them on to a hidden refuge.
The story is narrated in the 1st person by Deborah and her brother-in-law, Nels, as all through the troubles they await the return of their husband and brother Samuel to arrive home through the snow. He is late returning but there are many circumstances that could have delayed him.
When a man comes to Deborah’s door seeking help she is cautious and wants nothing to do with him but neither can she turn him away and as a life hangs in the balance this decision has a rolling effect on the whole community.
A sense of foreboding hung heavily in the air right from the onset. Set in the rugged canyon country of Southern Utah during the winter of 1888 the bitter cold was invasive as Deborah trudged through snow and ice to perform her daily routine.
Weisgarber’s writing is taut, tense and crisp. I was hooked on the mystery of Samuel’s whereabouts and waited eagerly with Deborah for his return. The Latter-day Saints religion was well explained and even though I don’t agree with their beliefs I did gain an appreciation for the religious persecution they endured.
The story is fraught with impending danger. The characters live a life of secrets and lies, always looking over their shoulder and never trusting anyone.
Although The Glovemaker is a work of fiction, the Latter-day Saints settlement at Junction (renamed Fruita) is real. The area is now Capital Reef national Park and the orchards that the early settlers planted still thrive there.
If you read Historical Fiction I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. A must read!
This review is letter 'G' in the 2019 A-Z challenge
|Photo credit: Goodreads|
Ann Weisgarber was born and raised in Kettering, Ohio. She has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and Des Moines, Iowa, but now splits her time between Sugar land, Texas and Galveston, Texas. Her first novel The Personal History of Rachel Dupree was longlisted fore the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers. Her follow-up book, The Promise, was a finalist in the Western Writers of America Best Historical Fiction Awards. The Glovemaker is her third novel.
You can connect with the author at the following sites: