Book Reviews: "Lost Boy" and "Sister Wife"
Canadian author Shelley Hrdlitschka writes about the fictional polygamist community of Unity. Celeste, defying her father and structure of her faith is found in the arms of Jon. Both are teenagers living in a world where any physical contact before marriage is deemed impure. Celeste is almost fifteen and will soon be assigned to a husband much older than she as a plural wife. Being with Jon is not an option. When they are found together, Jon decides to leave Unity. He tries to convince Celeste to go with him, but her duty to her family holds her back.
Sister Wife is told from alternating perspectives of Celeste, her devout sister Nanette, and Taviana, a runaway taken in by the members of Unity eighteen months prior. Lost Boy, published ten years after Sister Wife is told solely in Jon's perspective. This follow-up novel provides the reader with a look at the characters' journey beyond Unity. Those who choose to leave the oppressive community face a new set of challenges. Coping without Unity's rules proves difficult for Jon and the others who have left before him.
Although these stories immerse us in the polygamist religion and community of Unity, young readers can relate to the pressures and expectations felt by the characters in both novels. Each story deals with questioning faith, identity, priorities, education, and importance of family.
I was captivated by the narrators and their struggles, of which there are plenty related to much more than their religion.
Find more of this author's books at shelleyhrdlitschka.ca