Book Review: For Time and All Eternities

51jb501neolThis is the third book in the series by Mette Ivie Harrison. The central character, Linda Wallheim, is a feminist-leaning Mormon woman in Utah. Her husband is a bishop and she has a talent for investigating murders. I’m not normally a fan of detective fiction and whodunits, but I have enjoyed all of the books in the series.

One of the best elements of the story is the way in which Harrison reveals the complexities of Mormon life in Utah. Linda Wallheim has to do a lot of careful navigation of religion and culture to be able to investigate, and that creates a lot of weighing of choices and approaches to communication. A recurring theme is that Linda has to negotiate belief, action, and marriage with a husband that sees the LDS Church in simpler, more straightforward terms than she does. The bishop-husband’s loyalty to the Church and love of his wife often come into conflict, and this is an especially important element of this novel.

The first book, The Bishop’s Wife, centers on abuse and domestic violence. His Right Hand deals with gender identity and sexuality, and For Time and All Eternities focuses on polygamy. I don’t wish to give the story away, but Linda Wallheim’s family becomes entangled with a local independent polygamist family. There is a murder and a case of suspected abuse. Linda’s detective instincts compel her to investigate.

In the process, Harrison raises questions about the Exclusion Policy and the history of polygamy in the Mormon tradition. There are shout outs to Mormon LGBT activist Mitch Mayne, BYU-I historian Andrea Radke-Moss, and historian Michael Quinn. I was thrilled to see that the book opens with a poem by fellow Mormon feminist Kristen Shill.

I highly recommend this book and feel that it would be a good read for Mormons and non-Mormons alike. Mainstream Mormon readers might see elements of Utah culture that they have not encountered. For those outside the Church, it offers a view of Mormonism that skips over superficialities and deals directly with the intricacies of everyday Mormon life.

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Nancy Ross

Nancy Ross is an art history professor by day and a sociologist of religion by night. She lives in St. George, Utah with her husband and two daughters and co-hosts the Faith Transitions podcast.

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8 Responses

  1. Ziff says:

    Wow! This series sounds *great*! Thanks for the review.

  2. wreddyornot says:

    I highly recommend these novels too. I haven’t read *For Time and All Eternities* yet, since it hasn’t been released. I will buy it and read it as soon as I can. Mette lives in my Stake and we are friends. I find myself assigning a different last name to Kurt than Wallheim (the last name of a member in the area I think of when I’m reading her novels) or, for example, a different first name than Tom for Tom deRyke in her first novel, *The Bishop’s Wife.* That’s because her writing, characters and scenarios speak so vibrantly to me.

  3. MDearest says:

    I haven’t read any of these books, but you got me on board with Kristen Shill’s poetry. (Actually published!) I haven’t ordered enough from Amazon lately.

  4. Patty says:

    I read the first two. I have some reservations, but overall enjoyed them. I’ve requested this third book from the library.

  5. I’m excited to read this! I reviewed the first book in the series here, if any new readers want to start from the beginning: http://www.the-exponent.com/the-bishops-wife/

  6. Moss says:

    I read the first one and really enjoyed it! I was unaware the second had come out and now I have two to read! Luckiest. Girl. Ever!

  7. Dani Addante says:

    I loved the first two books! I can’t wait to get my hands on the third one!

  1. January 20, 2017

    […] Nancy Ross, Exponent II. “One of the best elements of the story is the way in which Harrison reveals the complexities of Mormon life in Utah. Linda Wallheim has to do a lot of careful navigation of religion and culture to be able to investigate, and that creates a lot of weighing of choices and approaches to communication. A recurring theme is that Linda has to negotiate belief, action, and marriage with a husband that sees the LDS Church in simpler, more straightforward terms than she does. The bishop-husband’s loyalty to the Church and love of his wife often come into conflict, and this is an especially important element of this novel . . . I highly recommend this book and feel that it would be a good read for Mormons and non-Mormons alike. Mainstream Mormon readers might see elements of Utah culture that they have not encountered. For those outside the Church, it offers a view of Mormonism that skips over superficialities and deals directly with the intricacies of everyday Mormon life.” […]

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