Delighted to join the blog tour for The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber today! Huge thanks to Ellis Keene at Pan MacMillan for the invitation to join and for the gorgeous review copy!
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
In the inhospitable lands of the Utah Territory, during the winter of 1888, thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler waits for her husband, Samuel, to return home from his travels as a wheelwright. It is now the depths of winter, Samuel is weeks overdue, and Deborah is getting worried.
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.
But all is not what it seems, and when the Marshal is critically injured, Deborah and her husband’s best friend, Nels Anderson, are faced with life and death decisions that question their faith, humanity, and both of their futures.
| MY THOUGHTS |
In the late 1880’s, the federal government of America declared polygamy a felony. Bad news for the Mormons then. Men with multiple wives suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of the law and with warrants out for their arrest, many fled not just to save themselves but also to protect their families.
In the small town of Junction, we meet Deborah. She is the odd one out in this town. Married, but to a husband who is away for months at a time and with no children, the other villagers don’t quite know what to make of her. I, on the other hand, warmed to her from the moment I was introduced to her. When Deborah’s husband doesn’t make it back home on the date he should have returned, little does she know her life will be turned upside down even more.
Deborah is used to strangers showing up at her door, seeking help. She, her husband and his stepbrother run some sort of underground network and try to get men guilty of polygamy to safety. But when someone knocks on Deborah’s door, she instinctively knows trouble has arrived. Because no stranger ever comes calling in January. This unforgiving stretch of land deep in Utah territory is far too dangerous this time of year. Yet, Deborah sees no option but to help this stranger. That decision will change the lives of all the residents in Junction.
The Glovemaker is historical fiction from the top shelf. A lot of it is steeped in facts, which is always a bonus to me. This period in history was completely new to me. I learned quite a bit and am rather determined to find out more. Not every Mormon is a polygamist and the people in Junction much prefer to practice their faith in their own way. Nevertheless they will never turn their backs on their own.
The setting almost acts as a character on its own. It’s harsh and I have nothing but admiration for the people who tried to carve a life out in that place. They make it work somehow and there’s something quite comforting about knowing you can always rely on your little community, no matter what.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Glovemaker. It was easy to understand how hard it was for Deborah to make certain decisions. The wintery conditions added to the sense of isolation and throughout the story I felt quite unsettled, feeling something was coming but never really sure what that something would be. The Glovemaker is an utterly immersive story of love, faith and survival. My first introduction to Ann Weisgarber was an immense success and I look forward to reading more by her!
The Glovemaker is available to buy!
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Ann is the author of “The Glovemaker,” “The Promise,” and “The Personal History of Rachel DuPree.” She was nominated for the UK’s Orange Prize, the Orange Award for New Writers, and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. In the United States, she won the Stephen Turner Award for New Fiction and the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction. She was shortlisted for the Ohioana Book Award and was a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writer. Ann was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.
She was born in Kettering, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. She graduated from Wright State University in Dayton with a BA in Social Work and earned a MA in Sociology from the University of Houston. She has been a social worker in psychiatric and nursing home facilities, and taught sociology at Wharton County Junior College in Texas.
In addition to Ohio and Texas, Ann has lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Des Moines, Iowa. She lives in Galveston, Texas, where she’s working on a novel about a World War II German POW camp in Hearne, Texas.