Natalie R. Collins, who is on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit with me, wrote Wives and Sisters, which is just out in paperback.
For any of you who followed the cases of Elizabeth Smart and Lori Hacking, this is the book for you: a thriller set in Mormon country, about a woman whose father tyrannizes and torments her as the self-appointed messenger of God. When a brutal attack makes her desperate to escape Mormon bonds, Allison finds herself on a collision course with community leaders as they cover up the steps of a sexual predator. (You can tell this book has adult content, right?)
Kirkus Reviews called Wives and Sisters "“a white-knuckles ride all the way. Expert depiction of a young woman's struggle with the oppressive 'family values' of one kind of fundamentalism."
The backstory of how Natalie came to write this book is here, on M.J. Rose's Backstory site, and it's really interesting and terrifying, too. She talks about her separation from the Mormon church and the scary crime attempt she survived to write about.
Meanwhile, Natalie wrote us a boyfriend list, in which she brings up that oh-so-fascinating question of love and religious affiliation.
Boyfriend List—Good Girl Dates Bad Boys
by Natalie R. Collins
Stan was the popular boy, the football player, the “it man.” I really thought I was in love. My heart broke when he asked someone else to prom. Especially after he asked me to “hang out” that night when his girl of choice turned him down. I wasn’t worth the cost, I guess.
He’s the boyfriend-who-won’t-go-away-but-was-never-really-a-boyfriend. We danced around each other for years. Met at the local amusement park, where we both worked. I still run into him. He’s still hot. He’s a cop. Something about those guys with guns. My first GENTILE (non-Mormon) boyfriend. Moving on.
I can’t really remember his last name. Good thing I’m not putting last names. He was a band geek, a military brat, a bad boy, my second GENTILE (non-Mormon) boyfriend. I was just getting started. At this point, my parents started to worry. Lucky for them, of course, he moved away. Military brats do that. Their luck was short-lived.
Oh dear, another Gentile living in the land of Mormons. I’m not sure if he found me, or I found him. And how did I find all these non-Mormons in Mormonville? Kev and I weren’t a good match. He was a redhead with a rather explosive temper. I still wonder where he ended up. Maybe jail.
Well, well, lookee here. FINALLY a nice Mormon boyfriend. Nice too look at, too. Too bad he was b-o-r-i-n-g. Moving on.
I’m not putting his last name, but as you might have guessed, my bad boy Gentile streak was continuing. Pepper was my entrance into the real world. He was an Italian Catholic who found his way to Utah to ski. He never left. He should have. The women of Utah would have been safer.
Why, oh why, was I attracted to these bad boys? Tim was a recovering alcoholic I thought I could save. He’s a beautiful man, inside and out (hot, hot, hot) but just doesn’t know it. Probably never will. And back 20 years ago, I thought I could save him. He’s an incredibly talented artist and he’s also very stupid. Like most men (if I say all men, which I really mean, I will have torrents of hatemail, which I don’t need.). Like most men, Tim has been lured by the dark side of the evil voodoo woman. The one who is gorgeous, and vain, and ruled by some other moral code we don’t understand.
Younger man, irresponsible, Momma’s boy. Waste of time.
Difficult, high strung, temperamental, father of my two kids. Good most of the time. We’re still together.