The Saints of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) are on the move. They are fleeing the violence they found in Ill and heading to the Promised Land. This land, claimed by Brigham Young, is in Salt Lake Valley .
Mary Rose MacKay has been dealing with her husband, Gabriel's marriage to her best friend, Bronwyn. Bronwyn had promised to keep her marriage platonic but she ends up breaking that promise resulting in a son. Now, Mary Rose is seeing Bronwyn falling in love with Gabriel.
A childhood friend of Gabriel's, Enid has decided to join the Saints after her husband, Hosea, died. When Enid and Gabriel were much younger, Enid got pregnant with Gabriel's baby but it died. Now, she not only wants Gabriel back, she wants to be his first wife!
Mary Rose agrees to Gabriel marrying Enid in hopes that it will stop Bronwyn's feelings towards him. Now, this household needs to make adjustments to add a new wife.
It's not only the MacKay household that is making changes. There are some big changes within the Saints. Suddenly, 14 year old girls are being married to men old enough to be their grandfathers. When Coal, a son in the MacKay household, tries to stop one, he's suddenly being tracked down as a distracter to the faith. Coal, though, comes up missing and with Indians in the area, everyone is sure that they have him.
Once the Saints are in Salt Lake , a new change is made and the Danites, an enforcement group within the Saints, are enforcing blood atonement. It seems to Mary Rose and Bronwyn that it's a way for those higher up within the Saints to get rid of those that don't agree with them. When their names show up on a list of people to watch, what are they going to do?
This is the second book in the Brides of Gabriel series by Diane Noble. It starts where the first book, The Sister Wife ended and continues the MacKay's journey with the Saints. While The Sister Wife was written from Mary Rose's point of view, The Betrayal is from Bronwyn's point of view.
The characters are very well done. Each has their own personality, desires and dreams. Enid not only wants to be recognized as Gabriel's first wife but she's busy working as a veterinarian. She doesn't want to live on the ranch with the other wives and children but in town. Mary Rose still loves Gabriel but doesn't like what he's becoming. Bronwyn feels guilt for betraying Mary Rose's trust and she's confused as to what she feels for Gabriel. Gabriel is rising in the hierarchy of the Saints but he's soon going to have to make some hard decisions concerning his beliefs, his family and where life is leading him.
The history that is the basis of this story is outstanding. The research that was done comes across in every page. There is no soft soaking or denying that things weren't always wonderful. Some things got off track and some men took advantage of that. It wasn't pretty. In fact, it could be called ugly. Yet, the faith stood firm and that too comes across as the Saints work on becoming a solid religion.
This isn't a straight historical novel about a family within the early Mormon Church. There are some twists within the plot and some surprises that turn up. While the story is primarily about the MacKay family, the rest of the community contributes to their story and there are still outside influences that are felt.
I enjoyed this visit to a time and a society that I don't know much about. While there have always been rumors about the Mormon Church and their beliefs, this book shares how some were started and how things were influenced. The basic belief in God and His goodness comes through, even as things don't look bright or hopeful.
I recommend this series to anyone who loves history. This series brings the beginnings of the Mormon Church alive. You don't have to be Mormon to thoroughly enjoy this series. The brave women that are portrayed are an inspiration to all.
Ensnared in a religion she increasingly questions, Bronwyn faces an impossible choice.
When recently widowed Bronwyn becomes the second wife to Gabriel MacKay, she promises her new sister wife and best friend, Mary Rose, that the marriage will remain platonic. But she finds herself falling in love with the man who has promised to keep her safe—even as her heart struggles with her promise to her friend. When Gabriel marries a third wife, and as the practice of polygamy increases and the age of brides decreases, Bronwyn begins to question the righteousness of this new religion.
Even as the Saints journey to Salt Lake Valley, their new promised land, Bronwyn and Mary Rose plot their escape. But when they are suspected of treachery by Brigham Young's secret army?whose mission it is to punish apostates?the two sister wives face the most difficult decision of their lives, one that can mean life or death for those they love.