AN UNSEEMLY WIFE

E B Moore

Not all journeys come to an end….

1867. Ruth Holtz has more blessings than she can count—a loving husband, an abundant farm, beautiful children, and the warm embrace of the Amish community. Then, the English arrive, spreading incredible stories of free land in the West and inspiring her husband to dream of a new life in Idaho.

Breaking the rules of their Order, Ruth’s husband packs up his pregnant wife and their four children and joins a wagon train heading west. Though Ruth is determined to keep separate from the English, as stricture demands, the harrowing journey soon compels her to accept help from two unlikely allies: Hortence,

more …

Not all journeys come to an end….

1867. Ruth Holtz has more blessings than she can count—a loving husband, an abundant farm, beautiful children, and the warm embrace of the Amish community. Then, the English arrive, spreading incredible stories of free land in the West and inspiring her husband to dream of a new life in Idaho.

Breaking the rules of their Order, Ruth’s husband packs up his pregnant wife and their four children and joins a wagon train heading west. Though Ruth is determined to keep separate from the English, as stricture demands, the harrowing journey soon compels her to accept help from two unlikely allies: Hortence, the preacher’s wife, and the tomboyish, teasing Sadie.

But as these new friendships lead to betrayal, what started as a quest for a brighter future ends with Ruth making unthinkable sacrifices, risking faith and family, and transforming into a woman she never imagined she’d become….

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  • NAL
  • Paperback
  • October 2014
  • 336 Pages
  • 9780451469984

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About E B Moore

E. B. Moore was born on a farm near New Hope, PA, and is a recent graduate of the Novel Incubator program at Grub Street, Boston's independent writing center. A retired metal sculptor, she is also a graduate of the school of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Moore's first book of poetry, New Eden: A Legacy was published by Finishing Line Press in 2009. Her work has appeared in literary journals including The Drum and Inkwell, as well as two anthologies of writing taken from the William Joiner Workshops. She has been a resident at Yaddo, and was accepted to the Vermont Studio Center residency on full fellowship. An Unseemly Wife is based on the life of her Old Order Amish great-grandmother.

Praise

Moore writes with lyrical beauty…I fell in love with Ruth and her family, was gripped by her fortitude through dark days, and held my breath to the heart-stopping end!—Juliette Fay, author of Shelter Me and Deep Down True

A breathtaking epic…A transporting, dramatic and thoughtful read—just the way I like them.—Nichole Bernier, author of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.

“An Unseemly Wife is a disquieting tale of dreams and delusions, community and separation, loyalty and betrayal. Ultimately, Ruth is a survivor among survivors: a woman who, despite the seismic shifts in her world, stands tenaciously at her own center.”—Katheryn Leonard Czepiel, author of A Violet Season

“Top-notch historical fiction…its characters will live with me always.Jenna Blum, Author of Those Who Save Us

Discussion Questions

In what ways is Ruth an “unseemly wife”? Do you think her answers would be the same as yours or different?

What were your first impressions of Ruth and Aaron? Were they positive or negative? Did they change over time?

Although Aaron’s actions ultimately lead to tragedy, do you think he was justified or unjustified in his determination to go west?

Ruth, Sadie and Hortence represent three wildly different backgrounds and competing notions of right and wrong. Is one of them the most “wrong” or most “right,” or do all have equally valid reasons for how they behave?

Do Ruth and Aaron have a good marriage? How would you compare their relationship to marriages you’re familiar with today?

Have you ever gone along with something for the sake of a relationship? Was it for the best or was it a mistake?

In many ways, the settling of the frontier changed the United States from a society based on community to a society based on the nuclear family. What have been some of the consequences of this change?

How does Moore use animals to clarify the attitudes of people who care for them?

How does Ruth’s relationship with God change over time? Is it a loss or a gain?

What do you think Ruth does next, after the book comes to a close?