The Righteous and Very Real Housewives of Utah County by Miguel Santana

HousewivescvrThe Righteous and Very Real Housewives of Utah County tells the stories of Emma Harris, a passionate seventy-year old Mormon widow and the women around her: the wives of the Pratt family. The book is divided into twelve chapters, each beginning with a Mormon-themed recipe. “She was Emma Price in 1958, a high-school student contemplating college, which in those days was almost as daring as falling in love with a Mexican, even if he was Mormon.” So begins Emma’s tale, a meditation not only on life choices, but also on the resilience of the human spirit. Faith, destiny, and accidents, all collide in the life of this woman to tame her aspirations and her independent spirit. When her first love is not realized, Emma marries returned missionary Spencer Harris. Their marriage is a comfortable haven that extends nearly five decades. Years after becoming a widow, while hospitalized for a cancer treatment, she meets Dimitri Kross, a Estonian violinist. All the certainties in Emma’s life are thrown into turmoil when she falls in love for the second time in her life.

Set in Utah’s most conservative county, Miguel Santana’s elegant prose paints a human portrait of six women determined and troubled, vulnerable and yet spirited. The novel is enchanting and honest with touches of magical realism and raw eroticism, a story that talks about the longing for family and the superlative courage it takes to love unconditionally, a novel that reveals that, ultimately, no one is without sin.

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