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Posted February 24, 2008
I absolutely adored Janet's debut novel about Andy McBride and Louisa Martin, a couple who come from two different, but somewhat close religious backgrounds. Louisa comes from a Fundamentalist Polygamous upbringing and Andy comes from a mainstream LDS family and when they come together during Med School, they fall in love. From going back and forth with each of their lives, we get to know the two well. Since I am descended from a long line of Polygamous ancestors, I know and understand 'The Principle.' Janet has a compassionate understanding of polygamy, so this novel brings this misunderstood subject to a better understanding. Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys also has an ingenious Border Collie that is trained to sense when Andy is going through a seizure, so this is very interesting information that I didn't know. Smoky, the cute and scrappy mare Andy is given, does some unusual things to him that takes Miss Carolina to shed light on. The little snippets of down home country remedies by Miss Carolina add to the charm of this wonderful novel. When Louisa comes back to her home to practice medicine, she finds not everyone approves of her methods. Her father supports her in whatever she chooses, unlike the others in the community. I was impressed with how Janet weaves the storyline around a trip to Finland with some interesting tidbits about the culture. The story takes place in Utah, Kentucky, Finland and Las Vegas and we see a lot of humouous scenes unfold with ingenious outcomes. This novel brings together a great array of characters and very funny scenarios. We see love, tolerance, forgiveness abound. The scenery is breathtaking by the gift of Janet's way with words. I really enjoyed the small town country doctor storyline. This novel should be made into a movie, as it would be Oscar-worthy. I look forward to the sequel with much anticipation.
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Posted April 25, 2012
Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite
Andy McBride, M.D., has arrived in Hawthorn Valley, Kentucky to be the local doctor. Andy wants to feel needed and to be independent as he puts behind him his love for Louisa Martin who graduated from medical school with Andy but comes from a fundamentalist polygamous community. Andy's a mainstream Mormon and there’s been no polygamy in his family for well over a hundred years. It’s a lifestyle Louisa can’t escape but Andy can’t embrace. Settling into life in Hawthorn Valley, Andy has his service dog, Eliza Snow, with him as he suffers from epileptic seizures and adds a horse with a mind of her own named Smoky, a gift from his new neighbors who wonder if Dr. Andy will adapt. But adapt is just what Andy does, despite his broken heart, and he participates in neighbor's "shape note singing", meets the local healer, Miss Carolina, who is quite psychic, and guides his new community through the ups and downs in their lives. Louisa, meanwhile, tries to offer proper health care to the people of her hometown but she is condemned by the local ruling elders. Will Andy and Louisa ever overcome the difference in their backgrounds and become best friends and lovers for once and forever?
"Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys" is a pleasing and pleasant, well-written book that offers both humor and suspense in its pages. Andy, Louisa, their parents, neighbors such as the healer Miss Carolina, and friends are all well-created and totally believable characters who interact superbly with each other. The plot flows convincingly to the book's final pages and decisions that Andy and Louisa make as doctors are convincing and realistic. The reader will have not trouble accepting Louisa's attempt to make her Mormon ladies lives easier and Andy's comforting Hawthorn Valley's violin maker in his final days. "Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys" is a total joy to read and will find reader fans everywhere.
Posted April 25, 2012
Reviewed by Vered E for Readers Favorite
Dr Andy McBride and Dr Louisa Martin are both recent graduates of medical school, dedicated to helping their communities, active in their Mormon faith and in love with each other. Yet despite all that they have in common, there’s one issue that divides them: Louisa comes from a community that still practices polygamy. She is expected to return, practice medicine there and marry a man she doesn’t love, a man who already has other wives. After graduation, Louisa and Andy end up in very different places, but while a lot changes, one thing doesn’t. They can’t stop thinking of each other. Circumstances bring them back into contact. But can they manage to overcome their ideological differences?
This is the story of what happens after Andy and Louisa go their separate ways. It explores the very different communities they end up in and their experiences there. I enjoyed learning about the communities Andy and Louisa live in, and seeing that even in the differences, there is an underlying commonality in the human experiences. There was a lot of sweetness and humour, as well as an exploration of some of the practical problems that the two communities experience. The story moves at a gentle pace, with a number of interesting characters peppered throughout. Some of the descriptions and conversations could have been tightened up and edited, to improve the pace. I would recommend it to anyone interested in rural American communities, Mormons or the Church of Latter Day Saints.
Posted April 25, 2012
Reviewed by Betsy B for Readers Favorite
Andy and Louisa were medical students when they first met and fell in love. Louisa grew up in a sect that broke off from the Mormon Church over 100 years ago, that still practices polygamy. She always knew she would return to Gabriel’s Landing, Utah to take care of the members and her family. She soon realized life wasn’t as simple and loving as she remembered. The Elders attempted to force Louisa into marriage with a man of “their” choice, a man much older than her years. I admired her father’s attempt to stand up to the Elders. Andy took a position in Kentucky as a country doctor. He struggled to forget Louisa but she was constantly on his mind. Abuse reared its ugly head in both the small town in Kentucky and in Gabriel’s Landing proving that abuse exists in all cultures.
Janet Jensen carefully weaves an intricate tale replete with characters that quickly won my heart. Jensen is an amazingly talented author. She pictures she paints with words show the plot in vibrant colors. The characters dance off the page and into the hearts of the readers. I wanted Andy and Louisa to end up together. From early on it was easy to know that they loved each other. MS Jensen obviously spent much time researching polygamy and the Mormon Church. While she provides the reader with a beautiful romance she never neglects the history of the church and the insight into the culture. I truly enjoyed this love story and highly recommend it to others.
Posted April 25, 2012
Reviewed by Joy H. for Readers Favorite
With Andy being Mormon and Louisa living in a polygamist community, their relationship was in trouble from the start. Unfortunately, this is why they went their separate ways after graduating from Medical College. Even though they both loved each other, they knew life would never work for them. Louisa ended up back in her community taking care of her people, loving them, really loving them and taking care of them as they really needed and deserved. Meanwhile Andy accepts a job as a Doctor in a small town in Kentucky. They both thought the other one had moved on, marring and starting a life of their own. But they both were so wrong. Will their paths ever meet again? Will their cultural differences always be a problem between them? Find out when you read this story in its entirety.
The cultural and religious differences make this story a rather unusual one. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this story, but I thoroughly enjoyed Andy and Louisa’s journey. The author pens an interesting and intriguing story with characters that you grew to love, or didn’t love, depending on who they were. The interesting twists and turns in the story keeps the plot flowing nicely and it captured my interest until the very last pages. You will find yourself both laughing and crying as you follow the lives of Andy and Louisa. And you will find the nice little community in Kentucky to be relaxing, and a place you would want to visit, or maybe just live!
If you want a nice, good read, this would be a wonderful book for you to read and enjoy. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Posted April 25, 2012
Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers Favorite
Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys is a story of family rigidity and social restraints. Andy McBride and Louisa Martin meet while attending medical school at the University of Utah, Andy is a good looking guy, anxious to gain his degree and put his knowledge to good use. Louisa is top of her class and determined to use her degree to make a difference for the members of her people in Gabriel's Landing. Andy is attracted this beautiful, nontraditional classmate, even with her indifference to fitting in with the rest of their classmates. Her indifference to the social life that accompanies the college atmosphere only endears his heart the more. Andy suspects that Louisa hails from a polygamist family lifestyle which his lawyer father fights so hard to eliminate in their predominately Mormon state. Upon graduation, Andy fails to convinced Louisa to rebel against what he finds an abnormal existence and she returns to her small, carefully guarded Gabriel’s Landing. Years pass as the two young doctors try to forget their emotions and throw themselves into fulfilling their professional careers. When Louisa discovers that her passion to heal her community both medically and spiritually, she is pulled into the legal and illegal ramifications of the Principle of her faith.
A heart wrenching tale of polygamist struggles brings to life the realities of this antiquated way of life. The media paints an ugly picture of polygamist values, yet Janet Kay Jensen introduces a flip side to this otherwise illustrated hopeless lifestyle. Misconceptions of this religious doctrine are brought to clarity in this moving romance.
Posted January 30, 2012
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite
"Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys" by Janet Kay Jensen opens with recently graduated Dr. Andy McBride and his service dog, Eliza, arriving at his new home in Kentucky, to assume his duties as a country doctor. Through Andy the reader meets several delightful characters: Too Tall Obadiah Jones, Mel Daniels, Smokey (a horse with a personality), and Miss Caroline (well versed in natural medicines). Andy settled into life in a rural community but his heart was with Louisa.
Dr. Louisa Martin returned to her home town Gabriel’s Landing, after graduating medical school. It was unusual for a female in her culture to go to college, let alone become a doctor. Gabriel’s Landing was home to a polygamist community. Both Andy and Louisa had strong Mormon roots but were raised in very different cultures. The two young people met in college and fell in love but Louisa knew Andy could never accept the polygamist lifestyle and she wanted to bring change in her beloved Gabriel’s Landing. Often Andy thinks back on his days at school with Louisa. It was not by his choice that they were apart.
This story is narrated by both Andy and Louisa; the voice smoothly slips back and forth between the main characters. I found the peek inside Gabriel’s Landing fascinating. I was touched that Louisa’s father stood up to the council in an effort to allow her to choose her own husband. While we can look at the two opposing cultures as being different, deep in the bowels of the communities there was rape, incest, harsh beatings, coercion, and cruelty. The people in the rural Kentucky town would never admit they had much in common with Gabriel’s Landing. Andy’s tall tales and Mel’s reaction made me laugh. While this book is a love story, it is also much more. It caused me to look at my prejudices; it educated me to a culture that is very different from any I have known. It also pointed out our hypocrisies. Ms Jensen throws light on the topic of abuse. This book is an easy read. Ms Jensen is a master story teller and an expert in characterization. I look forward to more of her work.
Posted October 6, 2009
Dr. Andy McBride finds the love of his life when he meets Louisa Martin. Unfortunately, her lifestyle is in direct conflict with all he believes. He cannot accept it and she can't escape it. Andy leaves to practice medicine in Kentucky where he hopes to forget Louisa and get on with his life.
The distance from Louisa doesn't keep her from Andy's thoughts. Though he tries to get on with his life, he can't forget her. He immerses himself fully in his new life and new friends, but one of them becomes a bitter enemy who will later bring him heartache much worse than what he felt when he left Louisa behind.
DON'T YOU MARRY THE MORMON BOYS is told through both Andy and Louisa's points of view. We get to know them both; Andy's Mormon beliefs as well as Louisa's polygamist community.
Though they are so different, I couldn't help yearning for them to find some way to be together. And just when it seemed like they'd live happily ever after, Jensen throws in a curve ball that took me by surprise.
I loved DON'T YOU MARRY THE MORMON BOYS with its sweet romance and heartache it kept me turning the pages well into the night. I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love with the characters. I even learned a little about their differing beliefs along the way.
I'm not a particular fan of flashbacks and Jensen used this technique often, but it seemed to work for this novel, and once I got used to it, I hardly noticed it anymore. All in all, it was an enjoyable read. Though I didn't pass it on to my teen, I still gave it a high rating because I will definitely pass it on to my siblings and friends.
Regardless of your personal beliefs, if you like your romance with a bit of a twist, I think you'll enjoy DON'T YOU MARRY THE MORMON BOYS.