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The Prodigal Daughter

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In the wake of the #MeToo movement, has it become easier to speak out about sexual assault in religious communities? Linda Wallheim, who is increasingly jaded with the Mormon church, has begun marriage counseling with her bishop husband, Kurt, hoping to reconcile their household and philosophical disagreements. On other days, Linda occupies herself with happier things, like In the wake of the #MeToo movement, has it become easier to speak out about sexual assault in religious communities? Linda Wallheim, who is increasingly jaded with the Mormon church, has begun marriage counseling with her bishop husband, Kurt, hoping to reconcile their household and philosophical disagreements. On other days, Linda occupies herself with happier things, like visits to see her five grown sons and their families. When Linda's eldest son, Joseph, tells her his infant daughter's babysitter, a local teenager named Sage Jensen, has vanished, Linda can't help but ask questions. Her casual inquiries form the portrait of a girl under extreme pressure from her parents to be the perfect Mormon daughter, and it eventually emerges that Sage is the victim of a terrible crime at the hands of her own classmates—including the high school's academic and athletic superstars. Linda's search for Sage will lead her to the darker streets of Utah and once again cause her to question whether the Mormon community's most privileged and powerful will be called to task for past sins.


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In the wake of the #MeToo movement, has it become easier to speak out about sexual assault in religious communities? Linda Wallheim, who is increasingly jaded with the Mormon church, has begun marriage counseling with her bishop husband, Kurt, hoping to reconcile their household and philosophical disagreements. On other days, Linda occupies herself with happier things, like In the wake of the #MeToo movement, has it become easier to speak out about sexual assault in religious communities? Linda Wallheim, who is increasingly jaded with the Mormon church, has begun marriage counseling with her bishop husband, Kurt, hoping to reconcile their household and philosophical disagreements. On other days, Linda occupies herself with happier things, like visits to see her five grown sons and their families. When Linda's eldest son, Joseph, tells her his infant daughter's babysitter, a local teenager named Sage Jensen, has vanished, Linda can't help but ask questions. Her casual inquiries form the portrait of a girl under extreme pressure from her parents to be the perfect Mormon daughter, and it eventually emerges that Sage is the victim of a terrible crime at the hands of her own classmates—including the high school's academic and athletic superstars. Linda's search for Sage will lead her to the darker streets of Utah and once again cause her to question whether the Mormon community's most privileged and powerful will be called to task for past sins.

30 review for The Prodigal Daughter

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    3.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and Soho Press for an egalley in exchange for an honest review Leave it to me to pick the fifth book in a series that I have never experienced! However, I never felt lost as the author is very transparent in the main struggles of Mormon, Linda Wallheim. As the wife of the bishop, Linda has raised her children, believes in her God, but is struggling with what is taught and what is actually happening in her faith. When her son Joseph asks Linda to get involved in his m 3.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and Soho Press for an egalley in exchange for an honest review Leave it to me to pick the fifth book in a series that I have never experienced! However, I never felt lost as the author is very transparent in the main struggles of Mormon, Linda Wallheim. As the wife of the bishop, Linda has raised her children, believes in her God, but is struggling with what is taught and what is actually happening in her faith. When her son Joseph asks Linda to get involved in his missing teenage babysitter, she finds herself questioning her role in the church even further. I felt this to be a heartbreaking story with an ending that did have me shed a few tears. I guess if I had a criticism is that there were times in the story where a shift to little parts of the Wallheim family wasn't as interesting. Publication Date 25/05/21 Goodreads review 02/06/21 #TheProdigalDaughter #NetGalley

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anik-MamaBearsBookshelf

    Omg, this book was so good, it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I just had to keep reading to find out more. It's so interesting and I was just in shock whit that ending. Linda is one stronger lady. Some parts of the book were a little harder to read. The story is so realistic and so many details you really can feel like you are in the story. The author really did a good job with this book. Thank you Netgalley and Soho Press for giving me the chance of reading and reviewing this bo Omg, this book was so good, it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I just had to keep reading to find out more. It's so interesting and I was just in shock whit that ending. Linda is one stronger lady. Some parts of the book were a little harder to read. The story is so realistic and so many details you really can feel like you are in the story. The author really did a good job with this book. Thank you Netgalley and Soho Press for giving me the chance of reading and reviewing this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Regan

    I love this series. I love Harrison's writing, I love the Linda Wallheim character, I love the story lines. This one was a tough one to read because of the subject matter yet that is one of the reasons this is a must read. I would encourage mothers and daughters to read it together as well as a few fathers who might learn something about their teenaged daughters and what can happen to them. As I read it I kept reflecting on rapist Brock Turner who swam for Stanford and how Judge Perskey, also fr I love this series. I love Harrison's writing, I love the Linda Wallheim character, I love the story lines. This one was a tough one to read because of the subject matter yet that is one of the reasons this is a must read. I would encourage mothers and daughters to read it together as well as a few fathers who might learn something about their teenaged daughters and what can happen to them. As I read it I kept reflecting on rapist Brock Turner who swam for Stanford and how Judge Perskey, also from Stanford (go figure) didn't want the fact that Turner raped a young woman get in the way of his future. I call BS on that....Turner got off way easier than he should have....as do the 10 young men in Prodigal Daughter. Sabrina's parents only added to the devastation of that character's life. Only Linda gave her a glimpse of what life should be. Harrison does a marvelous job taking readers through the changes in Linda's life -- not just in this book but through the entire series. In each book she questions her life, her decisions and struggles to do right by each person she meets. In this one it was wonderful to see Linda taking a long look at her own life and her own values. She does in previous books, but in this one, with her sons' lives more or less settled she is in a space to look at what is next for her. She realizes the differences between her personal faith and trappings of her church. While her soul searching is about her religion, while we can all take a page out of her life and apply those questions to elements of our lives. I have but one issue with Mette Ivie Harrison.....she doesn't write fast enough! I could read her books every month and never tire of her writing voice or the character of Linda Wallheim.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    DNF, skip it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Cole

    The Prodigal Daughter is often a very painful book to read, wrapped as it is in the #MeToo movement and the author's own life. Has the #MeToo movement made it easier to speak out about sexual assault in religious communities? Personally, I doubt it because it's much too easy to blame outsiders for the problem. It simply couldn't happen here, not with our good little boys raised in the teachings of the church! (Notice how I did not single out the Mormon church?) Mette Ivie Harrison's life has beco The Prodigal Daughter is often a very painful book to read, wrapped as it is in the #MeToo movement and the author's own life. Has the #MeToo movement made it easier to speak out about sexual assault in religious communities? Personally, I doubt it because it's much too easy to blame outsiders for the problem. It simply couldn't happen here, not with our good little boys raised in the teachings of the church! (Notice how I did not single out the Mormon church?) Mette Ivie Harrison's life has become shredded due to her Linda Wallheim mysteries and her unflinchingly honest portrayal of crime in Mormon communities. I'd love to say that I'm shocked by the Mormon reaction to her writing, but after having lived in Provo, Utah, for three years, I am not. Her writing is honest. She talks about the good things the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does. She talks about what she strongly believes in. But-- and here's the rub-- she also talks about where the Church often fails. In The Prodigal Daughter, it's the plight of runaway and thrown-away children who either can't deal with their parents' insistence on being the perfect Mormon child or who have been thrown out because they don't live up to their parents' expectations. Harrison also paints a clear picture of Mormonism, #MeToo, and women as second-class citizens. It's not pretty, but as Linda Wallheim says, "If the truth destroys something, then it probably wasn't real to begin with." As I said earlier, The Prodigal Daughter is often painful to read as Linda tries to find Sabrina and provide her with safety and acceptance. The truth can hurt. But it's as if all the things Harrison has been living through as she wrote this book squeezed some of the heart out of it. It feels rushed and doesn't quite measure up to previous books in this excellent series, but that does not make it a bad book. Not in the slightest. If you like mysteries that provide you with a strong, clear look into another world, mysteries steeped with a sense of place so palpable that you can touch it, I strongly urge you to read Mette Ivie Harrison's series in its entirety. Begin with The Bishop's Wife. (Review copy courtesy of the publisher and Net Galley)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Mae

    This was a difficult book to read. Each of Harrison’s books in this series have been fast reads for me - I know this world, I know these kind of people, and her plots suck me in. I also am aware of the faith transition the author is undergoing, and I see that reflected in her writing. Nothing wrong with that at all, but it can be a little jarring. And the plot in this one in the era of #MeToo was hard to digest. It’s a thing that happens, has happened, and the way it played out is sadly too real This was a difficult book to read. Each of Harrison’s books in this series have been fast reads for me - I know this world, I know these kind of people, and her plots suck me in. I also am aware of the faith transition the author is undergoing, and I see that reflected in her writing. Nothing wrong with that at all, but it can be a little jarring. And the plot in this one in the era of #MeToo was hard to digest. It’s a thing that happens, has happened, and the way it played out is sadly too real. It’s upsetting that the way this story played out for Sage is so realistic. I almost wish Harrison hadn’t ended the story the way she did and gone more into the aftermath, but I also see how it was necessary for the reader to let that ending sit with them and stew. It’s a gut-punch of an addition to the Linda Wallheim series and as with all her books will cause thoughts and discussion in its wake.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Davison

    With growing disillusionment with the Mormon church, Linda Wallheim is finding it more and more difficult to be the wife of her husband, who is an important figure in the church. Although they are in marriage counseling, Linda and Kurt are at an impasse, since neither is willing to meet halfway when it comes to religion. Looking to fill her life with meaningful work, Linda agreed top search for a missing girl, Sage, who was a babysitter for her son and daughter-in-law. Her investigation reveals With growing disillusionment with the Mormon church, Linda Wallheim is finding it more and more difficult to be the wife of her husband, who is an important figure in the church. Although they are in marriage counseling, Linda and Kurt are at an impasse, since neither is willing to meet halfway when it comes to religion. Looking to fill her life with meaningful work, Linda agreed top search for a missing girl, Sage, who was a babysitter for her son and daughter-in-law. Her investigation reveals even more indecencies perpetrated by those within the church against this poor young woman. Can Linda find justice for Sage without completely ruining the future for her marriage? You will be surprised by the ending.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I wonder what the author's bishop and ward think of this series, which continually points out problems and inconsistencies in the Latter Day faith. Here, we have male privilege and bullying taken to an extreme, relying on having the reputation of being a "good boy" and women/girl's being trained to accept male superiority. Of course Linda isn't having any of that, and gets involved not in a mystery but in protecting a young girl. The strains on her marriage and family because of this, and her in I wonder what the author's bishop and ward think of this series, which continually points out problems and inconsistencies in the Latter Day faith. Here, we have male privilege and bullying taken to an extreme, relying on having the reputation of being a "good boy" and women/girl's being trained to accept male superiority. Of course Linda isn't having any of that, and gets involved not in a mystery but in protecting a young girl. The strains on her marriage and family because of this, and her increasing questions about the Church and its rules make for an interesting layer on the story. eARC provided by publisher via Netgalley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lesa

    Although Mette Ivie Harrison’s fifth Linda Wallheim mystery doesn’t have much mystery to it, The Prodigal Daughter may be more realistic with a more believable ending than many mysteries. When an amateur sleuth gets involved because a story affects them emotionally, everything may not turn out perfectly for everyone involved. Kurt and Linda Wallheim are in marriage therapy, again. Kurt’s a bishop in their local ward in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Linda, on the other hand, has Although Mette Ivie Harrison’s fifth Linda Wallheim mystery doesn’t have much mystery to it, The Prodigal Daughter may be more realistic with a more believable ending than many mysteries. When an amateur sleuth gets involved because a story affects them emotionally, everything may not turn out perfectly for everyone involved. Kurt and Linda Wallheim are in marriage therapy, again. Kurt’s a bishop in their local ward in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Linda, on the other hand, has raised their five sons, and she questions the authority of the men in the Mormon church, a church that seems to have no role for women once the children are raised. Kurt’s hand-picked therapist allows him to rant, while Linda just listens as he talks about how she’s changed. So, she’s eager to escape when their son, Joseph, calls, asking for her help. His fifteen-year-old babysitter, Sabrina Jensen, has disappeared, and he wants Linda to talk with her parents. Linda senses there’s something more than what she’s hearing from Mrs. Jensen. With a list of Sabrina’s friends in hand, she goes house to house, only to learn Sabrina changed several months earlier, and the Mormon teens are no longer friends. Instead, she turned to several teens who are not members of the church. Those teens tell Linda the truth. Sabrina was ostracized first for not making a choice between two boys, and then the boys followed up by raping her, and encouraging six others to gang rape her. Linda Wallheim is not prepared for that story, nor the list of names involved. She doesn’t know how to handle it. She reacts by tracking Sabrina, finding her with a group of homeless teens, and inviting her home. Linda tries to make Sabrina feel at home with Christmas cookies and candies, presents, and new clothes. But, Sabrina is actually the realistic one, more so than Linda. She knows she can’t live there forever. Linda and Kurt are actually sheltering a runaway. And, Sabrina believes the Mormon leaders will not do anything to help a teenage girl when the church focus is on young men who will go on future missions. Sabrina’s search for justice really only comes as a surprise to Linda. While I haven’t spoiled the book for anyone, this book about sexual assault, teen runaways and homelessness, addresses issues more realistically than many books do. One woman on her own crusade to save one teen is not going to change the situation. And, Linda’s crusade to help one child is not going to change her views of the male-dominated church. Actually, The Prodigal Daughter, even with its Christmas scene at the Wallheims, is a sad book. If a mystery is about questioning faith and man, then The Prodigal Daughter is a mystery. Otherwise, it’s a story that can only end in tragedy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vicky

    I have enjoyed this series and its warts-and-all look of life as a Latter-day Saint. Her protagonist, Linda Wallheim, echoes Harrison’s own struggle with her faith in the LDS Church as she has documented on Twitter. This continues to be present in this fifth installment. This story of a girl who is running away from expectations and from the aftermath of what happened to her is gritty and real. There are no neat and tidy endings. Linda sometimes makes things worse and sometimes makes things bette I have enjoyed this series and its warts-and-all look of life as a Latter-day Saint. Her protagonist, Linda Wallheim, echoes Harrison’s own struggle with her faith in the LDS Church as she has documented on Twitter. This continues to be present in this fifth installment. This story of a girl who is running away from expectations and from the aftermath of what happened to her is gritty and real. There are no neat and tidy endings. Linda sometimes makes things worse and sometimes makes things better. I struggled with her relationship with her husband. It’s almost as if she’s looking for everything he does wrong. She does acknowledge when he is sensitive to her needs, but it seems like mostly she’s given up on her marriage. Possible Objectionable Material: A girl recounts being raped. Lots of people get off without the punishment they deserve. Patriarchal attitudes. A marriage in trouble. Crisis of faith. Who Might Like This Book: Mystery lovers. People who like moral ambivalence and ambiguity “shades of gray”, not just black and white. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Also reviewed at http://biblioquacious.blogspot.com/20...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Not a typical mystery in that there's no murder (in the previous books, there was always at least one, I think), but similarly to its predecessors, Linda Wallheim is sticking her nose in, and I mean that in a mostly positive way. This time, it's to find a girl who's missing, (view spoiler)[which proves not terribly difficult, (hide spoiler)] however her marriage has gotten very rocky due to her faith transition (mirroring the author's own) and lack of communication - with her husband, (view spoi Not a typical mystery in that there's no murder (in the previous books, there was always at least one, I think), but similarly to its predecessors, Linda Wallheim is sticking her nose in, and I mean that in a mostly positive way. This time, it's to find a girl who's missing, (view spoiler)[which proves not terribly difficult, (hide spoiler)] however her marriage has gotten very rocky due to her faith transition (mirroring the author's own) and lack of communication - with her husband, (view spoiler)[with the missing girl (hide spoiler)] - causes all sorts of problems. Overall, the book felt somewhat realistic, with the exception that (view spoiler)[would the girls at the end have shot/stabbed someone with witnesses present? I thought they were smarter than that (hide spoiler)] . It did feel rushed and left large plot points unresolved - but I guess that's what real life is like sometimes.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christine Frezza

    Linda is self-centered, although she blames her husband for dominating her. She tries to rescue Sabrina, while Kurt rescues his wife again and again. Money is no problem for these people; getting their own way with no consequences figures in every situation. The ending is fast; where are Henry and Bella? What happened to Lyle? What did the $400 get spent on? All about Linda’s feelings, with Kurt coming to the rescue again. It would be nice if Linda realized that not all tales have a happy ending.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review. This series has strengthened over the course of its telling, with this wrenching addition being by far the darkest and most compelling yet. Linda is very much so in the throes of her faith transition, of major rifts in her marriage, and then is put into the middle of another case by one of her sons. The entire premise of this story is upsetting and horrifying, and the ending is heartbreaking. Linda Wallheim has be Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review. This series has strengthened over the course of its telling, with this wrenching addition being by far the darkest and most compelling yet. Linda is very much so in the throes of her faith transition, of major rifts in her marriage, and then is put into the middle of another case by one of her sons. The entire premise of this story is upsetting and horrifying, and the ending is heartbreaking. Linda Wallheim has been through a lot over this series, but one is a whole different plane.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Wasn't sure i would enjoy it since it is about a Mormon empty nester struggling with her faith and trying to find purpose in her life. But the way her story was wound around a young Mormon girls who had been sexually assaulted, it actually turned into a pretty good book. It is not a religious book as I was assuming it would be. It was a good story. Characters were relatable.kept me interested to the end! I do recommend reading it Wasn't sure i would enjoy it since it is about a Mormon empty nester struggling with her faith and trying to find purpose in her life. But the way her story was wound around a young Mormon girls who had been sexually assaulted, it actually turned into a pretty good book. It is not a religious book as I was assuming it would be. It was a good story. Characters were relatable.kept me interested to the end! I do recommend reading it

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kindle Worm

    3.5 ⭐️‘s Linda is deep in the throes of questioning her Mormon faith, much to the dismay of her Bishop husband. She still believes in God, but the Mormon doctrine has her disillusioned. Empty nesters and in marriage counseling, Linda isn’t sure her marriage will survive. When her son calls and tells her his babysitter is missing, Linda quickly starts investigating the cause of her disappearance and begins to search for her. What she finds out only disillusions her more as she vows to help Sabrina 3.5 ⭐️‘s Linda is deep in the throes of questioning her Mormon faith, much to the dismay of her Bishop husband. She still believes in God, but the Mormon doctrine has her disillusioned. Empty nesters and in marriage counseling, Linda isn’t sure her marriage will survive. When her son calls and tells her his babysitter is missing, Linda quickly starts investigating the cause of her disappearance and begins to search for her. What she finds out only disillusions her more as she vows to help Sabrina through it, but sometimes even the best laid plans go awry and things don’t always turn out the way we hoped. Thank you to Soho Crime and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Connie Wilson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 1st book I have read from this series. Sad sexual assault & abuse happens more than anyone realizes. Even more sad that churches cover up to protect the men involved because of women considered to be 2nd class citizens. IMO author seems to be exposing what is happening in authors Church & causing a lack of Faith at the way assault is handled by hiding it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    It's a quick read. Not the most literary offering, but interesting. Fits the pattern of the series where the protagonist gets herself in situations and then the last 10 pages are where the conflicts are resolved, whether they are believable or not. The protagonist questions the LDS faith and real life issues, which I appreciate. It's a quick read. Not the most literary offering, but interesting. Fits the pattern of the series where the protagonist gets herself in situations and then the last 10 pages are where the conflicts are resolved, whether they are believable or not. The protagonist questions the LDS faith and real life issues, which I appreciate.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    A painful and depressing read, but it feels real and honest. I love the flawed Linda with her naivete and her good-hearted, but self-centered efforts. And these books never really let you just skate along, avoiding the difficult questions. This one was a little too short and fast and ultimately felt a bit under cooked, but it was very effective.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Interesting read. Fast read. Book 5 in the series and you the reader are left wanting to know what is going to happen to Linda in her Relationship with her husband and is she going to stay in the Mormon church.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Underdeveloped characters and plot made this a “meh” book for me.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Summers

    The people in her books say aloud the things the author assumes they are thinking. It gives everything a bit of an off kilter feeling.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I really enjoy this series. I read it in no time!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Not as good as the others - not really a mystery, just a story, though Harrison gets better as a writer with time. Linda is always a compelling character. Looking forward to next one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Disappointing. Enjoyed the series up til now, but this was far more marital therapy/drama than mystery.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heather Pitts

    Very interesting but ultimately really hopeless. The book ended abruptly leaving the reader hanging.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Martha Greenough

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 15 year old LDS girl is gang raped by LDS peers. Runs away from home.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Darlene Pienta

    Could not finish. Sorry. Don't like not completing but had to get to books with a more carefully constructed narrative. Found maudlin, sophomorphic. Could not finish. Sorry. Don't like not completing but had to get to books with a more carefully constructed narrative. Found maudlin, sophomorphic.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karl Nehring

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karen

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