An ABA IndieNext Selection for December 2015
What critics have said about His Right Hand:
An ABA IndieNext Selection for December 2015
"Absorbing... Besides the fact that I cannot resist a good mystery, Mette Ivie Harrison's books had an added allure... [They] are rich with real-life details that often get lost in stereotypes."
Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR's All Things Considered
"For all of its thoughtful exploration of LGBT people and issues, His Right Hand is also a good mystery. Yet it's the issues the book raises that will make readers hungry for more of Linda and her close-knit community."
Paula Woods, Los Angeles Times
"A heartfelt story that opens outsiders to a fascinating world."
The Boston Globe
"You wouldn’t expect a book about the crime-solving wife of a staid Mormon leader to be so edgy and engrossing. It has all the outward signs of being a conventional “cozy” mystery that plays it safe. But Linda Wallheim, the bishop’s wife, is quite the independent thinker who is full of surprises—and Harrison delivers a provocative tale that doesn’t shy away from timely social issues."
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
"His Right Hand is a fascinating novel that explores the LDS world and how it reacts when a treasured member of the church is not what he appears to be. Watching Linda juggle her duties as a bishop's wife, adjust to life as an empty-nester and solve a murder keeps readers turning the pages of this riveting mystery penned by a member of the LDS church." Bookreporter
"A mesmerising look into the very fibre of Mormon life... Harrison's writing is spectacularly subdued, quietly eloquent." Fresh Fiction
"A masterpiece of socially relevant genre fiction. Her voice is one of the most unique in the genre, and I cannot wait to see what subject she will address next." MysteryPeople Bookstore, Pick of the Month
"Often we forget to pay attention to the different cultures that are on our own doorstep. I find Harrison's Linda Wallheim books to be good mysteries with strong characters. That they are also meditative and enlightening is icing on the cake." Kittling Books
"Outstanding... The suspect pool may be small, but Harrison once again dramatizes the agonizing plight of those who firmly believe church doctrine and yet by their nature have a fundamental conflict with it." Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Harrison provides a fascinating look into the Mormon church from the point of view of a woman who sometimes struggles with its strict rules. Linda’s insider’s perspective is almost as engrossing as the mystery itself. Recommended for mystery lovers." Library Journal
"A fast moving crime story, but also far more than that. Deep social and moral issues dealt with, and made real with compassion and honesty. I couldn't put it down!"
"Does a wonderful job of parting the curtain on many of the Mormon Church's mysteries." Kirkus Reviews
"Linda is an extremely likable and refreshingly imperfect series lead—an ideal guide to aspects of Mormon life that may be unknown to many readers. She’s also curious, smart, and impulsive—essential traits for any successful amateur sleuth! In her author’s note, Harrison explains that this book was inspired by the journey of a family friend who came out as transgender and transitioned while remaining in the Mormon faith."
"Outstanding... The suspect pool may be small, but Harrison once again dramatizes the agonizing plight of those who firmly believe church doctrine and yet by their nature have a fundamental conflict with it."
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"I think it’s easy to see why Mette Ivie Harrison scored a bestseller with her first mystery novel, THE BISHOP’S WIFE. She has a way of explaining the tenets of the Mormon religion simply and straightforwardly, apologizing for nothing, understanding the traditions of others, and working the Mormon religion, culture and society deftly into a pretty thrilling story of detection. She has done the same thing with the second book in the series, HIS RIGHT HAND. . . .
She strives for artlessness in the best possible way. What I mean by that is she doesn’t go for the killer line or the purple paragraph. She tries for an honest style, without gaudy attachments, as if she’s telling you the story face to face. It’s not an easy effect to achieve, but when done well as it is here, it provides the honesty, the believability, and the emotional punch that connects the reader to the characters and the book."
Mark Rose, Bookgasm
From the flap:
"In the follow-up to the controversial and critically acclaimed mystery, The Bishop's Wife, Mormon housewife Linda Wallheim finds herself once again ruffling feathers in Draper, Utah, as she assists a murder investigation that is being derailed by transphobia within the LDS community.
In Draper, Utah, a tight-knit Mormon community is thrown into upheaval when their ward’s second counselor—one of the bishop’s right-hand men—is found dead in an elaborately staged murder on church property. Carl Ashby was known as a devout Mormon, a pillar of the community, and a loving husband and father. Who would want him dead?
Linda Wallheim, the wife of the ward’s bishop, can’t rest as long as the ward is suffering. She is particularly worried about Carl’s grieving family. But the entire case is turned upside down by the autopsy report, which reveals Carl Ashby was a biological female. In the Mormon church, where gender is considered part of a person’s soul, some people regard transgenderism as one of the worst possible transgressions of faith. Church officials seem to be more upset by Carl’s gender than by his murder, and more concerned with hushing up the story than solving the crime.
Linda realizes that if the police are to catch the killer, they are going to need an ally on the inside—and she is the only one who can help. Carl was living a life of secrecy for twenty years. What else was he hiding—and can Linda ferret out the key to his death before the rumors tear her community apart?"
A National Bestseller
ABA IndieNext Selection for January, 2015
An ABA IndieBound Bestseller
A PLA LibraryReads Selection for January, 2015
A Publishers Weekly Most Anticipated Book of Fall 2014
A New York Times Notable Book, 2014
From the flap:
"Linda Wallheim is the mother of five grown boys and the wife of a Mormon bishop. As bishop, Kurt Wallheim is the ward’s designated spiritual father, and that makes Linda the ward’s unofficial mother, and her days are filled with comfort visits, community service, and informal counseling.
But Linda is increasingly troubled by the church’s patriarchal structure and secrecy, especially as a disturbing situation takes shape in the ward. One cold winter morning, a neighbor, Jared Helm, appears on the Wallheims’ doorstep with his 5-year-old daughter, claiming that his wife, Carrie, disappeared in the middle of the night, leaving behind everything she owns. The circumstances surrounding Carrie’s disappearance become more suspicious the more Linda learns about them, and she becomes convinced that Jared has murdered his wife and painted himself as an abandoned husband.
Kurt asks Linda not to get involved in the unfolding family saga, but she has become obsessed with Carrie’s fate, and with the well-being of her vulnerable young daughter. She cannot let the matter rest until she finds out the truth. Is she wrong to go against her husband, the bishop, when her inner convictions are so strong?"
"Expect to see it on a lot of "Best Mysteries of the Year" lists. It will be on mine."
“The Bishop’s Wife” has good reason to draw a large readership. It places heavy emphasis on domestic abuse and on the question of how dangerous fire-breathing extremists really are. The man who inveighs against women as whores and sinners may or may not be anything worse than a crank. The man who speaks sanctimoniously of them may be much worse. In her closing acknowledgments, Ms. Harrison addresses the Mormon community in which she lives, saying she hopes she has done justice to the complexity of its doctrine and culture. “As Linda says, this is my Mormonism,” she writes. It is her hope that any readers will see “how smart, thoughtful, kind and powerful Mormon women can be, even if they seem to be following a traditionally feminine path.""
--Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Sane, wise, likable . . . [The] solution is nicely surprising, and Linda has an engrossing voice, at once modest and assured." --Charles Finch, USA Today
The rights and requirements of Mormon men and women in marriage, remarriage and temple sealing may seem a distraction from solving the mystery of Carrie's or Helena's whereabouts, but Harrison's insider view of Mormon doctrine and religious practices forms a complex tapestry that serves as background and context for the crimes and misdemeanors of the Mormon men and women of Draper. "The doctrine of temple sealing was supposed to make families feel more secure," Linda observes. "But there were times when it shackled a woman to a man who had become a tyrant, simply because of a ceremony performed and because of children created together."
--Paula Woods, LA Times.
"Harrison makes her adult debut with a stunning contemporary mystery set in Mormon country... [She] easily transports readers into a world most will find as unfamiliar as a foreign country."
— Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review
"The mystery surrounding Carrie drives the plot, but Linda herself is the most compelling thing about young adult author Harrison’s debut adult mystery about a world she knows well."
—Booklist, STARRED Review
"Adds twists aplenty to an insider's look at a religion replete with its own mysteries."
"Eye-opening . . . A novel so far from my reality I needed a telescope, but I think that's why I enjoyed this debut so much." —
Carole E. Barrowman, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"Intelligent and wry. In Linda’s dealings with her husband’s flock, author Mette Ivie Harrison gives us a rare neutral treatment of Mormonism . . . Refreshing."
—The Raleigh News & Observer
"Poses interesting questions about community in scenes that unfold against local backdrops."
—The Salt Lake City Tribune a href>
"Harrison has an eye like a Nikon camera and an educated ear. I was amazed at her perfect pitch in her choice of words and gestures . . . Her book will do well nationally. It may even spawn a series of mysteries starring the bold and benevolent bishop’s wife. But will the book be too tart for conventional LDS tastes?"
—The Deseret News
"A great mystery . . . A novel that’s well worth reading, either all night long or during a particularly boring Sacrament meeting."
"With a plot that is ripped from the headlines and an insightful look into Mormon culture, The Bishop's Wife is the perfect combination of mystery and intrigue."
"A bit like an Agatha Christie mystery: a missing woman, a detestable husband, and a little girl caught in the balance . . . The Bishop’s Wife takes readers behind the glossy exterior of the Mormon Church and directly into the Bishop’s private—and not-so-private—home and office."
—Salt Lake Magazine
"A very intriguing and captivating mystery . . . [I] just wanted to read it without stopping."
"Harrison carefully crafts the clues to lead organically to a big plot twist and a change in direction later in the book that feels earned and believable. Not every writer is skilled enough to pull that off!"
"Even without the two mysteries the book would have been an interesting read as readers follow Linda's struggles with her faith . . . Because of the broader scope of this book, I would strongly recommend the book for book groups—the discussions could last a lifetime."
—Reviewing the Evidence
"I highly recommend The Bishop’s Wife as a great work of women’s fiction. It would be an excellent choice for a book club as Mette Ivie Harrison digs deep into issues that face all women providing substantial material for discussion."
"Do not avoid reading this book because you fear being bogged down by theological rambling. You won't be. Instead you'll be drawn into a story about a very interesting woman whose conscience will not let her stand idly by. Like so many other characters in crime fiction, Linda will not rest until she's found the truth."
"One of those stories you can’t stop reading until you find out what happens next... Harrison weaves a tale of deception and treachery that takes the reader on a twisting and mysterious path."
“A wonderfully written mystery . . . The Bishop’s Wife is not only a great story, but a revealing look at Mormonism and its followers.”
—New York Journal of Books
"Turns a critical eye toward some long-held norms of a historically patriarchal religion. Throw in a wickedly twisted mystery—actually, two—and you have the makings of a page-turner that is revealing and thought-provoking."
—The Hutchinson News
"A novel that is comfortable with leaving us uncomfortable. Or, rather, that manages to leave us comfortable in our discomfort. Which is to say that I found The Bishop’s Wife an honest book."
—A Motley Vision
“Critically acclaimed author Mette Ivie Harrison's mystery debut is an insider's nuanced look at the workings of the Mormon church. Beautifully written, and spellbinding in its unflinching examination of marriage, family and faith, The Bishop's Wife is an absolute must-read!”
—Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Through the Evil Days
“Set against the unusual backdrop of a tight-knit Mormon congregation, The Bishop’s Wife is both a terrific crime novel and a wrenching story of faith, doubt, and personal tragedy.”
—Michael Wallace, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of The Righteous
“Don't be deceived by the unassuming heroine and quiet start of The Bishop's Wife. In this gripping and contemplative mystery, a woman who most people would identify as living an ordinary life discovers she is the only one willing to pursue a dangerous puzzle. As she uncovers layers of deceit she struggles to remain true to her deeply courageous self.”
—Kate Elliott, bestselling author of the Spiritwalker Trilogy
". . .an engaging read, with a compelling mystery that had me puzzling about the plot as I went about my day, and sneaking a couple of pages in at every opportunity. In particular, I appreciated how the title character, Linda, was not painted as a paragon of a woman, or endowed with increased spirituality or discernment simply because she was the bishop’s wife, or the main character.
Linda struggles with the demands put on her by loved ones and irritating people in her ward, she makes snap judgments and really dislikes some people – exactly how real people (how we) can be in our lives. The ongoing complications and effects of situations from long ago still resonate in Linda’s life, and the difficulties and rash decisions Linda makes are not sugar coated, unbelievable or unrealistic. I also appreciated how the patriarchal structure of the church is presented, and the ongoing struggles different characters have with the interpretation thereof in many areas of faith and life.
The Bishop’s Wife is a mystery story, but is also an honest exploration of how women can be pulled in too many directions by personal history, the best of intentions, sick individuals and loved ones. This is not a light, fluffy, Disney fairy-tale story, but it’s all the more honest, compelling and relatable because of it."
Kelle George, Segullah.
Back cover copy:
From the personal tragedy of a stillbirth to an Ironman and beyond, author and stay-at-home mom of five children, Mette Ivie Harrison learned life lessons about accepting herself, moving forward, pushing to become better, and bringing her family along the way--sometimes kicking and screaming.In this riveting and inspiring first-person story of going from couch potato to nationally ranked triathlete, Mette shares her experience training and racing with her family. She explores how to manage a busy family, how to ignore the things that don't matter, and how to focus on goals that create a stronger you and a stronger family. She shares how racing can be a vacation, how racing with your children strengthens your family bond, and how, when you think you've hit your wall, whether in parenthood or during hour twelve in a triathlon, you can push through and succeed. Part memoir, part manual, and all family, this incredible story of how one mom chose to remake her life and her family will inspire you to achieve greater heights.
"Impressive, dedicated, inspiring," Nathan Pollard, marathoner.
"My favorite Ironwoman," Jessica Day George
"an amazing writer, mentor, trainer, mother, and friend!" Kristyn Crow
"Mette is a fantastic triathlete with unmatched family support." Chris Bowerbank, TriUtah
"Mette demonstrated there's nothing better for a marriage than running 50 miles with your loved one and surviving the blood and blisters together." John Wocjiechowski, owner, Striders Running store
"A story of two young women born to dangerous, powerful families, with little chance of choosing their own paths in life. But they each have powers of their own, and it turns out they may have choices after all. Terrible choices. Another great story from one of my favorite authors." Orson Scott Card
"Not your standard-issue princess tale! Mette Harrison weaves a tale of two princesses who come from very different courts and have very different powers. Both must navigate hazardous royal politics as they learn what it feels like to fall love—and what they must sacrifice to stay alive." Sharon Shinn
"YA readers will love these two strong, but very different princesses in an exciting, romantic adventure." Jen Nielsen, author of The False Prince and The Runaway King
Romance Times gives The Rose Throne 4 stars and says "Harrison’s latest, highlighting moments in the lives of two very different princesses, is a refreshingly different YA novel."
From cover copy:"Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she's impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father's court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power--or the magic--to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?"
A retelling of the German epic "Tristan and Isolde" set in a contemporary American high school. Izzie's mother is a witch who makes potions, but Izzie has no magic of her own. Until the day she tries to make a love philtre for her best friend, Branna, and the new guy at school, Tris. Then the truth comes out, and nothing is ever going to be the same.
Reviews:"A compelling contemporary take on an old story that breathes new life into both magic and mythic romance." Janni Lee Simner
"A surprisingly satisfying turn into fantasy. . . Harrison’s ethical and moral questions reach to even the smallercharacters (as do snarling two-headed dogs and stinking giants). . . .Overall this works well as a riff on the magic of romance." Francisca Goldsmith
From Orson Scott Card:
"[W]ith Tris and Izzie, a contemporary high-school novel based in the story of Tristan and Isolde, Harrison jumps from her deep-and-dark stories into a completely different mood.Comedy. Truthful comedy, because it is Harrison writing it, but this story is funny all the way through.It's also great adventure."
"Izzie's own boyfriend is perfect -- captain of the football team, handsome, attentive. But Izzie is blind to what is obvious to the reader almost at once: that her best friend is absolutely stone-cold in love with Mark."
"Think of it as a funny antidote to Twilight-mania. And this time the hero is actually a hero, and not a blood-sucking impossibility."
Cover art by Larry Rostant
A Prince with the animal magic that must be kept secret, or he will beput to death. A Princess who has onlyever loved her hound, and has adangerous secret of her own. The lastthing they should do is fall in love.
"[P]owerful, surprising, moving, and deep. . . The Princess and the Hound is a classic. It defies rules and formulas. It does nothing in the way that other fantasies have taught us to expect. Yet every rule-defying decision by Harrison is exactly right, leading to a breathtakingly right ending."
"The tale's perspective from that of the marriageable prince, not the more usualdamsel's view, makes this stand out from other novels set in a folklore framework."
"With the language and feeling of a fairy tale, Harrison tells the story of . . . a likeablehero, a nuanced character who is sensitive to the needs of others while he is alsotrying to be strong and brave. Well-written and intriguing. Harrison has a PhD in Germanic literature and her intelligence and love of language shine throughout."
"What I loved about the book was not so much the retelling aspect. . .but the idea of the secrets we keep, and when it is necessary to disclose them. . . . [T]he world of Harrison's novel is one where such secrets may bring about persecution and death. . . I think a lot of teens will relate it to high school."
"Harrison's writing style is most evocative of Robin McKinley but still all her own. Readers of fantasy, animal stories and subtle romances will enjoy this novel and hope for more from this skilled author. Fans of Robin McKinley, Patricia McKillip, Franny Billingsley, Cornelia Funke and Sherwood Smith should add this to their "must" be read list.
"A handsome prince, a beautiful princess, an unusual hound, two secrets, dangerous enemies - this book has all the elements of a classic tale. This is Beauty and the Beast with several unique twists. Readers will admire the courage of the Prince and his intended bride. And who is the beast? The answer will surprise you."
"Not since Tale of Desperaux have I opened a book and wanted to read aloud so much. In her prologue Mette Ivie Harrison evoked exactly the tone and voice of a classic fairy tale in the oral tradition. . ."
Cover art by Larry Rostant
A princess who was once a hound. A bear who was once a king. When they become human again, can they still find love? And can they save the world of magic which they once disdained?
"The plot pacing is even and taught. Deep exploration of the main characters' flaws and values blends smoothly with an exploration of good versus evil. Some well-drawn descriptions of bloody battles between animals and humans may be too intense for some readers, but the love story is as compelling as the characters are strong and complex. [. . . ]Readers will find the relationship between independent Chala and pensive Richon appealing."—Amy J. Chow, School Library Journal.
"In this stand-alone companion novel to The Princess and the Hound (Eos/HarperCollins, 2007/VOYA August 2007), Harrison weaves an unusual tapestry from the strands of a folktale in which humans and animals shift forms, a fairytale in which kings and princesses outwit evil, and a moral tale in which the redemptive power of love heals great wounds, enables harrowing sacrifices, and provides unexpected reservoirs of strength. The novel begins slowly as the omniscient narrator alternates chapters between the hound's and the bear's perspective. In addition, readers expecting a conventional princess tale may be put off as this heroine loves long chases and the taste of warm blood, but Harrison's vision of female strength and courage is refreshing on its own terms, and the bear's growth toward true humanity is equally." Reviewer: Megan Lynn Isaac
"This beautifully understated tale is of magic and "unmagic," human and animal, forest and town. [ . . .]ichon the bear and Chala the hound move between animal and human existence; the relationships between animal and human, and the magic in being both, are exquisitely delineated, and the love story between the two strong protagonists is all the more powerful for being intensely restrained."
Cover art by Larry Rostant
Her parents were legends. When she was born, they gave their magic to her. And they will not take it back. Now, it is up to her if magic lives or dies. But she has lived all her life with animals. Why should it matter to her what humans do to their own magic?
From the Deseret News:
The love of the hound and the bear is one for the ages. . . . This unusual princess story is less about castles and gowns and more about characters and journeys. Harrison'swriting continues to spark the imagination and inspire readers to dream. Jessica Harrison
From One Librarian's Book Reviews
Harrison's fairy tales always feel like they are full of untapped depth to me. . . There are more levels to them underneath the top. The writing, while not flowery, immerses you in the story, forcing you to taste, feel, smell, and experience all the characters do. . . A lovely ending to this unique magical trilogy.
Cover art by Jenn Reese
Fierce's mother has left her pack to become a human. Left behind, Fierce is determined to have nothing to do with humans. But one day she finds a woman who reminds her of her mother in the forest. She hesitates for a moment, just long enough for the woman--Princess Jaleel--to turn her into a human with the wild magic. Soon Fierce is dragged into human concerns about the effects of the misuse of wild magic by Princess Jaleel. Will Fierce choose to be human and save the world or to be a hound again and save herself?
Cover art by Jenn Reese
King George and Queen Marit have lived sixteen years after the mysterious disappearance of their daughter Princess Ina. While they continue to look for her, they have adopted Dagmar as their heir and she is betrothed to Lord Morlieb, from a neighboring kingdom. But the king’s horse and other animals have become wild and feral, attacking villagers, and there is a strange wolf in the forest near the castle who looks like he has lived for a thousand years. Soon, the tolerance for animal magickers that King George has spent his whole reign to protect is gone and only Princess Dagmar can save it.
Original Cover art by Lori Koefoed
You know the mirror from the Snow White fairy tale. Or do you? One hundred years later, she is still hanging on that wall. This is her quest to be human again.
"Like a tale spun out over many winter evenings."
Kirkus "Enchanting story . . . Mira is perhaps the most intriguing and complex protagonist ever to grace the pages of a re-told fairy tale. . . .Mira, Mirror is truly original."
Amie Rose Rotruck, Children's Literature
"Grips you from the very first pageall the way to the surprising conclusion."
"[A]n extraordinary novel . . .I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. . . Mira, Mirror is one of those rare things - an imaginative fantasy that is also adeep novel about the human spirit. One of the most original, insightful fantasy novels ever written . . .This is a classic; you don't want to miss it."
"Harrison brilliantly recasts a minor propfrom the original story as a tragic heroine,and, in doing so, adds a whole new dimensionto the tale, for a job well done."
"This exciting, dark fantasy that examinesthe bonds of sisterly love will keep readersengrossed from beginning to end. . .This is a moving and at times graphic retelling."
"Highly recommended . . . Older readers will find this an engrossing, compelling fantasy."
"Exciting debut . . . Harrison's"Mira, Mirror" follows in the new traditionof "Ella Enchanted"
"The plot is rollicking and clever."
Spirit 0f 76 Recommended Book List
"Borders Recommends" List
Association of Mormon Letters Honorable Mention for Juvenile Books 2004
The Center for Children's Literature "Too Good to Miss" List 2005
Utah Center for the Book Letters for Literature Level II 2005-2006 Winner
The Children's Bookstore
Original Cover art by Greg Spalenka
Holiday House, 2002
What if you felt like you werea monster of plastic and steelinstead of a flesh-and-bloodhuman? Natalie Wills runs just so she can feel the blood rushing through her veins.
"In this stunning first novel,
Harrison takes you inside the thoughts of a young girl, forced to face a world filled with adult problems. You'll find yourself running along with her
every step of the way."
"A highly readable first novel."
"The writing style, together with the book’s trim length and large type, makes this a good choice for reluctant readers."
"While the book is hopeful, it is tinged with resignation, feelings readers will understand and appreciate." Frances Bradburn, Booklist
! ! ! ! Exceptional Rating by Today’s Books
One of Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books for 2004
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