His Favorite Wife by Susan Ray Schmidt

Fifteen-year-old Susan Ray marries Verlan LeBaron after she receives a dream from God telling her this significantly older man already married to five other women is meant to be her husband. Filled with jealous, Susan finds life as the fifth wife in a plural marriage to be uch harder than she taught to believe, and finds herself questioning the practice. Five kids later, Susan is on the run from Verlan’s power hungry brother, Ervil, and the LeBaron polygamous sect in Mexico.

Schmidt provides quite a bit of insight into the workings of that polygamous clan in terms of religious politics and actual religious beliefs,  which is something I felt in Shattered Dreams, which was written by Schmidt’s sister wife Irene. I do wish I had read Schmit’s memoir and Irene’s memoir one right after the other simply because I found myself trying to remember how Irene presented this situation and her feelings as well. Case in point, Schmidt presents Irene as a motherly figure who wanted the young sister wife to feel welcomed into the family, but I recall Irene being very unhappy at Susan and Verlan’s marriage. (Or maybe I’m just confusing the wives.) The power struggles between the family of brothers who led the church became slightly confusing for me; it gets confusing when everyone is named LeBaron and married each other. A chart detailing who’s who would be a great benefit to the reader.

Books Mentioned:

  • Schmidt, Susan Ray. His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy. Twin Falls, Idaho: Kassidy Lane, 2006. Print. 434 pgs. ISBN: 099797300X. Source: Library.
  • Spencer, Irene. Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist’s Wife. New York: Center Street, 2007. Print. 385 pgs.  ISBN: 9781599957197. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Kassidy Lane. Retrieved: May 15, 2010.