Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys

Fiction - General
324 Pages
Reviewed on 01/29/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I am co-author of a literature-based cookbook, The Book Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Great Works of Literature and the Passages that Feature Them (Wenger & Jensen, Ballantine, 2003), and an award-winning novel, Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys (Bonneville Books, 2007). Gabriel’s Daughters will be published in 2013.

Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys won the gold medal in Cultural Fiction in the Readers Favorite International Book Award Contest (2012)

Two short stories, “The Walnut Tree” and “The Inheritance,” appear in the Parables for Today anthology (Cedar Fort, Inc., 2012).

“Baking Day” recently won second place in The Writer magazine’s 2011 essay/memoir contest, co-sponsored by Gotham Writers Workshops, and was published at in June 2012.

A short story appears in Gruff Variations, (Writers for Charity, 2012). 10O per cent of profits support children’s literacy.

See and

I hold degrees from Utah State and Northwestern Universities. We have three grown sons: a soccer enthusiast/physician in residency living in El Paso, TX; an exercise physiologist/football coach/graduate student in Jyvaskyla, Finland; and a skydiver/embedded systems engineer in Berkeley, CA. We have been blessed with four grandchildren.

    Book Review

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.

Anne B.

"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.

Betsy B.

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.

Vered E

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.

Alice D.

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.

Joy H.

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.