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The Fire and the Ore

By: Olivia Hawker
Narrated by: Marli Watson,Billie Fulford-Brown
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Summary

Three spirited wives in nineteenth-century Utah. One husband. A compelling novel of family, sisterhood, and survival by the Washington Post bestselling author of One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow.

1857. Three women—once strangers—come together in unpredictable Utah Territory. Hopeful, desperate, and willful, they’ll allow nothing on Earth or in Heaven to stand in their way.

Following the call of their newfound Mormon faith, Tamar Loader and her family weather a brutal pilgrimage from England to Utah, where Tamar is united with her destined husband, Thomas Ricks. Clinging to a promise for the future, she abides an unexpected surprise: Thomas is already wedded to one woman—Tabitha, a local healer—and betrothed to still another.

Orphaned by tragedy and stranded in the Salt Lake Valley, Jane Shupe struggles to provide for herself and her younger sister. She is no member of the Mormon migration, yet Jane agrees to marry Thomas. Out of necessity, with no love lost, she too must bear the trials of a sister-wife.

But when the US Army’s invasion brings the rebellious Mormon community to heel, Tamar, Jane, and Tabitha are forced to retreat into the hostile desert wilderness with little in common but the same man—and the resolve to keep themselves and their children alive. What they discover, as one, is redemption, a new definition of family, and a bond stronger than matrimony that is tested like never before.

©2022 Olivia Hawker (P)2022 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

“An interesting and readable story, but what makes it more profound is that all these characters actually existed, with nearly unchanged backstories.” (Booklist)

“With The Fire and the Ore, Olivia Hawker delivers a compelling and epic novel that proves she is a master of her craft, a storyteller of supreme talent. This book is all heart. It’s meticulously researched, brilliantly constructed, and rich with historical detail. On top of all that, it’s a stunning and breathtaking page-turner…This is, quite simply, a beautiful book that readers will love and devour.” (Julianne MacLean, USA Today best-selling author)

“A beautiful and nuanced story about a little-known and little-understood period of history and three women who have every reason to dislike one another but, driven by different levels of faith, need, and ambition, find their way to a deep and lasting bond. The Fire and the Ore is a well-researched and deeply felt novel of tragedy, hope, and connection.” (Megan Chance, best-selling author of A Splendid Ruin)

What listeners say about The Fire and the Ore

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  • L. Jobson
  • 18-10-22

Beautifully written & thought provoking

I got hooked on Olivia Hawker's prose while reading One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow. The Fire and the Ore is another masterfully written book. It would have been an intriguing historical novel even if it was "only" about the very different lives of three women on the American Frontier in the 1850s, but it was so much more. I had very little knowledge of the Mormon culture, Deseret, and the early years of the Utah Territory, before reading this novel. The book got me so intrigued, that I found myself searching for images of places, as I went along. Reading about the Mormon handcart migration was horrific. What a tragic journey.

It is a story of overcoming adversity, of female friendships, chosen family, and faith. It is also a history lesson on why gender equality matters, especially in the most vulnerable of positions. Hawker threaded the story masterfully by not taking ideological sides on polygamy, and rather addressing the many complicated feelings directly. As I followed the characters' physical and emotional journeys, I got to understand their reasons.

The author's note at the end adds more authenticity to the story. I ended up searching for each character, and the importance of telling this narrative was reinforced in even more clarity, when I found long entries of the men's lives, but only names, dates of birth/death, and number of children had, for the women. Not allowing the stories of women, whose societal value was directly tied to whom they married and how many live children they birthed, is essential to understand both our past and our future.

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  • Yecaln
  • 01-12-22

Captivating!!

I could not listen to this book fast enough. The narration was absolutely perfect. They brought the book to life - true acting with beautiful, soothing voices. I am a fan of the author but bought this book on a whim. I had an extra credit. I am not religious, but this book does not focus on religion, but on adventure and relationships. Highly recommend

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  • Ann Badasch
  • 30-11-22

Author’s notes

There seemed to be little substance. I was dismayed by the Wives lack of decision making skills! I learned more about Mormon
History in the last 20 minutes listening to the Author’s notes.

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  • KrisS
  • 30-11-22

Pretty standard

This book seemed like fairly standard female based historical fiction. Definitely enjoyable. I actually liked the book a bit better while listening to the author's notes which state the characters are based on real life characters and one of the women is her great grandmother.

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  • Traveltime
  • 06-11-22

Another brilliant novel by Olivia Hawker

This novel brings up two fascinating topics: religious faith and fervor and polygamy. Both still happening to this day. I really like how she presented both.

In my opinion, the UK? narrator did a much better job than the overly breathiness of the other narrator. but still a great listen.

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  • Debbie
  • 05-11-22

Another hit by Ms. Hawker

I loved this book. Ms. Hawker spins moving tails about people real and fictitious.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 20-10-22

Totally indoctrination into the polygamist sect of the Mormon religion

I was hoping the storyline would focus on the strengths of the women but this novel is sanctimonious garbage.

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  • KC
  • 03-10-22

Junk

Pure junk! I bought it because it was on sale. Only $1.99. After around 20. minutes I decided it was tripe. Tried to get my money back. I guess I took too long to get around to trying it. That’s the problem with buying from Audible’s sales.