In the wake of the #MeToo movement, has it become easier to speak out about sexual assault in religious communities?
Linda Wallheim, increasingly disillusioned with her religion, has begun marriage counseling with her husband, Kurt, a bishop in the Mormon Church. On other days, Linda occupies herself with happier things, like visiting her five grown sons and their families.
When Linda’s eldest son, Joseph, tells her his infant daughter’s babysitter, a local teenager named Sabrina 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 Sabrina is the victim of a terrible crime at the hands of her own classmates—including the high school’s golden boys and future church leaders.
Linda’s search for Sabrina will lead her to the darker streets of Utah and cause her to question whether the Mormon community’s most privileged and powerful will be called to task for past sins.
About the Author
Mette Ivie Harrison is the author of the Linda Wallheim mystery series, as well as numerous books for young adults. She holds a PhD in German literature from Princeton University and is a nationally ranked triathlete. A mother of five and member of the Mormon Church, she lives in Salt Lake City.
Praise for The Prodigal Daughter
“Harrison brings a unique, progressive point of view to Mormonism and bravely questions her belief system, free from arrogance but with genuine curiosity, while weaving a taut, page turning mystery.” —Seraphina Nova Glass, author of Someone's Listening
“Heart-wrenching . . . Harrison adroitly raises various ethical issues as the suspenseful plot builds to a devastating climax. Those looking for a nuanced character study will be rewarded.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Harrison digs into church patriarchy and homelessness in The Prodigal Daughter . . . Well timed with the #MeToo era, as it explores sexual assault of young women.” —The Salt Lake Tribune
“[The Prodigal Daughter] explores issues of sexual violence, the accompanying shame inspired by LDS church teachings on purity, and rape culture within a patriarchal religion . . . It deals honestly with the church in all its complexity.” —Salt Lake City Weekly
“Linda Wallheim sets off on a quest that draws her into the dark underbelly of Salt Lake City’s homeless camps and sets off a chain of events that will test her marriage and her faith. Once again, Harrison keeps the reader turning pages as the novel races to its unexpected, yet inevitable conclusion. A solid addition to this consistently strong series.” —Marcia Talley, Agatha and Anthony Award–winning author of Done Gone and more Hannah Ives mysteries
“[Harrison] paints a brutally honest picture of the faults in the LDS church, while acknowledging the positive aspects . . . Fascinating.” —Over My Dead Body!
“[Harrison] imbues her tenacious protagonist with her independence, and her own conflicts with religious dogma give her fiction indelible nuance. Readers won't find easy answers or even satisfying resolution here: that reality check continues to enhance her series with enduring authenticity.” —Shelf Awareness
“A believable story about teen runaways, violence, sexual assault, and [Harrison's] ongoing examination of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . . . Readers of Betty Webb’s books may want to try this series.” —Library Journal
Praise for the Linda Wallheim mysteries
“Linda has an engrossing voice, at once modest and assured.” —USA Today
“Excellent . . . Watching Linda Wallheim take on the church and its entitled male members as she unravels the mystery of Carrie's and Helena's disappearances is one of the chief pleasures of this richly detailed debut.” —Los Angeles Times
"Exceptional. . . Readers of all faiths will relate to kindhearted, thoughtful Linda, a devout Mormon who isn’t afraid to question the policies and leadership of the LDS church." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Mormon bishop’s wife Linda Wallheim . . . offers help only someone inside the church can give. I really enjoy her thoughtful, faith-based inner monologue." —The News & Observer