Mr Wroe's Virgins

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Little, Brown Book Group, Dec 1, 2011 - Fiction - 288 pages

In 1830, as the end of the world approached, the charismatic, hunchbacked prophet of a religious sect settled in Lancashire heeds the biblical injunction and chooses seven virgins 'for comfort and succour'. Basing her novel on the life of the real John Wroe, a leader of a group called the Christian Israelite Church, Rogers crafts an impeccable narrative, interweaving the diverse mindsets of some of the chosen women and the prophet during the nine months of complex interaction. Part morality tale, part history, packed with accurate details of early 19th century life, the stories of Leah, Joanna, Hannah and Martha unfold as they cope with the hypocrisy, blind beliefs and idealism of the sexually threatening prophet.
Told with humour, irony and a generosity that embraces even the sinister Wroe, this is a compelling story of astonishing depth, elucidating religious idealism, the beginnings of socialism and the ubiquitous position of women as unpaid labourers.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Laurenbdavis - LibraryThing

A provocative and well written fictional account of the British 19th c. religious doomsday cult headed by the physically challenged but charismatic Mr. Wroe. Wroe requests from his community seven ... Read full review


User Review  - Kirkus

An earlier historical novel by Rogers (Promised Lands, 1997, etc.), first published in England in 1991, gives an intermittently compelling story of a charismatic doomsday minister who, in 1830 ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Jane Rogers has written six novels including ISLAND (longlisted for the Booker 1999) and PROMISED LANDS, which won the Writers' Guild Best Novel Award 1996. She also writes for TV and radio, and teaches Novel on the Writing MA at Sheffield Hallam University. She has two children and lives in Lancashire.

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