In the late summer of 2015 I house sit on Bowen Island. The cottage has a garden with a water fountain, and backs onto a lagoon. I lounge in the sun, eat ripe tomatoes plucked off the vine, and fill the rooms with fresh cut flowers.
I ease back into my familiar walking group, organized when I lived full time on the island. Over coffee, the group listen to the title ideas for my manuscript and offer suggestions. I love how willing everyone is to contribute and support me with my project.
Alone at the cottage one evening, after writing down fifty possibilities, it comes to me. Polygamy, postponed by the mainstream Mormon church until the afterlife, was part of my childhood: my ancestors practiced it, my mother feared it, and my father mentioned the animosity between his two grandmothers. I grew up in its shadow. Introduced to the membership by the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, polygamy irrevocably altered the family bonds of my ancestors and those of the family that I was raised in.