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Brides of Eden: A True Story Imagined

Review

Brides of Eden: A True Story Imagined

From the moment 16-year-old Eva Mae Hurt laid eyes on Corvallis newcomer Joshua Creffield, she knew things would never be the same again. Before long, this preacher and false prophet has the proper, God-fearing ladies of Corvallis throwing off their corsets, letting down their hair, burning their worldly possessions, and signing over their assets. Eva Mae, her mother, and her sister Maud are just a few of Creffield’s ardent followers, and for a time, his revival meetings are even held in the Hurt home, much to the chagrin of their skeptical father. Not so easily charmed by his good looks and charisma, both Hurt and his fellow menfolk are understandably put off by Creffield’s particular brand of religious fanaticism. They’ve lost wives, daughters, girlfriends, and mothers to his way-out ideas. But when it seems things couldn’t get any worse, the men discover that Creffield has been intimate with nearly everyone of his followers on the flimsy excuse that he was trying to find the “second mother.” What ensues is a strange string of events in which many of the once-rational women are declared insane, institutionalized, and cured, only to fall once again under Creffield’s seductive spell. Murder and suicide finally bring the cult down, Creffield and all.

Based on actual events, BRIDES OF EDEN is truth imagined. Crew, author of CHILDREN OF THE RIVER, indulged a lifelong fascination in bringing the events surrounding cult-leader Joshua Creffield and his followers to life. From 1903 to 1906, Creffield and his women were the talk of Corvallis, Oregon. Crew, a Corvallis native, grew up seeped in lore about the preacher and his women and was hooked. Through extensive research conducted in the annals of Corvallis history (newspaper articles, historical records, and such), Crew was able to convincingly recreate this engaging, albeit strange, story.

Reviewed by Tammy L. Currier on January 23, 2001

Brides of Eden: A True Story Imagined
by Linda Crew

  • Publication Date: January 23, 2001
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • ISBN-10: 0060287500
  • ISBN-13: 9780060287504