Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Section 132 by Helga Zeiner (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Helga Zeiner, author of Section 132!

Author Guest Post

A Different Tale Of 'Sister-Wives'

Thank you for inviting me to this showcase.

I was born in Germany and left my home country when I was only eighteen. After spending the next 20 years working in exciting and exotic places like Sydney and Hong Kong, I eventually settled in Canada.

Leaving my family home as a very young, single girl proves that I have been quite adventurous. I have also always been fiercely independent. So the notion of a girl becoming the youngest sister-wife to one of her father's friends seemed ludicrous when I heard about such a case for the first time. After researching into it, I discovered that this sensational story was true. I researched even more, found out a lot about the family dynamics inside of a polygamous community - and eventually wrote my novel Section 132 using the true case a basic anchor point. 

I have to admit, while researching and writing this story, I found out things that went way beyond what my usually vivid imagination dreams up. What goes on behind the closed doors of those polygamous sects has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the contrived and construed productions of TV reality shows like 'Sister-Wives' or 'Big Love'. Don't believe for one second that sister-wives are a happy bunch of equals.

Although my novel is fictional, I have been told by many polygamy insiders who have read it, that my research has been impeccable, and that I have managed to capture the twisted world of this cult in all its horrid decadence. 

I have also been told by readers outside of this life-style that the novel is a page-turner. That makes me happy. As a writer of suspense novel, it is the biggest compliment when people tell you that they were exhausted because they couldn't stop reading all night. I very much hope you too will soon belong to my wonderful circle of sleepless readers. 

~ Helga Zeiner
   Author of Section 132
   'Imprisoned In A Polygamous Sect'
   A Thrilling, Fact-Based, Page Turner

About The Author

Helga Zeiner is a Canadian and German citizen At the age of 18, Helga completed her arts degree at the Art School of Bavaria, and then left Germany. She lived and worked for two years in Australia, and twelve years in Hong Kong. Since 2004 she has lived with her husband Manfred in the wilderness of British Columbia, about 5 hours north of Vancouver. There they own over 500 acres which they have developed into a gated cabin community, the Rainbow Country Estate. For as long as she can remember, Helga has been writing novels, usually in her spare time. Today most of her time is devoted to writing, but she also manages the land development company, is politically active, enjoys outdoor sports and loves smoking cigars.

Helga Zeiner's Section 132 Virtual Book Tour Page On Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win 1 eBook Copy of Section 132

Contest Dates: 9/10-16/12

To enter to win (1) eBook copy of Section 132, post a comment below and please include your name and email address! One (1) winner will be selected using the number generator on September 17th. The winner will be notified via Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Review

Section 132 by Helga Zeiner
Publisher: POW WOW Books
Publication Date: July 1, 2011
Format: Paperback - 458 pages / Kindle - 623 KB / Nook - 1 MB
ISBN: 0986879800
Genre: Suspense Thriller 

BUY THE BOOK: Section 132

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

Lillian grows up in an American fundamentalist Mormon sect which still practices polygamy. At thirteen she is forced by her father to become the child-bride of a Canadian Bishop. His compound is located deep in the wilderness of British Columbia, totally isolated from the rest of the world. Lillian wants out, but rebellion against her omnipotent husband is dangerous. When the land developer Richard Bergman buys the property next to the Bishop’s compound, he gets drawn into the sect’s secret. After discovering the true nature of his neighbor’s clandestine dealings, Richard is confronted with his own moral shortcomings and has to make some serious life-choices which affect everybody involved.

Book Excerpt:

Martha knew the Bishop was coming for her. His boots stomped toward the office, and when he unlocked the door, she moved back to the opposite wall, trying to melt into it. The room was only about ten feet deep, and he was threateningly close as soon as he had entered. She saw the gun strap slung over his shoulder. Marion was beside him, her face still wet from crying, but already setting into a mask of acceptance and denial. Empty eyes buried in a stone hard expression. With only minimal movement of her body, she looked like a motionless statue, placed there only as an accessory to her husband, an extension of his wrath, coming alive only to cater to his demands. For the moment, he needed nothing of her except to observe him in all his glory as the executor of the faith.

Martha was not scared of him, but she was terrified of the unknown. What cruelty had he planned for her? Would she have to suffer long? It would be easier to bear if she knew what to expect.

She didn’t have to wait long.

“Get out of here, you worthless piece of shit!” he snapped at her. He slipped the gun strap off his shoulder and casually swung the hunting rifle in front of his massive torso like a trophy. “Here, see this! Fear this! It is the Lord’s instrument of vengeance. He has appointed me to be his executioner. Commanded me to exterminate filthy vermin like you. Get out, you slut, so I can punish you for your sins!” He came closer, lowered the weapon and prodded her thigh with the tip of the rifle. Martha jumped sideways and was forced to move forward and slide past him to the door.

He directed her with his weapon. “Bitch! Out with you! Outside! We don’t want a mess in here. Out you go, you miserable creature! I’ll show you who your master is. Move it, bitch, don’t drag your feet.” Martha moved a little faster. She was numb, didn’t even feel herself walking past Marion who remained grotesquely frozen in her stance.

The Bishop kept pushing her forward, down the hallway, to the back entrance of the house. “Go, go, go. Let’s have a little target practise. You’d better move a bit faster, or it won’t be fun at all. Outside you go.”

He pushed her through the back door and out into the yard. “When I count to three, you run. If you make it over there, I’ll let you live. The Lord will decide.”

The distance from the house to the trees was much larger than she remembered. But it didn’t matter; he would get her anyway. Best to go slow, otherwise he might miss and only injure her.


Martha took a deep breath. He slammed his rifle painfully into her back. She nearly lost her balance.


She forgot her resolution to be an easy target and instinctively started to run.


She ran as fast as she could, trying to get away from his horrible ‘eeeee’. She practically flew over the ground, driven by her survival instinct, until she stumbled, lost her balance and fell face down on the ground. A sharp slash whipped viciously through her whole body, ripping her insides apart. She was surprised to hear herself groaning, although the excruciating pain of a moment ago subsided into shocked numbness. He had not finished her! Mixed into her total confusion of being shot at, lying on the ground and not feeling any pain, was the realization that something did not fit into the whole scenario. Something did not make sense. She had heard him counting and his final endless, blood curling “eeeeeeeee” still rang in her ears. She was on her knees now, slumped forward to steady herself with her hands, and turning sideways to look behind her.

He was also on the ground, holding his side with one hand, the rifle lying next to him. His “eeeeee” had evaporated into a whimper. At the same instant Martha saw the shape of a woman running away from him. Nothing but billowing skirts in a hasty retreat, impetuously heading for the protection of the trees. Anna! Already she had reached the trees. A safe haven for the fleeing Anna; as it would be for her, if she could reach it before he recovered from the injury Anna had inflicted on him. He was already shaking his head like a wounded bear, groaning in an effort to get the nasty foreign object that incapacitated him out of his flank. Martha did not see what had injured him so badly that the air had been knocked out of his lungs, but it must have weakened him considerably. He was wheezing, coughing and gurgling in his angry attempts to regain his stability and was slowly steadying himself. If only she had not been hurt – if only she could reach the cover of the forest before he recovered from the surprise attack. She forced herself to try and scramble to her feet, surprised that she was still in one piece and not cut into two like she had thought. Where did it hurt? Even more surprised, she realized that she was not hurting at all. Her brain finally solved the mystery that had puzzled her before. No shot had been fired! On his last count she had only heard his scream but no shot - no bullet had been flying in her direction. She had stumbled and fallen, that was all. The pain had been imaginary.

By now her legs were firmly on the ground, holding her weight, and she started to run. She looked back once and increased her efforts to reach the tree line when she saw that he was already on his knees, groping blindly for his weapon. She literally flew across the yard, her skirt bunched up high, with her feet barely touching the ground. The forest. The trees. There they were. She ran past the first few trees, getting deeper into the woods before she pressed herself behind one wide trunk, panting heavily. She dared to look back. He was nowhere to be seen. He had moved. Where to? She knew her panting was too loud, but she could not stop it, her lungs were screaming for oxygen.

It was mercifully dark in the forest, but he only needed to follow the wheezing sounds she made to find her. Anger welled up inside her. She wanted to live! Why hadn’t Anna finished him! She must have been too weak. If only she had a weapon. The frustration of being so helpless made her even more angry. I will fight him, she thought. This time, I will scratch his eyes out before he can hurt me again. Martha slid down the tree trunk until she cowered on the wet cold ground, making herself as small a target as possible. She concentrated on the sounds of the night. He was injured and furious, he would not approach like a seasoned hunter but would storm through the darkness in search of her. When she heard him coming, she could hide or run away from him. She wasn’t quite sure what she would do, but this time she would not make it easy for him.

My Book Review:

Lillian was born and raised in an extremist offshoot sect of the American mainstream Mormon Church, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), where polygamy is practiced. When she was thirteen, she was sent to Mountain Glory Ranch, one of the sect's compounds in the remote wilderness of British Columbia, Canada, to become the child bride of a Bishop. Lillian becomes the Bishop's fourteenth wife, is given the new name of Martha, and is forced to live in the compound with the other thirteen sister-wives and their fifty plus children.

The Bishop, Brother Jacob, was sent from America into exile in British Columbia ten years ago, when the Elders from the secret society called The Gatekeepers wanted to teach him a lesson about respect and profitability in the sect. But Brother Jacob takes matters into his own hands and thinks he is above the leadership of The Gatekeepers, so they cut him off financially and continue to shun him as an outcast until he changes his squandering ways. Life in the remote wilderness of British Columbia is full of hardships for the Bishop and his family. Determined to do things his way, Bishop Jacob reigns over his submissive family using The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Section 132 of The Doctrines & Covenants that governs the covenant and eternity of marriage and plurality of wives.

When Lillian/Martha has had enough of living in isolation, poverty, and silent submission to her dangerous husband, she tries to rebel and escape from the compound. But her life is in danger, Bishop Jacob practices the religion's controversial doctrine of blood atonement, a sacrificing offering of a life, in other words murder.

Land developer Richard Bergman purchases 2,000 acres of pristine wilderness adjoining the Bishop's compound, and plans to develop the land into an idyllic subdivision community of cabins called Rainbow Estate Country Cabins. When Richard goes to the Bishop to inform him of his development plans, he finds out about the secret sect community, and struggles with the decision to mind his own business or further investigate what goes on in the compound.

Two worlds collide ... can Lillian/Martha escape from the horrors of the lifestyle that was imposed upon her, or will the Bishop continue his practice of blood atonement and sacrifice Lillian's life? Will Richard investigate further into the sect's activities, or will he be stopped by the Bishop? Can he help Lillian and the other women and children, or will he mind his own business?

Section 132 is the harrowing fictional but fact-based story of an extremist Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) sect's practice of a polygamist lifestyle. Masterfully written in the third person narrative, this suspenseful story focuses on the alternating perspectives of Lillian/Martha, the thirteen year old sister-wife and Richard Bergman, the land developer, to create a captivating page turning tale that will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. The author has extensively researched this subject, and the reader will ride a roller coaster of emotions as the story unfolds in a fascinating yet horrifying fashion. The story is rich in detail and vivid descriptions, the author easily transports the reader into the world of the fundamentalist sect. From the scenic wilderness of British Columbia, to the behind the scenes descriptions of what goes on behind the sect's compound walls, the reader will feel a range of emotions that will make you pause and contemplate about reality of the FLDS lifestyle.

The author has created an extensive cast of characters who are realistic and complex people, who will either anger you or pull at your heartstrings. These characters are brought to life in a powerful fashion by the author, their strengths, weaknesses and flaws are intriguing, and leaves the reader to really wonder about their lifestyle. You can't help but feel for the sister-wives and their children, how they must live a submissive lifestyle dictated by zealous men and religious doctrines. While I will not pass judgment on this lifestyle, I personally can't imagine living that kind of lifestyle. The characters and their various actions throughout the story make this a powerful and compelling read.

Section 132 is a thought provoking and powerful story that will captivate you from the star,t and will resonate with you long after the last page has been read.



  1. Extraordinary review and post! Kudos! Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you Cheryl! Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host the virtual book tour event. :)

  2. It is a joy and an honor for an author to get such a review. I am ever so grateful for reviewers who go the extra length to thoroughly cover every aspect of a novel, the plot, the characters, the writing style. It helps the reader to make decisions and it gives credit to the work.
    Thank you with all my heart.
    Helga Zeiner
    author, Section 132

    1. Hi Helga! Thank you very much for the kind comments! Section 132 was a fascinating and riveting book, I couldn't put it down. Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host your virtual book tour event! :)

  3. Oh, I must read this book whether I win or not. I have already given it a 5 in my mind just from this posting.
    This subject has been interesting to me for a long time and in my mind it falls into the category of human trafficking. Please enter my name in the drawing. Blessings!


    1. Thank you for stopping by! The book is really good, good luck in the contest!