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The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

The 19th Wife

by David Ebershoff

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,7622722,119 (3.7)240
  1. 50
    Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer (Anonymous user)
  2. 41
    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (SqueakyChu)
  3. 30
    Wife No. 19 by Ann Eliza Young (cbl_tn)
  4. 30
    Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall (sungene)
    sungene: A true and compelling memoir of the present-day FLDS community that Ebershoff's novel uses as setting for the murder mystery part of his novel.
  5. 00
    Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  6. 00
    Effigy by Alissa York (bnbookgirl)

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» See also 240 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 273 (next | show all)
@ Mormon (Firsts) + today. Parallel w/ tester years mormons — very good history of them w/ current situation

Sweeping and lyrical, spellbinding and unforgettable, David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife combines epic historical fiction with a modern murder mystery to create a brilliant novel of literary suspense. It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.

Soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death.
  christinejoseph | Jun 20, 2017 |
The concept for this book was good but the execution failed me in two ways - information dumps for the past storyline; unsatisfactory murder mystery for current storyline. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this although I left out some dumps toward the end. ( )
  BridgitDavis | May 26, 2017 |
I would have given another star if the story didn't drag on and on and get bogged down near the end. I would recommend reading vs listening so skimming through these parts would be an option. ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
This novel tells the story of a young man who was abandoned by his polygamist mother on her cult leader's orders. Jordan has had to learn to make his way in the world and has tried to come to terms with this very intimate breach of trust. His life is staring to get on track when he learns his mother has been thrown in jail for murdering his father. Now he's back in Utah trying to solve the crime before the state executes his mother. She denies her guilt and still has the same infuriating glaze of a zealot. But Jordan is driven to risk himself in order to save her.

The story of Jordan and his mother is interspersed with a historical narrative recounting the events surrounding the original doctrine of "celestial marriage" during the early days of the Mormon church. The vast majority of the novel is taken up with diary entries and excerpts from the memoir of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young.

These various accounts dovetail well and make up a compelling look at the destructive force of polygamy and its effect on both husband, wives, and children. ( )
  Juva | Jan 9, 2017 |
I really enjoyed this book about Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young who spoke out against polygamy at the end of the 19th c. Her story is interspersed with a contemporary murder mystery which takes place in a polygamous community that sounds very similar to the Yearning for Zion ranch that has been in the news so much lately. Ebershoff has clearly done his research but the book never bogs down in dry, factual detail - the characters are well developed and there is a strain of humor that runs through the novel that keeps the whole thing from getting too depressing.

( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
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Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. - Saint Augustine
Like all the other arts, the Science of Deduction and Analysis is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study, nor is life long enough to allow any mortal to attain the highest possible perfection in it. - Arthur Conan Doyle
And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men. - The Book of Mormons, translated by Joseph Smith, Jr.
for my parents Dave and Becky Ebershoff and for David Brownstein
First words
Preface to the First Edition:
In the one year since I renounced my Mormon faith, and set out to tell the nation the truth about American polygamy, many people have wondered why I ever agreed to become a plural wife.
Wife #19:
A Desert Mystery
By Jordan Scott:
Her Big Boy
According to the St. George Register, on a clear night last June, at some time between eleven and half-past, my mom—who isn't anything like this—tiptoed down to the basement of the house I grew up in with a Big Boy .44 Magnum in her hands.
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"This exquisite tour de force explores the dark roots of polygamy and its modern-day fruit in a renegade cult not recognized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the Mormon church). Ebershoff (The Danish Girl) brilliantly blends a haunting fictional narrative by Ann Eliza Young, the real-life 19th “rebel” wife of Mormon leader Brigham Young, with the equally compelling contemporary narrative of fictional Jordan Scott, a 20-year-old gay man whose mother, another 19th wife, is accused of murdering his polygamist father, a member of the fundamentalist First Latter-day Saints, in Mesadale, Ariz. Excommunicated from the church at 14, Jordan tirelessly works, with help from local sympathizers, to unmask his father's true killer. In an author's note, Ebershoff explains how his character differs from the actual Ann Eliza, who published two autobiographies, the first of which helped put pressure on the Mormon church to renounce polygamy in 1890. With the topic of plural marriage and its shattering impact on women and powerless children in today's headlines, this novel is essential reading for anyone seeking understanding of the subject." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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The history of polygamy in the Mormon Church intertwines the story of Ann Eliza Young, the nineteenth wife of Brigham Young, and a modern mystery in which a polygamous man has been found murdered and one of his wives is accused of the crime.

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