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The 19th Wife: A Novel by David Ebershoff
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The 19th Wife: A Novel (edition 2009)

by David Ebershoff

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2,6182632,287 (3.7)234
Member:JudyMayhak
Title:The 19th Wife: A Novel
Authors:David Ebershoff
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
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The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

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Showing 1-5 of 263 (next | show all)
Although the novel didn't end the way I would have liked, I nonetheless enjoyed what I learned while reading. I was inspired to read more about the historical figures involved in the Mormon church, and I consider that a good book when I start research on my own. I did find some of the historical parts of the book a bit tedious at times; the modern mystery was a nice break. I did find myself wondering what the LDS church today thinks of this novel because Young is not in a good light at all here. The modern LDS church, not the radical sects that have branched from it, is portrayed in a nice way, however. A worthwhile read on an interesting bit of history. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Feb 6, 2016 |
Honestly, the back and forth narrative on this one drove me crazy. It really slowed the plot down and it was hard to mentally job back and forth. Overall, it was interesting but more of in a history channel sort of way than a murder mystery thriller. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
Well done mystery splicing an old and new story that revolves around the history of the Mormon church and polygamy. Gives a much better understanding of the effects of plural wives on the wives and the male children than Big Love. ( )
  seapetal | Feb 3, 2016 |
This is actually the story of two different 19th wives the first being Ann Eliza Young who was married to Brigham Young in the mid 1800's and BeckyLynn Scott, the wife of a modern-day polygamist and the suspected murderer of her husband. The tales of the two women are interwoven throughout the book although the majority of the time is spent on Ann Eliza's life from birth throughout her marriage to the prophet Young and her subsequent divorce and crusade to end plural marriage. Becky Lynn's story is told from the point of view of her son, Jordan, who was cast out of the religious community of Firsts when he was a young teen. Hoping to help prove his mother is innocent of murder Jordan returns to Mesadale, Utah, and the closed, secretive society in which he grew up. Jordan is not a welcome visitor to Mesadale but repeated warnings and threats do not stop him from uncovering the truth surrounding his father's death.

The author states that this is a work of fiction though he has used historical figures in his book much of which is based on facts, extensive research and the original 19th Wife written by Ann Eliza Young. I enjoyed the history behind the founding of the LDS church, saddened by the torturous journey made by these devout pilgrims in the early 1800's across an unaccepting young country, and amazed by Ann Eliza's bravery in confronting a practice she despised and former friends and family she came to fear. The modern mystery surrounding BeckyLynn was extremely harsh at times with language and situations that surprised me but on the whole I enjoyed this well written book very much.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Audio book performed by Kimberly Farr, Rebecca Lowman, Arthur Morey, and Daniel Passer
3.5***

There are two completely different, yet connected, storylines in this novel.

In contemporary Utah, a man is murdered at his desk. He is a polygamist and was online playing poker when he sent a quick message to halt the game because “wife # 19 is here.” Jordan Scott cannot believe that his mother was the shooter, yet her fingerprints are all over the weapon and so she sits in jail facing possible execution. How Jordan returns to the rural, secluded community, where The Prophet rules the members of his religious cult, to prove his mother’s innocence forms the basis of the contemporary portion of the book.

Juxtaposed with that story is the background of Ann Eliza Webb Dee Young – Brigham Young’s so-called 19th Wife. Set in the latter half of the 19th century, this historical novel explores the beginnings of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the issues that led to the Church’s denouncing of polygamy.

The novel moves back and forth between the story lines. I’ve read a number of reviews that criticize Ebershoff for this technique. It’s a difficult style to pull off, and I thought he did a reasonably good job of it. I was never confused about what timeframe I was in, and I thought jumping back and forth helped to build tension and suspense. That being said, I was much more interested in the historical aspect of the novel. The contemporary murder mystery had too many holes in it and ended unsatisfactorily. But Ann Eliza’s story was fascinating to me, and it was that portion that really kept me reading. I’d rate the historical novel 4**** and the contemporary mystery 2**. That would average to 3, but I think that would be a little low for the overall book. So I rate it 3.5*** - a little better than average.

The audio book was very good. Using four different performers really helped to clearly identify the story lines and differentiate the many characters.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
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Epigraph
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.
Dedication
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:
Prologue
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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Book description
"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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