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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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2,6502652,258 (3.7)235
Member:JudyMayhak
Title:The 19th Wife: A Novel
Authors:David Ebershoff
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 544 pages
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The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

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Showing 1-5 of 265 (next | show all)
Two stories are going on here. One is historical fiction and quite interesting, the other is a simple mystery with problems. The book is supposedly written as a master's thesis.

The historical figure presented is Ann Eliza Young, one of Brigham Young's wives. She was miserable as a plural wife, ran away, and became famous as a speaker against polygamy.

The mystery has to do with a woman accused of murdering her husband. They are members of a Mormon fundamentalist sect in the 21st century, and theirs was a polygamist marriage.

Ann Eliza's story really begins with her mother, Elizabeth, near the beginning of Mormonism. So the early history of this religion is described by way of her experiences until Ann Eliza enters the picture.

The murder mystery is too simple and too easy. Even the characters are too simplistic. It is a fact, though, that such fundamentalist sects exist.

Eventually, you will understand how the two stories are related. The book deserves high ratings for its historical fiction but is downgraded because of its poor description of the ongoing real problem of Mormon fundamentalism. ( )
  techeditor | Mar 29, 2016 |
I found the weaving of the two stories intriguing holding my attention completely from first page to last. My only negative comment- the ending seemed abrupt. Maybe I just wanted more. Truly a "good read." ( )
  SharonRILINK | Mar 4, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 265 (next | show all)
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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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