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The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

The 19th Wife (edition 2008)

by David Ebershoff

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2,7452692,136 (3.7)239
Title:The 19th Wife
Authors:David Ebershoff
Info:Doubleday (2008), Edition: Airport / Export ed, Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library

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The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

  1. 40
    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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Showing 1-5 of 270 (next | show all)
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 |
This book alternates between present day where the 19th wife of a plural family allegedly kills her husband and she talks her estranged son into proving her innocence, and the past, beginning with Anna Eliza Webb’s parents and how they joined the Mormons. Joseph Smith’s revelation of plural marriage that forced the first wife to agree to any subsequent wife that her husband wanted to marry. It didn’t make the Webb household a happy one nor was Anna Eliza pleased with the four other wives her father took.
Brigham Young was scoping Anna Eliza out at age ten, but even as divorced young woman she wasn’t interested in marrying someone who had a houseful of wives. It was only after he sabotaged her brother’s business, putting him deeply in debt, and blackmailing him that she agreed to marry Young. Not that being the Prophet’s wife helped her and her two sons.
In the present day Jordan Scott is trying to figure out who killed his father while being trailed around by an excommunicated “First” teenager who thinks he’s crazy for going back to Mesadale. A very interesting book. ( )
  lisa.schureman | Oct 1, 2016 |
One of the best books I read all year!

Ebershoff tells two stories spanning 3 centuries, with a variety of voices. This novel is historical fiction, but Ebershoff does such a good job of bringing all these people alive that the reader has to be careful not to assume the Ann Eliza Young account isn't documented fact, but the author's interpretation of the events of her life.

This is a fascinating look at polygamy in different eras in American history. It's a look at the birth of a religion. It's a look at the lives & roles of women in different eras. And it's a look at families, both traditional and alternative.

If you haven't picked this up yet, read it - you won't be able to put it down. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 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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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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