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The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

The 19th Wife (edition 2008)

by David Ebershoff

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2,6532662,253 (3.7)236
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


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Showing 1-5 of 266 (next | show all)
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 |
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 |
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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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