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The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
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The 19th Wife (edition 2008)

by David Ebershoff

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2,387None2,607 (3.7)224
Member:bluesslave
Title:The 19th Wife
Authors:David Ebershoff
Info:Doubleday (2008), Edition: Airport / Export ed, Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

19th century (20) 2008 (24) 2009 (29) 2010 (16) America (15) Ann Eliza Young (19) ARC (27) book club (21) Brigham Young (39) Early Reviewers (22) fiction (283) historical (30) historical fiction (205) history (22) Latter Day Saints (14) LDS (24) marriage (18) Mormon (202) Mormonism (61) murder (48) mystery (80) novel (29) polygamy (200) read (27) read in 2008 (20) read in 2009 (24) religion (72) to-read (48) USA (15) Utah (87)
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Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)
Switching back and forth between a (slightly fictionalized) memoir by the woman who sued Brigham Young for divorce in 1875 -- he was a vile person -- and a modern murder mystery worked very well. I do have a thing about polygamy, but I would have enjoyed this novel, anyway. ( )
  picardyrose | Apr 15, 2014 |
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff is a solid, enjoyable novel, even though its characters endure some brutal emotional experiences. The story switches between the circumstances of two women in two different centuries - the switch to the modern times reinforcing the emerging darkness of the polygamist culture of the 19th century. This is a book that conveys the pain and damage that society can inflict in the name of a greater authority, and in a touching way, exposes us to credible examples of how genuine caring for others is the basis of all good things in life. ( )
  jvandehy | Feb 8, 2014 |
Ebershoff's research is thorough, in both the historical and the modern aspects of his story. I was imoressed with his ability to write from multiple points of view from varied time periods, and be true to the voice of each character. This book made me think about issues I had not explored before, and made me aware of the harmful impacts of polygamy on women. I troubling story, told well. ( )
1 vote Amber.Foxx | Jan 14, 2014 |
I enjoyed The 19th Wife for the most part. I am curious about the polygamist lifestyle and how exactly that works for people. (It would never work for me!) What was confusing was how the author takes us from the past to the present so much. I had to continually try to get my bearings on where exactly we were in relation to time.

One part is in the 19th century and takes us through the life of Brigam Young's 19th wife, Ann Eliza Young. The other part of the story is current day, and a polygamist husband who is murdered. Wife #19 stands accused. I enjoyed the book, but continued to get lost in the back and forth of it all. ( )
  thebigreader | Dec 26, 2013 |
The most pressing question on my mind at the close of this book was, how much of this is fiction and how much fact? Fortunately, the author’s afterword clears up a good deal of that query. He has included fictionalized chapters from the memoir of Ann Eliza Young, the famous 19th Wife of Brigham Young , who successfully sued Brigham for divorce in the late 19th century and was instrumental in the legislative tide against polygamy. He also tells the completely fictional story of Jordan Scott, whose father is murdered and mother, also a 19th wife, is incarcerated for the deed. Jordan does not believe his mother is the culprit and sets out to prove it. In addition, a third character Kelly Dee is a graduate student at Brigham Young University and is doing a master’s thesis on Ann Eliza. Her scholarly work is included, as are some of her sources: Ann Eliza’s mother’s pioneer diary, her father’s testimony and some correspondence from her brother. This is fictionalized as well.
The story moves back and forth between the narratives of Jordan and Ann Eliza, with the aforementioned source documents thrown in when clarification is necessary. This device largely works, keeping the reader invested in both tales and using one to illuminate a portion of the other. The author states that he was attempting to present a tale that while not necessarily completely factual, comes close to the truth of what it feels like to grow up in a fundamentalist LDS way of life, and I think succeeds well. ( )
1 vote EmScape | Dec 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 251 (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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