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The 19th Wife

by David Ebershoff

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3,3592913,821 (3.68)256
The story of Ann Eliza Young's crusade against polygamy interwines with a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah.
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Showing 1-5 of 292 (next | show all)
Much insight into a hidden sect. A good complement to the HBO series Big Love! ( )
  jemisonreads | Jan 22, 2024 |
Review to come
  nordie | Oct 14, 2023 |
This book has dual timelines: historical fiction about the life of Ann Eliza Young, former wife of Brigham Young and campaigner against Mormon polygamy, and a modern-day mystery in which a child of a polygamous marriage sets out to prove that it wasn't his mother who killed his father.

I found both parts compelling. I would like to know more about the 19th century characters and I would certainly read a mystery series with Jordan as a main character and Johnny and Tom as his sidekicks. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Sep 9, 2023 |
Actually quite a good exploration of plural marriages and what those do to not only the husband the wife, but the children involved in this relationships. By combining two stories 1 set in the 19th century at the origins of the Mormon Church and the other in the early 21st century, this book is able to explore the meaning of marriage and parenthood. ( )
  zizabeph | May 7, 2023 |
I guess I had up & down opinions of this book. I liked most of it, but it was quite frustrating reading when the characters had such "blind faith" against all logic. Going back & forth between 2 time periods was pretty well done, getting just a little confusing with some of the minor characters. All in all, I'm glad I read it and will recommend it to my mother-in-law, who is an avid reader. ( )
  Wren73 | Mar 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 292 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Ebershoffprimary authorall editionscalculated
Farr, KimberlyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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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The story of Ann Eliza Young's crusade against polygamy interwines with a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah.

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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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