Summer Reading Book #1

 

David Ebershoff: The 19th Wife

I picked this book based on the title. There was something about The 19th Wife that intrigued me. I never read the back to find out what the story was about. I just saw the book and had to read it. I thought that every time I saw it on display at work. I finally found it at a rummage sale and bought it for $1.00. That is correct, I buy used books. Almost exclusively.

At the start, I was confused. The book was meant to be fiction, but it kept referencing official documents and biographies and another book about a “19th Wife.” The book has you shifting from early 2000’s to 1874 and changing story tellers. Though the author is diligent in noting when a shift is happening. The set-up of the story gives you an opportunity to view the dimensions of all that is taking place.

The 19th Wife is really two stories; it is the retelling of Anne Eliza Young (Brigham Young’s “19th wife”) of which she did write 2 books detailing her life and Jordan Scott and his mom, a “19th wife” of a First. The novel takes you through the history of the Latter-day Saints (LDS)  as well as being a mystery about the murder of Jordan Scott’s father, a member of the Firsts. The Firsts are the group LDS members that broke off when plural marriage was denounced as a path to heaven.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book. The middle got a bit long with Anne Eliza’s recollections. There was a bit more history than fiction involved in the plot, but it was woven together well enough to hold my interest. I enjoyed the writing enough to want to seek out more of the author’s other novels.

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