The 19th Wife

A Novel

Ebershoff, David

(Book - 2008)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The 19th Wife
The story of Ann Eliza Young's crusade against polygamy interwines with a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400063970
Branch Call Number: FICTION Ebershoff
Characteristics: xii, 514 p. ; ill. ; 25 cm
Alternate Title: Nineteenth wife


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May 18, 2014

"Two distinct eras in the history of polygamy share time in this compelling novel, which is narrated by two very different people. First, there's Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Mormon patriarch Brigham Young, who in 1875 left her husband (and therefore her church) and embarked on a crusade to end polygamy. Then there's Jordan, a 20-year-old in the present day who at 14 was cast out of the fundamentalist Mormon sect in which he'd been raised. His mother, also a 19th wife, has been accused of murdering her husband, and so he's returned to his hometown to help. If you have an interest in sexual or religious politics, or enjoy historical fiction, you'll find The 19th Wife "great fun to read" (Booklist). You can also pick up Peggy Riley's Amity & Sorrow for a more harrowing take on religious fundamentalism and polygamy." Fiction A to Z May 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/96117fb3-f773-4ebe-a30e-0933ee1fb11f?postId=88caf547-9d7c-4692-932a-8cbe7ef5fe90

Jun 13, 2013

I had to get married to sleep with her, but then I realized that she wasn't right for me, but I can't divorce, but I'm allowed to get married again, so I'll just keep trying until I find the right one, but what happens when I do?

Dec 17, 2012

recommended by Mom

Dec 17, 2012
  • dbrh852 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This story was interesting for anyone addicted to "Sister Wives". Otherwise, skip it. It should have ended 250 pages sooner than it did.

Oct 05, 2012
  • tegan rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Another book club read, and well, the first 100 pages were awesome. I was completely engaged. The plot line switches back and forth between the historical fiction story of the 19th wife/the full history of Mormonism, and a current day story of a young man who had been excommunicated from his Mormon town. There are also archival entries to provide other bits of information. The issue though, is that the story is too long (500+ pages) and the story arch for the current day story seems very rushed at the end. I am also not a big historical fiction fan. A bunch of my friends in the book club really like the book.

Aug 16, 2012
  • 70greengirl rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

An interesting read but also difficult. The story goes back and forth in time and is about several groups of people. At times it reads like a history text book, at other times a murder mystery, and also the journal of a jaded young man. He was “thrown away|” by his family at 13 and left to fend for himself. The “town” of the firsts (this young man is from) is hard to wrap my mind around. I find it difficult to believe that there really is a place like what is described in the novel in North America during our current decade!

Jun 25, 2012
  • mudflapflossy rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Entertaining & though provoking. We’ve got the same story playing out right here in Bountiful, BC. I’ve read a few books on polygamy, I like that this one focuses on how nasty this religion is for boys as well as women. Although I usually find it annoying, I also enjoyed how the author jumped between past & present telling 2 stories at once. Ann Young’s struggle to end polygamy in the late 1800’s became fresh & relevant, while the telling of polygamy’s impact on a gay young man in present times was really poignant. Some good lines in it, I particularly liked the description of “The 1st’s” as the Greta Garbo of cults.

Mar 25, 2012
  • Infolass rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A big book, this tome digs into the history of the Mormon Church while at the same time follows the story of Jordan who seeks the truth regarding the supposed murder of his father by his mother – the 19th wife. Well written and crafted if a tad long.

Jan 18, 2012
  • BrigidScott rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Parts of this were unbearably dreary and tedious, but overall I liked it.

Nov 21, 2011
  • MsAnnabelle rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

If you enjoy watching Big Love you will enjoy this book. It talks about people and places that sound so familiar.

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