Title: The 19th Wife
Author: David Ebershoff
Yearly Count b: 76
About a group of remaining "Firsts" or Fundamentalists, who were the group Mormons who practiced polygamy and in some places still do, the 19th Wife is an insightful and intense read. Ebershoff goes into extreme detail informing the reader about polygamy (the past and present). In the beginning all Mormons were polygamists, but in our day only sectioned off groups (and some would argue that Mormon leaders) are still practicing. I enjoyed all the research David Ebershoff did about the Mormon cult and all the insight that was provided, even though the 19th Wife is a novel. Ebershoff interviewed many subjects and wrote the 19th Wife as a composite portrayal, for that reason it is a novel, however it is based on factual material. He performed interviews and obtained pertinent paperwork in order to learn about his subjects full circle.
This novel is divided in to parts, one is a modern day murder mystery in polygamist society in Utah. The second is the story of Brigham Young's 19th wife who left Brigham and went around the nation exposing the horrors of polygamy and the toll it was taking on the Mormon women and children, especially young boys. Both stories are very informative, captivating and well written.
One aspect I that made the book for me was that David does an excellent job in including personable characters. His characters are real, with real hurt yet not distant. The character development kept me engaged and interested in what was going to happen, I had a connection with them that carried me through the pages.
As much as it was interesting to read, I found it long. The 19th Wife is an amazing book, no doubt, but at least for me it slowed down in the middle. I was much more interested in the story about the modern day polygamists, which made reading trough the other story (the chapters are interwoven with each other) harder. If the topic is one that really interests you I could see you just devouring this read. I enjoyed it, but I just didn't absolutely love it. It is still worth the read for sure.
David Ebershoff's site on the 19th Wife
Listen to David Ebershoff interview on NPR
I read this as part of the TLC Book Tours, here are the remaining stops:
Wednesday, Nov. 5th: Anniegirl1138
Thursday, Nov. 6th: The Tome Traveller
Friday, Nov. 7th: Educating Petunia
Monday, Nov. 10th: The Literate Housewife
Wednesday, Nov. 12th: Diary of an Eccentric
Friday, Nov. 14th: Book Chase
and remember to: