Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
Available August 5, 2008. Pre-order here.

I really enjoyed reading The 19th Wife. In fact, it was one of the best books I've read this year. The author, David Ebershoff, skillfully weaves a tale back and forth between the roots of ninteenth century polygamy and a modern day polygamist murder mystery.

Much of the book focuses on the nineteenth century beginnings of polygamy and the Mormom faith, and at first I was put off by this, being more interested in today's headlines than historical fiction, but as I moved through the book I found myself more and more captivated by the very compelling story of Ann Eliza Young, Brigham Young's nineteeth (disputed) wife.

This book is woven with so much historical fact that it becomes hard to seperate fact from fiction, but I do believe the author tried to accurately portray the events as much as possible.
Just a few of the highlights and themes in this book include a couple of "lost boys" who were kicked out of their community for small indiscretions, left abandoned on the streets at a young age. Their stories are wrought with pain but end nicely. There are also a few instances of modern day escapes from the polygamist community; some forced and coerced marriages; and a consistent theme of hurt feelings as the husbands take on additional wives. This book covers these stories and so many more it would be difficult to touch on all of them in a short review.

I have never read a nearly 600 page book in just four days, but that is just what I did with this book. I felt a very emotional connection to this book and it's characters and I hope to read more from this author.


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