Book Review ~ “The 19th Wife” by David Ebershoff

 Title ~The 19th Wife

Author ~ David Ebershoff

Format ~Hardcover

Rating ~4.5 Stars

 

Recap {portions taken from goodreads.com} ~ “Faith, I tell them, is a mystery, elusive to many, and never easy to explain.”

In 1875, Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.

A second, modern day story begins, murder involving a polygamist family, in Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him out in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death.

As Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love and faith.

 

Originally I saw the movie and it had me captivated, I went in search of the novel that the movie was based on and I what I found was a very surprising novel full or intrigue, murder, history and one that kept me motivated to keep reading late into the night and early morning hours. The book jumps back and forth between Eliza’s story and Jordan’s, which can be a bit disconcerting for some readers, however I didn’t mind the jumps as it kept the novel moving forward at a brisk pace.

 

I began to feel not only for what Eliza went through and her abandonment from her well known husband, Brigham Young, to Jordan as he tries to unravel the mystery of who murdered his father and clear his mother’s name.  

 

Not having grown up in a Mormon or Fundamentalist Household, I received a theology lesson as well as a great novel. The reader learns about the Mormon faith and some of it’s early years with Brigham Young and Joseph Smith; I learned why the Mormon church split into two different sects; the history side of me enjoyed this novel as much as the side that enjoys a great mystery.

 

This novel is one I have recommended to others who were looking for something that is not what I would consider your ‘everyday mystery’ the layers of “The 19th Wife” were deep and made me look at what I thought I knew about the LDS & the FLDS churches.

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