Tina's Reviews > The 19th Wife

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
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Dec 09, 09


Right off the bat I appreciated Ebershoff for including in his work of historical fiction, a bibliography and a few pages on the historical and fictional elements of the story. As I was reading I kept thinking how much I wanted to read more on this subject and see what exactly was real.
Ann Eliza Young was raised to belief that the way to heaven was to engage in “celestial marriage” and yet, she doesn’t want to be a sister-wife. Yet, through machinations and blackmail that she has no recourse against, she becomes Brigham Young’s (the second prophet to the Latter-Day Saints) nineteenth wife. Eventually she leaves the church and becomes a crusader to end polygamy. Ann Eliza’s story is a generous part of The Nineteenth Wife.
The rest of the story is about a modern nineteenth wife, accused of the murder of her husband. Conditions in her squalid town are reminiscent of the conditions in the recently cleared out Yearning for Zion Ranch. Old men “marry” as many young women as they choose (unless they only choose one, then it’s a problem) while young men are forced out to survive, or not, on the streets. Jordan is one of those men, left abandoned when he was young. Yet when his mother is accused of murdering her husband, he returns to clear her name.
Sorry about this end tag, but I read several reviews on other sites condemning the LDS for the events of the past. Don’t read it if you’re the kind of person to read and judge. The Latter-Day Saints do not deserve to be judged. The American Founding Fathers did things we ought not be proud of, yet that doesn’t mean our country should be judged on those actions, neither should the LDS be judged for the actions of their founders. If however, you can read and question and think and be entertained without drawing erroneous conclusions, then this was a great book.
This review is taken from my blog bibliophilebet.blogspot.com
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