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Publisher's Summary

Sweeping and lyrical, spellbinding and unforgettable, David Ebershoff's The 19th Wife combines epic historical fiction with a modern murder mystery to create a brilliant novel of literary suspense. It is 1875, and 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.
Soon after Ann Eliza's story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds - a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father's death.
As Ann Eliza's narrative intertwines with that of Jordan's search, listeners are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love and faith.
©2008 David Ebershoff (P)2008 Random House, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Kimberly on 01-08-10

Good history, a little confusing

Well at first I got a little lost when the novel switched views. Eventually I caught on and it went much more smoothly. What you have to realize is this is not only written in two different perspectives, though it only tells two stories.
First is the authors fictional story about a boy who was kicked out of a modern day polygamous society that returns when his mother is accused of killing his father.
Next is the story of the historical Anne Eliza Young (and her family) who was the 19th (well more like 50th) wife of the mormon prophet Brigham Young. Her story is told through her memoir as well as other documents such as her brothers journal, a students thesis paper, documents from the mormon church's records, etc.
This book is pretty good with great historical facts. I feel like I know a lot more about the roots of the mormon church and polygamy. Be forewarned though it is pretty sad and just as you get into one story it will switch perspectives on you!

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By S. Weaver on 04-30-10


How good was this? Really, really good! Ebershoff is a wonderful writer who absolutely gets inside the head of a wide range of characters. If you're looking for a romping fast read, this might not be for you, but the interweaving of the two stories--one from the early days of the LDS, one in the present, involving a splinter group of the LDS--is well done and keeps you coming back to see what develops. The historical detail is beautiful, and Ebershoff balances religious tolerance and sound moral judgment admirably well.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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