Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The 19th Wife

Title: The 19th Wife
Author: David Ebershoff
Black Swan, 2009 (2008)

I must admit that the subject matter - polygamy and the Mormon church - is something to draw a crowd, but this novel, although cleary opposed to polygamy and sectarian religion (which does not necessarily include the modern Mormon church) is well researched and interesting. As long as you remember that this is only one person's version of Mormon history, it is an entertaining introduction to the subject.

Two stories run parallell to each other: the 19th century-tale of Ann Eliza Young, one of the many wives of Brigham Young (second prophet of the movement) and a story set in modern-day Utah, where part of the Mormon church has broken free and created a hard-core, secretive sect. One husband is murdered by Mrs. 19. and her estranged son fights to prove her innocense. Sounds a bit cheesy, I admit, but if the topic interests you, you'll enjoy the read.

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