Book Talk
The 19th Wife
Reviewed by- linda (2009/10/06, 01:57 AM)
(3.5 stars) In this book the author flips back and forth between two stories, both revolving around the Mormon doctrine of plural marriage; one is historical and the other modern day. The well researched historical storyline was compelling and thought provoking with insightful, fascinating details on polygamy. It showed the damaging effects of plural marriage on women and children, and also its toll on some men, which came as a surprise to me. Polygamy is something I could never personally accept, but after reading this book I do have a better understanding of the devout, unquestioning faith underlying its existence and the daily challenges of practicing this faith. I found the main character Ann Eliza engaging; it was easy to get lost in her clear engaging voice, and forget you were reading fiction. Although I loved the historical part of the book, Ebershoff also used several other narrators though out this part, which at times, was confusing, and he tended to rambled a bit, especially towards the end. I did not enjoy the modern day portion of the book nearly as much. The main character Jordan was shallow and the contrast to the historical portion too diverse, which weakened the connection between the two stories. Although it did add some pivotal information about present day polygamy, overall the modern day subplot detracted from the book.Back.

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