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The 19th Wife

av David Ebershoff

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3,0712823,126 (3.69)246
The story of Ann Eliza Young's crusade against polygamy interwines with a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah.
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engelska (282)  nederländska (1)  Alla språk (283)
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How I imagined it would be to be in a plural marriage. interesting and sad ( )
  lilwolfmisty | Jul 9, 2020 |
I fell into the pages of this novel very quickly. Interesting, insightful, and thought-provoking, Ebershoff is a talented author, capable of weaving together various narrators, letters, articles, research papers, and even a wiki link (all penned by the author) seamlessly and with great authenticity. Typically when reading a book with two competing stories, I find myself drawn more to one of the story lines leaving the other a more arduous read - that was not the case with this book. I found this to be a fascinating book: there is much here to fuel thoughts of spirituality, greed, humanity, and even American History; however, Ebershoff doesn't beat the reader about the neck and head with these things. It is there for those who want to read and ponder, or see and move on with the story

An easy read, and the author never judges these people, but brings them to life. the details around the modern mystery were very compelling. While polygamy as it is practiced in this novel is not the norm, it is what we think about when we hear stories of men like Warren Jeffs.

Ebershoff highlights two especially poignant side effects to the world of fundamentalist polygamy. Young girls forced to marry men, sometimes more than twice their age, and live a life bearing children to build up credit in the afterlife. There are also the lost boys, who are young men cast out of the compounds to not be competition of the older men for young, beautiful wives.

Ebershoff points out that the recorded history of the Mormon church is ambiguous at best (in the notes at the end). And modern Mormons will argue that the modern fundamentalist sect portrayed in this book are not real Mormons. Still, there's no disputing that polygamy was a huge part of the church's past.

The story of Ann Eliza Young, skillfully manipulated into a marriage with Brigham Young, a man twice her age, and then successfully divorcing him and helping fight against polygamy, was more than fascinating. It was history I was unfamiliar with, and I enjoyed learning more about this story. Ann Eliza's own dubious motivation for fighting Brigham was only a small part of the story. Finding out about what happens to her is the truly intriguing part.

This story is interwoven with a fictional account of a murder mystery in a polygamous Mormon community. A "lost boy" returns, to help his mother fight against the murder charge she is facing, as he knows she didn't murder her own husband. Even though he had not been back in years.

Not as quick of a read as I thought it might be, I still found The 19th Wife an entertaining read, especially if you are interested in the subject matter. ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
The story of Brigham Young and his 19th wife, Ann Eliza Young and the story of a young man cast out of a modern polygamist family trying to solve the mystery of the murder of his father.
  Gmomaj | Apr 13, 2019 |
Quite a gripping tale and one where I learnt a lot about early Mormonism.
There are two stories going on here in tandem: a young man, thrown out of the 'Firsts' (a breakaway group from the Latter Day Saints, where polygamy still goes on in a rather scary, controlling cult) is visiting his mother in jail. She's accused of shooting her husband- but could it be another of his wives or someone else entirely? Readable but didnt grab me particularly.
Far more engrossing was the account of early Mormonism- the early missionary efforts by Joseph Smith and later Brigham Young - which resulted in vast numbers joining their movement from both USA and elsewhere; the dreadful privations of those pioneers as they trekked across the states to settle ultimately in Utah. And the decision to not merely allow polygamy, but demand their members practised it - the initial resistance from the congregations...and the corruption as Young accumulated a positive harem. Following Young's determined 'nineteenth wife', Ann Eliza Young, who moves from being relegated to a lowly position as he favours newer acquisitions over her, to escaping and telling her story to the whole of a fascinated America...
Rather horrifying reading really- while LDS have long accepted that polygamy cannot continue, the fact their leader was so into it would make the average reader look at the religion with a pretty cynical eye! ( )
  starbox | Mar 24, 2019 |
I really enjoyed the historical bits on the Mormon western expansion and the (rather unflattering!) portrait of Brigham Young, but the present-day murder mystery story seemed like a sidenote and failed to interest me. After finishing this 500-page novel, the only thing I'm wondering is whether or not the author is Mormon. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
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Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. - Saint Augustine
Like all the other arts, the Science of Deduction and Analysis is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study, nor is life long enough to allow any mortal to attain the highest possible perfection in it. - Arthur Conan Doyle
And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men. - The Book of Mormons, translated by Joseph Smith, Jr.
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for my parents Dave and Becky Ebershoff and for David Brownstein
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Preface to the First Edition:
In the one year since I renounced my Mormon faith, and set out to tell the nation the truth about American polygamy, many people have wondered why I ever agreed to become a plural wife.
Wife #19:
A Desert Mystery
By Jordan Scott:
Prologue
Her Big Boy
According to the St. George Register, on a clear night last June, at some time between eleven and half-past, my mom—who isn't anything like this—tiptoed down to the basement of the house I grew up in with a Big Boy .44 Magnum in her hands.
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