Maybe I'm just a sucker for historical novels that include a modern scenario but I found myself unable to put this 500+ page novel down.
I found this book hard to read at first. I understood that the author was telling Ann Eliza's story in the 1800's and Jordan's story in the present. Both stories tell of the effects of polygamy on the women and children. Jordan was kicked out of his home and left on the highway and had to learn to survive on his own. He returns when his mother is arrested for the murder of his father. Ann Eliza is a real woman who left her marriage to Brigham Young, wrote a book about her life, and lectured about polygamy. Her story is told through a fictionalized version of her book and this is where I was confused at the beginning of the book. Its a long book and interesting but I liked Jordan's story better.
8 out of 10
"Two distinct eras in the history of polygamy share time in this compelling novel, which is narrated by two very different people. First, there's Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Mormon patriarch Brigham Young, who in 1875 left her husband (and therefore her church) and embarked on a crusade to end polygamy. Then there's Jordan, a 20-year-old in the present day who at 14 was cast out of the fundamentalist Mormon sect in which he'd been raised. His mother, also a 19th wife, has been accused of murdering her husband, and so he's returned to his hometown to help. If you have an interest in sexual or religious politics, or enjoy historical fiction, you'll find The 19th Wife "great fun to read" (Booklist). You can also pick up Peggy Riley's Amity & Sorrow for a more harrowing take on religious fundamentalism and polygamy." Fiction A to Z May 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/96117fb3-f773-4ebe-a30e-0933ee1fb11f?postId=88caf547-9d7c-4692-932a-8cbe7ef5fe90
I had to get married to sleep with her, but then I realized that she wasn't right for me, but I can't divorce, but I'm allowed to get married again, so I'll just keep trying until I find the right one, but what happens when I do?
Another book club read, and well, the first 100 pages were awesome. I was completely engaged. The plot line switches back and forth between the historical fiction story of the 19th wife/the full history of Mormonism, and a current day story of a young man who had been excommunicated from his Mormon town. There are also archival entries to provide other bits of information. The issue though, is that the story is too long (500+ pages) and the story arch for the current day story seems very rushed at the end. I am also not a big historical fiction fan. A bunch of my friends in the book club really like the book.
An interesting read but also difficult. The story goes back and forth in time and is about several groups of people. At times it reads like a history text book, at other times a murder mystery, and also the journal of a jaded young man. He was “thrown away|” by his family at 13 and left to fend for himself. The “town” of the firsts (this young man is from) is hard to wrap my mind around. I find it difficult to believe that there really is a place like what is described in the novel in North America during our current decade!
Entertaining & though provoking. We’ve got the same story playing out right here in Bountiful, BC. I’ve read a few books on polygamy, I like that this one focuses on how nasty this religion is for boys as well as women. Although I usually find it annoying, I also enjoyed how the author jumped between past & present telling 2 stories at once. Ann Young’s struggle to end polygamy in the late 1800’s became fresh & relevant, while the telling of polygamy’s impact on a gay young man in present times was really poignant. Some good lines in it, I particularly liked the description of “The 1st’s” as the Greta Garbo of cults.
This story was interesting for anyone addicted to "Sister Wives". Otherwise, skip it. It should have ended 250 pages sooner than it did.
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