Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review: The 19th Wife

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

Polygamy in two stories. One, the story of Ann Eliza Young, Brigham Young's 19th wife, and her campaign to get rid of polygamy. The second, a 20t-century murder mystery revolving around a polygamist, his 19th wife, and their excommunicated son.

While I found both stories interesting and attention-grabbing, I preferred Ann Eliza's story. I thought her and her family's history with the Mormon Church fascinating. Especially given my incredibly limited knowledge of Mormonism.

The modern day story while the mystery of whodunit kept me interested it was not as rich or fulfilling as Ann Eliza's. The narrator especially was a bit two dimensional.

The writing was uneven. At parts it seemed like Ebershoff was able to effortlessly move convincingly between his narrators capturing their individual personalities and tones. Other times, it felt forced and superficial.

And the ending of the murder mystery seemed rushed. I didn't feel like I was led to the conclusion. More like the Who Did It was forced on me. As if he realized how long the book was getting and decided to end it as soon as he could rather than let the conclusion show itself naturally.

Despite the negatives, I really did enjoy the book.

Disclosure: No one paid me in any way, form or fashion to do this review.

Next month - The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander

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