Thursday, November 21, 2013

[Review] The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
Publisher: Random House
Publishing Date: 2008
507 Pages


It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of her family's polygamous history is revealed, including how both she and her mother became plural wives. Yet soon after Ann Eliza's story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds - a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father's death. And as Ann Eliza's narrative intertwines with that of Jordan's search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love, family, and faith.

My Review

I was not sure what to expect when I first picked up a copy of this book. It's been sitting on my shelf for a very long time because, although it sounded very interesting, I wasn't sure how much I would like it. I'm glad to say that I really enjoyed this book. What I really loved was that there were two main stories being told throughout the book; one non-fiction and one fiction. Ann Eliza's story about the creation of polygamy and her involvement in ending it, as well as Jordan Scott's search for the truth about his father's death. I learned so much about this religion, more than I ever thought I would. I've always been fascinated with learning about religions and why people believe certain things or practice certain customs. Despite that, I'm still unsure about religion and what my views are. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed learning about the Mormon Church and polygamy. If I'm honest, before reading this book, I wasn't sure if all Mormon's believed in polygamy, or if only some did. Thankfully, that's much clearer to me now.

One thing that I was a little disappointed in was that I felt like we didn't get to know Jordan Scott as much as I wanted to. The story was so in depth regarding Ann Eliza (taking chapters from her own personal book), but when we read about Jordan and former polygamist lifestyle, I wanted to know more. I also really wanted to know what happened to 5. She was in the book quite a bit in the middle, but then her character kind of dropped off.

Overall, I thought it was a very interesting read, and I would recommend it to anyone who is somewhat interested in learning a little more about polygamy and its beginning and end.


  1. I too have had this book on my shelf for about a year now... So hopefully I will get the courage soon to read it like you did. I'm glad you enjoyed it, that gives me some fail that I will too. I don't know why I'm hesitant, it sounds really good.

    Kay @ It's a Book Life

    1. I was hesitant to start it for a while too. I was surprised how much I liked it even though it did sound really good. Plus I felt like I learned a lot about the religion!