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Faith, I tell them, is a mystery, elusive to many, and never easy to explain.

Sweeping and lyrical, spellbinding and unforgettable, David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife combines epic historical fiction with a modern murder mystery to create a brilliant novel of literary suspense.

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 a family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.

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 and faith.

From the Hardcover edition.

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The 19th Wife
Average rating
4.4 / 5
November 9th, 2013
A wonderful overview of Mormon life. Their strength in building the church, and developing their culture is amazing. No matter what your beliefs it's a great read. A love story with a history lesson.
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1 review
October 5th, 2013
Often people say the book is so much better than the book. In this case the movie has eliminated so much that it is sad. This book looks at the history and present day realities of plural communities in a smart and respectful way. All the characters are multi-dimensional. The story centers on a modern day plural wife who is accused of killing her husband. Her son, who has been put out of the community, tries to learn the truth and get his mom freed. As he does this we also learn about the story of a woman who lived as a plural wife in the old Mormon Church. Important social issues are explored but it is also a well written suspenseful plot.
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