Lisa Says… Read This for February 2010

By Lisa Hamilton

The 19th Wife
by David Ebershoff

David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife is a compelling tale that interweaves the history of the Mormon Church with a modern day murder mystery. Penny Rosner reviewed this novel at the January meeting of the Chapter 9 book club.

Ann Eliza Young separates from her husband, Mormon Church Founder and Leader, Brigham Young, in 1875. Expelled and cast aside, she sets off on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. Her story is an intriguing account of the rites and rituals of plural wives and the historical origins of the customs of Mormons. The 19th Wife simultaneously tells the story of a boy in today’s society who was excommunicated by his family for openly challenging the practices of their religious sect, The Firsts.

This book tells two good stories with insight and sensitivity. Polygamy breeds controversy and raises profound emotional and ethical questions. Ebershoff manages to challenge the faithful without demeaning the value of one’s faith. It’s part history, part expose, pure entertainment.

About this writer

  • Lisa Hamilton A native South Carolinian, Lisa Hamilton is the director of the First Presbyterian Church Preschool and Kindergarten. Of course she loves reading, but also finds time for cooking and walking her dog, Hurley.

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