I rarely read historical fiction. But maybe I should start! I was absolutely captivated by The 19th Wife. Completely immersed and consumed. I could not wait to pick it up again each night and when I read, I was visualizing the characters and location so vividly I was surprised when my eyes re-focused on the comforts of my bedroom.
The book parallels two stories loosely about plural marriage and sects of the Mormon church. The first chronicles Ann Eliza Young's separation from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. History regards the woman as the person who took down pluralist marriage.
A second powerful narrative involves Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, and reenters the world in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death.
The book is well-researched and packed full of historical dates, descriptions and documents. Yet it read like a thrilling mystery. I learned much yet felt an intimacy with the story that one doesn't often get from a historical account.
When I read books with multiple narratives, I favor one over the other. I impatiently flip through one narrative to bide my time until I can return to the other. Not so with this book. Both narratives were seamlessly woven together. Both required and received equal attention.
I highly recommend this book...in case you couldn't tell!