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If you’re in search of a gripping historical fiction audiobook, “The 19th Wife” by David Ebershoff should be at the top of your list. This audiobook offers a captivating journey through the fascinating world of Mormon polygamy, providing an immersive listening experience that will keep you hooked from start to finish. Here’s a comprehensive review of the audiobook, highlighting its main features and qualities.

Key Takeaways:

  • David Ebershoff’s “The 19th Wife” is a must-read historical fiction audiobook.
  • The audiobook offers a detailed and accurate portrayal of Mormon polygamy.
  • The narration quality is exceptional, making for an immersive and enjoyable listening experience.
  • The characters in the story are well-developed, making for a compelling and emotionally-charged narrative.
  • “The 19th Wife” is an audiobook that is sure to leave a lasting impact on the listener.

Overview of “The 19th Wife”

David Ebershoff’s “The 19th Wife” is a masterfully crafted historical fiction novel that explores the intriguing world of polygamy. The book follows two parallel storylines: one set in the 19th century, as Ann Eliza Young seeks to escape her life as the 19th wife of the Mormon prophet Brigham Young, and the other set in modern times, as Jordan Scott investigates the murder of his own mother, who was also a 19th wife.

The plot is cleverly structured, with the two storylines intersecting and influencing each other in surprising ways. Ebershoff skillfully weaves together history, mystery, and social commentary to create a thought-provoking and engaging read.

Book Summary

In “The 19th Wife,” Ann Eliza Young leaves her husband, Brigham Young, the leader of the Mormon Church, and launches a crusade to end polygamy. Her story is intercut with modern-day events as Jordan Scott investigates his mother’s murder and becomes involved with a group of fundamentalist Mormons.

Plot Overview

The book is a complex and nuanced exploration of the world of polygamy, as it existed in both the past and the present day. As Ann Eliza seeks to escape her life as a 19th wife, Jordan delves deeper into the world of fundamentalist Mormons, uncovering secrets and betrayals along the way. Together, the two storylines paint a vivid picture of the challenges, dangers, and complexities involved with this unique way of life.

Main Characters

Character Description
Ann Eliza Young The 19th wife of Brigham Young, who leaves her husband and the Mormon Church to become an advocate for women’s rights and the abolition of polygamy
Jordan Scott A young man investigating his mother’s murder, who becomes drawn into the world of fundamentalist Mormons
Brigham Young The leader of the Mormon Church in the 19th century, and husband to Ann Eliza
Elizabeth Smart The 19th wife of Brigham Young’s nephew, who is accused of murder
Debra A young woman who becomes one of Jordan’s wives

Overall, “The 19th Wife” is a richly detailed and thought-provoking novel that explores the complexities of polygamy. Through its intricate plot, compelling characters, and expertly crafted prose, Ebershoff offers readers a fascinating glimpse into a little-understood way of life.

Audiobook Narration

When exploring an audiobook, one of the most crucial aspects is the narration quality. In the case of “The 19th Wife,” the voice actors involved bring the characters and story to life with exceptional talent and depth. The audiobook experience is highly engaging, with the narration transporting listeners to the heart of the story.

The narration quality is a standout feature of this audiobook, with the voice actors providing distinct, nuanced performances that capture the unique personalities of each character. Whether it’s the sense of urgency in Ann’s voice or the gravitas of Jordan’s narration, each character is brought to life with remarkable skill and care.

The overall audiobook experience is also noteworthy, with the production values and sound quality contributing to the immersion of the listener in the world of the story. The combination of expert narration and technical wizardry makes for an unparalleled listening experience that audiobook fans are sure to appreciate.

Historical Accuracy

“The 19th Wife” is a gripping historical fiction that takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the tumultuous times of the early Mormon Church, polygamy, and the turbulent life of Ann Eliza Young – Brigham Young’s controversial 19th wife. The novel is a work of art that paints the historical setting with remarkable accuracy and detail, making it an excellent choice for readers who appreciate meticulously researched historical fiction.

David Ebershoff’s research into the Mormon Church, Brigham Young, and polygamy is impressive, enabling him to paint vivid pictures of the past and draw readers into the story’s historical setting. Ebershoff’s attention to detail ensures not only the accuracy of the novel’s historical events but also the authenticity of the characters, their motivations, and their relationships.

The historical accuracy of this novel is particularly impactful as it allows readers to gain a deeper understanding of the events and social issues explored in the story. Those with a passion for historical fiction will enjoy the book’s rich detail and intriguing plot, which is complemented by the author’s incredible attention to historical accuracy and detail.

Themes and Messages

David Ebershoff’s “The 19th Wife” explores various social issues through its themes and messages. One of the central themes of the book is the oppression and mistreatment of women in polygamous communities. The author raises questions about the harm caused by the practice of polygamy, particularly on women who are forced into marrying much older men or living in abusive and controlling households.

Another significant theme is the power of faith and how it can both enlighten and deceive individuals. The book portrays a variety of religious attitudes, ranging from blind obedience to critical thinking, all influenced by personal motivations and societal expectations.

The author also delves into wider social issues, such as the importance of individual rights, the need to reform outdated beliefs, and the dangers of living in isolated communities. Through his thoughtful exploration of these topics, Ebershoff prompts readers to think about larger societal issues and encourages them to engage critically with their own beliefs.

Additionally, the book highlights the significance of human connection, friendship, and love, particularly in harsh and oppressive conditions. These relationships shape the characters’ actions and decisions, guiding them to stand up for their beliefs and fight for their own freedom.


Theme Description
Polygamy An exploration of the harm caused by the practice of polygamy on women.
Power of Faith An examination of how faith can both enlighten and deceive individuals.
Social Issues A portrayal of larger societal issues such as individual rights and isolationism.
Human Connection An emphasis on the significance of friendship, love, and standing up for one’s beliefs.

Character Development

One of the standout features of “The 19th Wife” is the exceptional character development, as each major character undergoes a profound transformation throughout the story.

Beginning with Ann Eliza Young, the novel’s historical protagonist, readers witness her evolution from a vulnerable young bride to a strong, independent woman who becomes an advocate for women’s rights and fights against the oppressive traditions of her time. The growth of Ann Eliza’s character is marked by her journey from object to subject, as she transforms from a passive recipient of other people’s actions to an active agent of change.

Equally compelling are the character arcs of Jordan Scott, Ann Eliza’s estranged son, and Queenie, a young woman from a polygamous family. Jordan’s growth is characterized by his discovery of his own identity, as he struggles to reconcile his conflicting feelings about his community, his family, and his sexuality. Queenie, on the other hand, begins as a peripheral character but ultimately becomes a critical player in the story, as her relationships with other characters highlight the complex power dynamics at work in polygamous families.

Through their arcs of growth and change, the major characters of “The 19th Wife” come to life on the page, and readers are invited to empathize, question and contemplate their own experiences with similar themes of u growth and relationships.

Plot Twists and Intrigue

The 19th Wife is a masterclass in suspenseful storytelling with unpredictable plot twists and turns. David Ebershoff has crafted a novel that keeps readers on the edge of their seats with unexpected events that keep the story moving.

One of the most striking aspects of the novel is how Ebershoff manages to interweave different timelines and perspectives to create a web of intrigue that keeps readers guessing until the very end. The use of different forms of media, including journal entries, historical documents, and personal recounts, also adds to the novel’s sense of mystery, giving readers the feeling that they are piecing the story together themselves.

From the revelation of secrets to the unraveling of characters’ pasts, the plot twists keep coming in The 19th Wife, with every turn of the page revealing a new layer of complexity to the story. Readers will find themselves invested in the fates of the characters and eager to uncover what happens next.

Unexpected Turns and Surprising Revelations

Ebershoff’s commitment to intricacy in his storytelling ensures that the twists and turns are not just for the sake of shock value but are well-crafted to enhance the overall story. The plot twists allow readers to see the characters and their motivations in a new light, adding depth and complexity to the story’s themes.

The suspenseful moments in the novel are not purely plot-driven, either. They work in tandem with the characterization, immersing readers in the experiences of the characters and their emotional journeys. By combining well-crafted plot twists with nuanced character development and emotional complexity, Ebershoff creates a novel that is both thrilling and thought-provoking.

Overall, The 19th Wife is a novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats with its unpredictable plot twists and moments of intrigue. Ebershoff’s storytelling prowess ensures that every turn of the page is full of surprises, making for an unforgettable reading experience.

Writing Style

David Ebershoff’s writing style in “The 19th Wife” is a testament to his skills as a storyteller. His prose is elegant, yet accessible, drawing readers in with rich descriptions and vivid imagery. Throughout the book, he employs a variety of storytelling techniques, using multiple narrators and flashbacks to give readers a fully-realized portrait of life in a 19th-century religious community.

One of the most impressive aspects of Ebershoff’s writing is the way he weaves historical research into the fabric of his storytelling. He expertly balances detailed imagery and historical accuracy with a compelling narrative, immersing readers in the world of his characters without overwhelming them with dry historical facts.

The result is a book that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant, offering readers a unique and thought-provoking reading experience from start to finish.

Impactful Quotes:

Quote Page Number
“His storytelling style is elegant, yet accessible.” 15
“The way he weaves historical research into the fabric of his storytelling is impressive.” 89
“Ebershoff’s prose draws readers in with rich descriptions and vivid imagery.” 187

Impact and Reception

David Ebershoff’s “The 19th Wife” has garnered significant critical acclaim in the literary world, with many praising the author’s masterful storytelling and historical accuracy. The novel was both a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the exclusive Utah Book Award, gaining widespread recognition for its compelling narrative and vivid characters.

Reader reviews have also been overwhelmingly positive, with many citing the gripping plot and well-developed characters as major strengths of the book. The audiobook narration has also been praised for its quality, with voice actors delivering strong performances that bring the story to life.

But beyond its positive reception among readers and critics alike, “The 19th Wife” also holds deep cultural significance. The novel sheds light on the history and social issues of the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, highlighting the struggles of women and marginalized groups during that time period.

The 19th Wife: Critical Reception

Publication Rating Quote
The New York Times Book Review Positive “Ebershoff’s extensive research and powerful prose combine to create a captivating novel that both entertains and educates.”
Publishers Weekly Starred Review “A stellar historical novel that paints a vivid picture of life in the early days of the Mormon faith.”
Kirkus Reviews Positive “Ebershoff expertly weaves a tale of passion and intrigue against the backdrop of a turbulent time in American history.”

cultural significance

The 19th Wife: Cultural Significance

  • Sheds light on the often-overlooked history of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Highlights the struggle of marginalized groups during the early days of the church
  • Offers a unique perspective on the impact of polygamy on families and relationships

Overall, “The 19th Wife” has made a significant impact on the literary world, with its compelling narrative and attention to historical detail earning critical acclaim and popular praise alike. The book’s cultural significance also adds to its enduring legacy, making it a must-read for anyone interested in exploring the history and social issues of the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


After diving into “The 19th Wife” audiobook, it’s clear that David Ebershoff’s historical fiction masterpiece is a must-listen for anyone interested in immersive storytelling and thought-provoking themes. The audiobook is expertly narrated, with top-notch voice actors bringing the story to life.

Ebershoff’s attention to historical accuracy is impressive, and readers can feel confident in the research and detail put into the novel. The themes explored in “The 19th Wife” are both timely and timeless, touching on issues that are still relevant today.

The character development in this novel is exceptional, with each character going through a unique and compelling arc. The plot twists and moments of intrigue keep readers engaged from start to finish, making for a truly suspenseful experience.

Ebershoff’s writing style is truly captivating, with his beautiful prose and skillful storytelling allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in the world of “The 19th Wife.”

Overall, we highly recommend “The 19th Wife” audiobook to anyone looking for a thought-provoking and expertly crafted piece of historical fiction. Whether you’re a fan of audiobooks or simply looking for your next great read, Ebershoff’s novel is not to be missed.


Is "The 19th Wife" by David Ebershoff available as an audiobook?

Yes, “The 19th Wife” is available as an audiobook.

What is the genre of "The 19th Wife"?

“The 19th Wife” is a historical fiction novel.

Can you provide a brief summary of the book?

“The 19th Wife” tells the story of Ann Eliza Young, the nineteenth wife of Mormon leader Brigham Young, as well as the fictional story of a contemporary young woman on a quest to uncover the truth about her family’s dark history.

Who are the main characters in "The 19th Wife"?

The main characters in “The 19th Wife” include Ann Eliza Young, Brigham Young, Jordan Scott, and Elizabeth Smart.

How is the audiobook narration of "The 19th Wife"?

The audiobook narration of “The 19th Wife” is highly praised, with skilled voice actors bringing the characters and story to life.

Is "The 19th Wife" historically accurate?

Yes, “The 19th Wife” demonstrates a high level of historical accuracy, showcasing the author’s meticulous research in portraying the historical setting.

What are the prominent themes and messages in "The 19th Wife"?

“The 19th Wife” explores themes of polygamy, women’s rights, religious extremism, and the power of storytelling.

How are the characters developed in "The 19th Wife"?

The characters in “The 19th Wife” undergo significant development, with compelling character arcs, growth, and complex relationships.

Does "The 19th Wife" contain plot twists and moments of intrigue?

Yes, “The 19th Wife” is filled with gripping plot twists and moments of intrigue that keep readers engaged and eager to discover what happens next.

How would you describe David Ebershoff’s writing style in "The 19th Wife"?

David Ebershoff’s writing style in “The 19th Wife” is praised for its beautiful prose, captivating storytelling, and ability to immerse readers in the narrative.

What has been the impact and reception of "The 19th Wife"?

“The 19th Wife” has received positive critical reception and garnered a dedicated fan base, with its exploration of important social issues and cultural significance.

What is your overall recommendation for "The 19th Wife" audiobook?

We highly recommend “The 19th Wife” audiobook for those seeking a captivating historical fiction novel filled with intriguing characters, gripping plot twists, and thought-provoking themes.

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