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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Ninth Wife, by Amy Stolls

Thirty-five-year-old folklorist and amateur martial artist Bess Gray is a single woman living in Washington, D.C. who falls in love with Rory, a charming Irish musician with a secret.  When Rory asks her to marry him, Bess, who had nearly given up hope of marrying at all, is horrified to find that he has eight ex-wives.  She sets out on a cross-country journey with the intention, unbeknownst to Rory, of seeking them out. In alternating chapters, Rory ruminates about each of his ex-wives and how he became a serial spouse. 

Along for the ride are Bess's grandparents who've been married 65 years and fight constantly, her gay neighbor (himself an utter mystery), a Shar-Pei named Stella, and a mannequin named Peace.  Will Bess say yes to Rory?  Would a sane woman really consider becoming any man's ninth wife? 

Okay, I obviously picked this up thinking it was yet another fundamentalist Mormon book. It's not my background by any means, but it's an interesting culture to me. This story isn't about that.

It's a love story, yes. But a convoluted one. Rory has been married 8 times before meeting and ultimately proposing to Bess. 8 times. Who does that? And why is Bess supposed to not be rather obsessed and bothered by the notion of being some man's 9th wife when he will be only her 1st husband? 
I really like Bess, and can honestly see myself making very similar decisions in my life and once she learns about Rory's marital past. Rory's likeable, heck, loveable. But he's delusional about what good and right reasons are. Having valid reasons for a decision doesn't mean you have to follow through with the decision. 

This story doesn't catch you right away. But, once you get threw the first few chapters, the story is interesting and you are driven to find out Bess's ultimate decision. Keep up and pay attention, as you flit between Rory's back story and his and Bess's reality.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Harper Paperbacks (HarperCollins) through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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