It makes sense, right? After all don’t the people in society that really push the limits end up being the subject of gossip and criticism?
The Nineteenth Wife is a novel that has 2 stories. The first story set in the mid 1800’s is about our young social reformist/social harlot Ann Eliza Young. She was the 19th wife of Brigham Young, who was the prophet and leader of the Mormon church. The novel explains how this young woman ended up as his wife and paints the story of what it was like to be in the polygamist culture at the time in history.
The second story is a present day old fashioned murder mystery in which the alleged murderer is also the 19th FLDS wife of another creepy guy. This story is meant to show the contrast between polygamy in the 1870’s versus today. The irony is that it really isn’t that different. In both stories the women fight for the attention of their husband even though they really don’t want it, but his attention increases their power against the other wives in the family.
The reason Ann Eliza Young was painted as a harlot is because she eventually leaves her husband and the church and goes on to write her own autobiograpy in 1875 titled “Wife No. 19”. She toured the country on a crusade to end polygamy in the U.S.
Was she a social reformist? A social harlot? It’s a good read and it in the end you learn a lot about the history of polygamy in this country.