Review - The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls

Title: The Ninth Wife
Author: Amy Stolls
Publish Date: May 5, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Adult Fiction; 496 Pages
ISBN: 9780061851896

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Up until halfway through the book, I found myself a little bored, a little distracted and trying to figure out where this book was going and if there would be any kind of climax.

Contrary to the title's thought process, it isn't about a plural marriage. It's actually about a man who has been married eight times and comes across his ninth wife who is wondering how and why anyone would be married that many times. On top of that, she wants to know why they would want to be married again.

I followed Rory's story and many times I would think, Dude (yes, that word) is this guy dense or what? And then I would find the author actually wrote that in the next paragraph - which made me fond of the book and of Rory's character. I liked that he knew he was making a mistake. He knew that he was fallible. It was probably his fourth wife that I started to realize what a true romantic Rory really is (even though this was stated a few times already, in the book, I didn't believe it). He really wanted to love someone for life and be loved for life. He just never found the person who would do that with/for him. I found this sad and yet, the fact that he kept trying, kept believing, made me like Rory that much more. His mistakes then turned into hope.

Bess, is his proposed to (possible) ninth wife. She has had an interesting life. She was raised by her grandparents who fight all the time and it drives her nuts. Her grandmother constantly tells her grandfather what to do and her grandfather has a secret in the basement that is too good to reveal here. (sorry, you have to read it) I simply love the part (and maybe this is why and when I became entranced with this book) when Bess decides to go and meet these previous wives and ask them why. Why did they marry Rory, why did they break up. I love her guts to even embark on this journey, let alone her continuing and following up with it and not chickening out. I could see many women thinking this is a great idea, but then thinking it's crazy, yet if you want to marry someone wouldn't you go to the ends of the earth to find out if it's good?

These are some of my favorite excerpts -
"I don't want to go home," she says, quietly, not meeting his eyes. She crosses the room and sits on the bed. He closes the door and sits by her. He waits for her to speak. She lies down on the bed in a fetal position, slides a pillow under her head and holds her stomach. "You are a story teller. Tell me the story of your married life."
"Are you sure you want to hear it?" He touches her leg. She doesn't recoil.

People say I don't have to rush into marriage. But the way I see it, why prolong? Dao and I waited more than three years and she still left me. And it's true. Gloria left me after a short marriage, but there were reasons I'm aware of then, even from the first moment. I still imagine myself with a woman I can grow old with. i want to be able to look back on my life and see how much we shared. It's what my parents had and I think I've always been searching for that. But already more than half my life is over. That's a sobering thought.
At first I kept thinking that Bess should run as fast as she could away from this man, Rory. He was a mess and didn't seem to be able to communicate outside of his music. He was very much a child, but as his story unfolds I see the vulnerability he only offers up if you stay and listen to his life. I realize the need and want of love. It was a beautiful thing and before I knew it, I was hoping for them to get married.

Though this book got off to a slow start, I really took this book to heart. It has quite a few things one can learn and instill in a relationship, even if a few are about what not to do. I felt for each of these characters for so many different reasons, but above all I wanted them all to be in love and happy in the end. The Ninth Wife is a prime example of how do I rate a book on a scale when it meets so many other criterion that is unmeasurable?

Summary -

What sane woman would consider becoming any man's ninth wife?

Bess Gray is a thirty-five-year-old folklorist and amateur martial artist living in Washington, DC. Just as she's about to give up all hope of marriage, she meets Rory, a charming Irish musician, and they fall in love. But Rory is a man with a secret, which he confesses to Bess when he asks for her hand: He's been married eight times before. Shocked, Bess embarks on a quest she feels she must undertake before she can give him an answer. With her bickering grandparents (married sixty-five years), her gay neighbor (himself a mystery), a shar-pei named Stella, and a mannequin named Peace, Bess sets out on a cross-country journey—unbeknownst to Rory—to seek out and question the wives who came before. What she discovers about her own past is far more than she bargained for.

1 comment:

jayayceeblog said...

Well, crap, now I just want to know what grandpa has in the basement. It really sounds like a great book and I'm putting it on my list! Fab review!