I picked up The 19th Wife at Costco because I thought someone had recommended it. Turns out I was mistaken on the recommendation, but the story still intrigued me since I am fascinated by all things Mormon.
It was an entertaining read, with lots of Mormon history weaved throughout a modern day mystery. The way that Ebershoff flashed back and forth between the present and the end of the nineteenth century was clever and not confusing.
Though the story is fictional, if you're the type who likes historical fiction you'll probably enjoy The 19th Wife. I found out later that it's a Lifetime movie starring the sister from Grey's Anatomy. I didn't watch it, but maybe that's why I recognized the title?
Unbroken was our last book club selection before we took a break for the summer. It's a mesmerizing story by anyone's standard, but I found the Japanese prisoner of war tale a little tedious at times. I will say that I learned so much about World War II that isn't taught in history class. The war in the Pacific is something that was barely glossed over in my school learning, so I found myself constantly saying (to whoever was around), "Did you know....?!"
I question the exact details of this true story. I know that years of research and interviews went into the book, but some parts just seemed a little too pat for the story especially all these years later. But it was well written and very, very interesting.
The Girls from Ames appealed to me because it recounts the decades-long friendship between a group of women from their childhood into their 40's. These non-fiction relationships struck a cord with me because I am still very close to many of my childhood and high school friends from my small town and I understand the layers and complications within such groups.
There were certain parts of the book that I found hard to follow (I'd have to reference the women's pictures and short bios from the front page if I got lost) and midway through the book the author changes from one-girl-per-chapter to stories-per-chapter, and this put the focus on certain women more than others. I didn't mind it, I just thought it was confusing and could have been arranged differently.
I connected with the women enough to bring out the tissues several times, but I also felt a bit of a distance between myself and the subjects. Maybe as a society we're just too used to the rawness of reality television or the "perfectness" of fiction. This is a light read that makes you think about your own friendships, your own upbringing, and how that affects who you are now.
What are you reading this summer? I want to hear your steer-clears and your recommends.