#120 ~ The 19th Wife (Book Review and Giveaway)

November 10, 2008 at 1:22 am | Posted in Books | 25 Comments
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tlc-book-tours-graphic-tiny1It my great pleasure to be David Ebershoff’s host for today’s stop of the TLC book tour for his novel, The 19th Wife.

Click on the author’s name below for more information about him and his work.  The information contained on his website provide a great deal of information about the real lives of Ann Eliza Young and Brigham Young.

To find out more about TLC Book Tours, click here.

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

I have been anticipating reading The 19th Wife since I first read Devourer of Books’ review earlier this year.  This novel follows the evolution of plural marriage within the Mormon church from its first inception, the ultimate denouncement of the institution after Brigham Young’s death, and the sect called The Firsts who broke with the Mormon Church when the church began punishing polygamy with excommunication for they were sure that plural marriage did, in fact, lead the Saints to their salvation.  Ever since I’ve read my first review, I’ve read more and more wonderful reviews.  While Jordan Scott was a wonderful character and I found Ann Eliza’s life and prior to her divorce from Brigham Young engrossing, I wish that I enjoyed this book as much as others have.  For me extremely interesting and personal stories were bogged down by a structure that separated them with what was often dry research written by a Mormon graduate student.

Jordan’s story begins when his mother is arrested for the murder of his father, a powerful member of The Firsts in Mesadale.  Jordan is one of the Lost Boys, those young men excommunicated from The Firsts for varying small indiscretions.  One day during his adolescence, his mother drove him to the highway and left him there to fend for himself.  To him, she chose her church over her son.  As much as she hurt him, he cannot help but return to Utah when he reads about legal troubles.  He cannot stop himself for helping her, even though it keeps him far away from his new life and his next job.

Like Jordan, Ann Eliza was born to a faithful Saint.  Her parents, Chauncey and Elizabeth Webb are some of the first people converted by Joseph Smith as he leads his people to Nauvoo, IL in search of religious freedom.  While Elizabeth carried Ann Eliza, Joseph Smith comes to the Webbs and explains to them that God revealed to him that it was His will that Joseph’s Saints must populate the land through plural marriages.  Although the Webbs fought this teaching initially, Joseph Smith’s martyrdom convinced first Elizabeth and then her husband through her that plural, or celestial, marriage was God’s plan.  Ann Eliza was just a young child when the institution that would define her life and her life’s work set root for the Mormon people.  What she witnessed did not show celestial marriages leading each person closer to God.  She saw the practice eating away at each person’s soul.

What David Ebershoff does best is create strong, believable characters with their own distinct voices.  Jordan, Ann Eliza, Brigham, Queenie, 5, Tom, Chauncey, Lorenzo and Elizabeth were all compelling and I found myself easily caring them.  The people were flawed and beautiful and human.  Some of his characters were so honest and raw that it hurt to read.  For example, Chauncey’s section of the novel was perfect.  He was never as faithful a Saint as his beloved wife Elizabeth.  He did not want anything to do with plural marriage at first.  He loved his wife and wanted to be faithful to her.  Celestial marriage changed him.  It made him a slave to his physical desire and drove a wedge between him and the person he cared for the most in his life.  Hearing him look back on his life with a regret he never completely named was heartbreaking.

Polygamy is such a foreign concept to me.  After the news events of this summer, I appreciated reading a novel that could put that lifestyle into context.  Without that, the people easily viewed as a passing sideshow attraction.  The stories of these characters spoke volumes about faith, love, and the truths about the practice of polygamy within a theocracy.  As such, the conclusions to the research written by an outside character were not needed.   While it was intended to tie all the stories together logically, I found this structure intrusive.  It slowed the story down when it was nearing what could have been such a satisfying climax.  By the end, I was simply tired.


I would like to know what your thoughts are on polygamy, theocracy and religious freedom.  To sweeten the deal, I’d like to offer a copy of The 19th Wife to one of you who leaves a comment about these topics by the end of the day EST on Wednesday, November 12th.

Please note that this contest is open to the US and Canada only.  In the past month I’ve shipped three books to Singapore and one to Israel, so my international shipping budget has been drained for the time being.


There are many more wonderful stops, both past and future, on this book tour.  Check out the details below:

David Ebershoff’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Wednesday, Oct. 15th: Maw Books (Natasha got to meet David at a book signing!)

Thursday, Oct. 16th: Maw Books (review)

Friday, Oct. 17th: Reading, ‘Riting, and Retirement (guest post and review)

Monday, Oct. 20th: She Is Too Fond Of Books (will have another post soon with David answering questions from readers)

Tuesday, Oct. 21st: Age 30 – A Year in Books

Thursday, Oct. 23rd: A High and Hidden Place

Monday, Oct. 27th: It’s All About Books (guest post) and review

Tuesday, Oct. 28th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (review and author interview)

Thursday, Oct. 30th: Books on the Brain (giveaway)

Monday, Nov. 3rd: The Cottage Nest

Tuesday, Nov. 4th: B&B ex libris

Wednesday, Nov. 5th: Anniegirl1138

Thursday, Nov. 6th: The Tome Traveller

Tuesday, Nov. 11th:  Educating Petunia

Wednesday,  Nov. 12th: Diary of an Eccentric

Friday, Nov. 14th: Book Chase

To buy this novel, click here.

Mailbox Monday ~ 10.13.08

October 13, 2008 at 12:59 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe | 12 Comments
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Happy Monday and Happy Columbus Day (for my US readers). I had a busy week in my mailbox, which is very nice when I’m actually opening the mail.  However, when I get to looking at my bookshelf, it gets quite intimidating.  So, here is what I found in my mailbox last week:

Broad Street by Christine Weiser ~ sent by Philadelphia Stories

I have read some interesting information about this novel, so I decided to give it a chance.  It’s about an all girls band, so I’m hoping that it will be a lot of fun.

Off the Menu by Christine Son ~ sent by the publisher

I received this book because I’ll be participating in the author’s TLC Book Tour in November.  I love the title, especially for Thanksgiving.

The Witch’s Trinity by Erika Mailman ~ signed and sent by the author

Thank you so much, Erika!  I am so thrilled to have a copy of this novel, as I originally rented it from the library.  In case you didn’t know, there are three ways you can win a copy of this wonderful novel.  Click here for the details.

A is for Atticus: Baby Names from Great Books by Lorilee Craker ~ unknown origin

I’m not sure how I received this book.  I searched my email for a clue, but came up with nothing.  It’s a fun baby name book, though.  My baby naming days are over, but it’s fun to look up names of people you know.  I can already say this would make a great gift for a mommy or daddy-to-be who loves to read.

Bedlam South by Mark Grisham and David Douglas ~ sent by the publicist

Marcia wrote an excellent review of this novel and I can’t wait to get started.

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti ~ Sent by Lisa at Minds Alive on the Shelf

I won this book in her super awesome contest, even though I requested it using the wrong title. 🙂  Thanks for the great contest, Lisa!

My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes ~ a gift from my co-worker

One of the contractors who works with us asked me to give him some book titles because he wanted to buy me a book for my birthday.  Of the list, he selected this novel, which received rave reviews from Marg at Reading Adventures.  I was so excited to open it.  I can’t wait to read it.  Anne of Cleves is such an interesting character to me.

Save the Date ~ Capote in Kansas on October 29

October 11, 2008 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Books | 2 Comments
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I will be taking part in my second TLC Book Tour at the end of this month ~ Capote in Kansas by Kim Powers.  There has already been a great deal of good discussion about this novel so far and I have a feeling that it will just keep getting better.  Please make a note to stop by The Literate Housewife Review on October 29.  While you’re at it, check out every stop along the way!

Kim Powers’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Wednesday, Oct. 1st: Bookgirl’s Nightstand

Friday, Oct. 3rd: Book Room Reviews

Monday, Oct. 6th: A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook

Wednesday, Oct. 8th: Tripping Toward Lucidity

Friday, Oct. 10th: book-a-rama

Monday, Oct. 13th: Ready When You Are, C.B.

Wednesday, Oct. 15th: Bibliolatry

Friday, Oct. 17th: Books and Movies

Monday, Oct. 20th: Booking Mama

Wednesday, Oct. 22nd: Diary of an Eccentric

Thursday, Oct. 23rd: Maw Books

Friday, Oct. 24th: Book Club Classics

Monday, Oct. 27th: Books and Cooks

Tuesday, Oct. 28th: Devourer of Books

Wednesday, Oct. 29th: Literate Housewife

Drumroll, Please…

September 11, 2008 at 12:00 pm | Posted in LIfe | 6 Comments
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The Grand Prize winner in The Literate Housewife Review’s 100th Book Review Contest is…

Carey at The Tome Traveller’s Weblog!

Carey wins all of the following books…

and a phone call with Kathleen McCleary!

Carey, please send me an email with your mailing information.  I’ll get your prize in the mail by Monday.  I would love to hear all about your conversation with Kathleen.  She seems so nice via email, I can only imagine her being even more welcoming over the phone.  If you think about it, please report back to us on how everything went.  I hope that you enjoy each and every one of your books.  Congratulations!!!!!

But she’s not the only winner!

The following lucky entrants each win a signed copy of House and Home from Kathleen!

Bonnie at Red Lady’s Reading Room & Tracy W!

Congratulations!!!!  Please send me your mailing information in an email and I’ll get that information to Kathleen.  I hope that you love this book!  Drop back by when you’ve finished it and let me know what you think.

Congratulations to all the winners!  I also want to thank each and every one of you who helped make this occassion special for me!

Kathleen, it was an honor to share all of this with you.  I wish you all the success in the world with House and Home.  A special thanks also to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for thinking about me when this opportunity came up.  It was a wonderful experience for me.

There were 108 total entries, making this my most successful contest ever.  In order to keep everything straight, I used a number or a letter after common first names in case there were duplicates.  In the case of Tracy, there were actually two, so I’m glad I did that.  I like it when I’m unintentionally wise. 🙂  I tried to include a  here so that you could see them, but it’s too large.  If you would like to see, please send me an email. Thanks again, everyone!

#100 ~ House and Home & My 100th Review Contest

September 8, 2008 at 12:00 am | Posted in Books, Family, LIfe, My Life with Books, Reading, Secrets and Lies | 50 Comments
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Today I have the great pleasure of hosting Kathleen McCleary on her House and Home book tour sponsored by TLC Book Tours.  I very much appreciate the invitation to participate in this tour as well as the opportunity to read Kathleen’s novel.  Please click on Kathleen’s name below to visit her website.  Click on the TLC Book Tours graphic for more information on this wonderful new book tour program.

House and Home by Kathleen McCleary

By outside appearances, Ellen Flanagan had it all: a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, a house she decorated and maintained with love and dedication, and Coffe@Home, a business that merged her passion for antiques with her interest in coffee and fine tea.  All was not what it seemed.  Sam, her adventurous and creative husband, had a passion for inventing.  When he created a baby beeper he thought would make it big, the couple put a second mortgage on their home.  When the baby beeper didn’t pay off, that second mortgage cost them the home Ellen so dearly loved and her 18 year marriage.  As time got near to vacate the house they sold, Ellen found she couldn’t part with it.  She decided that she’s rather see it burn than to allow another family to call it home.

The opening paragraph to this novel, after explaining Ellen’s attachment to the home, ends by saying that she would burn it down.  I was instantly curious, especially since this seemed pretty hard core for a novel with such a beautiful and inviting cover.  That paragraph brought to mind the song “Sunny Came Home” by Shawn Colvin.  I was eager to find out what it was about Ellen or the house that drove her to even think about arson.  When at first I couldn’t find any logical explanation for her planning something so destructive, it was frustrating.  Ellen wasn’t mentally ill, she and Sam were on amicable terms despite the fact that they were divorcing, her business was thriving, and she had the most thoughtful and supportive best friend in the world.  Why?  Then it occurred to me.  As much as she loved that house, her fixation was a protective cover. She believes that burning down her house will keep others out.  Truthfully, if not subconsciously, what she’s doing is making all that she has lost and all that she is losing tangible and visible, especially to Sam.

This is really a novel about relationships, both the good and the bad.  Sometimes there is a cost to starting them.  Sometimes there is a cost to losing them.  There are times when the cost may be too high; but in the end, you can’t live your life fully without them.  Be they with your best friend, your lover, your family, business associates, or even mere acquaintances, your interactions with other people teach you how to play, work, love, hurt, forgive, learn, laugh, cry, hold on, and to let go.  Ellen spent the first 44 years fighting to control her life. House and Home is the story of how she learns that what makes life worth living requires you to constantly take leaps of faith.

Kathleen McCleary is a clear and concise writer and she brought some wonderful characters to life.  You can feel Ellen’s pain and the anxiety brought about by her need to be in control from the start, even if you don’t completely understand it at first.  You can see how it blinds her to what she has.  House and Home is a reminder that when life feels like one crisis after another, the only way not to get lost in it all is to focus on your friends and loved ones.  It is a celebration of friendships, relationships, and family.  If you’re like me, you’ll find this novel every bit as heartwarming as the cover suggests.

Literate Housewife’s 100th Book Review Contest

I am so excited about today because it marks the day I am posting my 100th book review online.  My blog started on Blogspot and it was called “52 Books or Bust.”  I started it in January, 2007 to give me a way to be accountable to my personal goal of reading 52 books that year and to also provide me with a way to remember what I read.  It was from those meager beginnings that The Literate Housewife Review started.  I had no idea that 21months later I would be celebrating today.

In order to mark this day, I wanted to hold a contest to thank you, my readers.  Without your comments and support I can’t say that I would still be doing this today.  In honor of reaching the 100 book mark, I’m going to give one of my lucky readers a copy of House and Home and ten other books I’ve read to date.  Here is a picture of the book and the links to those reviews:

The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson ~ #24
Portrait on an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett ~ #37
Gilding Lily by Tatiana Boncompagni ~ #66
The Lady Elizabeth By Alison Weir ~ #70
Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan ~ #78
Mrs. Lieutenant by Phyllis Zimbler Miller ~ #81
Regina’s Closet by Diana M. Raab ~ #84
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson ~ #88
37 by Maria Beaumont ~ #89
Castaway Kid by R.B. Mitchell ~ #94

When Kathleen McCleary read that this was my 100th review and would be holding a contest in its honor, she wanted to get in on the fun, too.  So, to sweeten this contest even further, the winner will also get the opportunity to talk with the author personally!  What a fun and wonderful opportunity!  And that’s not all! The second and third place winners in this contest will also get their own autographed copies of House and Home!

Have I peaked your interest enough?  Are you wondering what you need do to enter?  Here goes:

1. Leave a comment to this post by 11:59 EST on September 9 and you will receive two entries.  Comments left beginning on September 11 at midnight receive one entry.  If you comment includes a question about House and Home, for Kathleen McCleary, or about any of the other books in the contest, you will receive an additional entry (three entries possible).

2. If you have a blog, write a post about this contest by 11:59 EST on September 9 and leave me a message with the link to earn two entries.  If you do not have a blog, you can send an email telling 3 or more friends about this contest (copy me) by 11:59 EST on September 9 for those two entries.

Selecting the winners: I will be out of town starting Friday, so this is going to be a quick contest.  I will be using the List Randomizer on random.org to enter the names and will it will determine the winner at noon on Thursday, September 11 EST.  [I have wised up since my last contest. No more writing names down on sheets of paper, cutting them out, folding them, and putting them in a box and asking my beloved husband or bewildered co-workers to pick them out.]

Posting the results: I will be posting the names of the winners at 1pm EST.  The name of the person in lucky number 1 spot wins the copy of House and Home, the selection of 10 books I’ve previously reviewed, and a phone conversation with Kathleen McCleary!  The names of the people in lucky spots number 2 and 3 (assuming that there aren’t any repeating names – if there are, the second and third unique names) will also receive an autographed copy of House and Home.

Good luck to everyone who enters and a special thanks to Kathleen McCleary for making this contest that much more special!

To buy this novel, click here.

The Sunday Salon 9.7.08 & 100th Review Contest

September 7, 2008 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 12 Comments
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The Sunday Salon.comThis has been a productive week in Literate Housewife Review land. I read three and a half books, hosted a book tour, got nominated for a BBAW award, and published two reviews, which brought me just one review away from my 100th review!  I remember back in January of 2007 that I never in my wildest dreams saw this day coming.  I was hoping to make it to 52.  I had no idea what this would become.  Now, I’m looking forward to my next 100 reviews.  The sky’s the limit when you keep and open mind and follow your heart.

I hosted C.W. Gortner on his blog tour on Tuesday and published my review of his delightful novel, The Last Queen.  Please feel free to keep leaving comments and questions for him.  He’ll be coming back periodically to check out what’s going on.  He seems very nice and you can also find him on the new and improved site of the Historical Fiction board.  If you enjoy historical fiction and haven’t checked out this board, you really should.  You’ll find some familiar book blogging faces and other interesting people.

Adam at Letters on Pages wrote a wonderful review of The Blue Death.  He graciously agreed to read and review it for me.  Thank you, Adam!

On Friday, I found out that I was nominated for a Book Blogger Appreciation Week award and I’m so thrilled.  I was nominated in the Best Book Club Blog category and I’m thrilled.  Please take the time to vote for me (if you choose) and all of the other wonderful nominees at My Friend Amy.

Last night I finally published my review of The Seamstress by Frances De Pontes Peebles.  I can’t tell you how excited I was when I typed in the “#99” in the header for that post.  This leads me to my 100th Review Contest…

Tonight at midnight I will be publish my 100th review.  I am tomorrow’s host for Kathleen McCleary’s blog tour for House and Home, which is being sponsored by TLC Book Tours.  I don’t want to give away too many details here.  You’ll have to come back after midnight to find out all the details, but I’ll leave you with this clue:

I missed The Sunday Salon last week, so I want to take this opportunity to thank four of my book blogging friends:

I was one of the lucky winners in Chartroose’s 101 post contest at Bloody Hell, It’s a Book Barrage and last week my treasured Jane Austen action figure arrived in the mail.  She now uses her super writing powers to guard and protect my collection of her books.

Shana at Literarily nominated me for the SuperCommenter award and I’m so delighted!  I will be making my own nominations next week.  Thanks, Shana!

Don at Don’s Stuff also awarded me for my comments on his blog.  I have say that I am tickled by this graphic and may have to use it in another post if I’m so lucky as to win any other awards.  Thanks, Don!

Finally, my friend Marcia at The Printed Page sent me a copy of The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.  I have been wanting to read this novel since I first read Devourer of Books’s reviewMarcia’s review made me even more excited to read it.  I’ll be participating in the author’s book tour in November, so I only have a little while longer to wait.  Thanks so much, Marcia!

So, that’s my week.  It was nice feel good about what I’ve accomplished again.  I seem to have mostly recovered from the start of the school year.  How’s your week been?  I’m wishing everyone a great week ahead!  I’m hoping to keep up the reading and post four reviews.  Let’s see if I can meet my own personal challenge on that.

Save the Date ~ September 8

August 18, 2008 at 8:00 am | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 2 Comments
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It is a great honor and privilege to be offered a slot in TLC Book Tour‘s first tour featuring Kathleen McCleary’s novel House and Home. TLC Book Tours was started by two the nicest bloggers out there, Lisa from Books on the Brain and Trish from Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? My copy of the novel arrived last week and I was so excited. It looks and feels so refreshing and relaxing. It’s my next book and I can’t wait get started.

My date on the tour is September 8, so bookmark this site and come back for my review and other fun tour-related stuff. You never know when you might find a chocolate on your pillow when you come to visit Literate Housewife. But don’t just stop on my date. I’m sure that there will be a lot of happening to make you feel at home at each stop along the way. Here is the full schedule:

Wednesday, September 3rd: Hooked on Houses
Friday, September 5th: It’s All About Books
Monday, September 8th: The Literate Housewife
Wednesday, September 10th: Books and Cooks
Friday, September 12th: Breaking the Spine
Monday, September 15th: She Is Too Fond Of Books
Wednesday, September 17th: Caribousmom
Thursday, September 18th: Age 30 – A Year of Books
Monday, September 22nd: Booking Mama
Wednesday, September 24th: The Inside Cover
Friday, September 26th: In the Shadow of Mt. TBR
Monday, September 29th: Displaced Beach Bums

I look forward to seeing you here. I’ll even be dusting and cleaning the bathrooms just for you.

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