Friday, September 16, 2011
Review: The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls
Bess Gray is successful, attractive, and turning 35. Her life has not turned out the way she thought it would. She’s newly single, her ex-boyfriend parted ways when he felt that Bess would want to start settling down. As much as it hurts, it hurts more that he seems to be settling down just fine with his new, pregnant girlfriend. Bess feels alone, without her grandparents she would have no one. Her mother passed away years ago, and her father died when Bess was really young. Her grandparents were all she had and they’ve decided that they will be moving across the country. Bess is saddened but hopeful for them. A friend suggests that Bess throw a single’s party for her birthday, although reluctant at first, she decides to give it a try. Bess is feeling hopeless, the party seems like a complete waste of time, until Rory walks in. Bess is intrigued and takes him up on an offer to see him play fiddle at a local bar. Soon she finds herself dating Rory. Their relationship begins to blossom, and Bess wonders about his past. He never truly gives her a lot of details about his past relationships, she has a feeling he’s been married before but he doesn’t freely give details. Rory knows he owes her the truth, but he’s too afraid to loose her. Bess decides to not push it, but when Rory proposes to Bess, he provides some extra details. He’s been married eight times, some relationships lasted longer than others, some were for love, some for convenience. Rory knows that he has “made such a mess of the institution that he felt as if [he] had rendered it meaningless” but he still dreams of having a wife and family. He still believes in love, and thinks that marriage is possible. Bess immediately begins to distance herself, she doesn’t know what to feel. She decides to put the proposal on hold, and figure out what she needs to do. His proposal was not suppose to be like that. How can she be sure that this would last? How can Rory feel that this would last? Bess decides that she needs time, time to sort through her thoughts and time to meet these wives. She’s a researcher by nature and she needs to uncover a few details. Her grandparents are ready to move and her grandfather has revealed that he is afraid of flying. Bess decides to drive them cross-country. She wants to spend more time with her grandparents, and her plan to meet the wives becomes more clear.
The Ninth Wife was a great read. Part I leads up to the proposal, each chapter told from Rory and Bess’ perspective. Rory goes through each wife, and each marriage is so unlike the one before. I really began to feel for him. Part II is the aftermath of the proposal, while part I seems very humorous, the book took on a much more serious tone in Part II. Honestly, how is one suppose to react when the man who is proposing to you begins to tell you that you will be his ninth wife? Bess has never been married, never been engaged, and dreamt of having the perfect marriage. While Bess struggles with her feelings about marriage, her grandparents seem to be fighting more and more. They’ve been together for 65 years, and it still seems like they struggle. Her emotions are on a roller-coaster, and she’s looking for the right answer. While the trip has been eye-opening, her time away from Rory has raised some questions. I felt for both characters, but both characters had a legitimate reason for feeling the way they did. I couldn’t choose one character over the other. Both were realistic and flawed. “The Ninth Wife” is about love, life, friendship, and trust. It’s an exceptional tale -sure to transport readers on a wild ride. I highly recommend this one!