Synopsis: Thirty-five-year-old folklorist and amateur martial artist Bess Gray is a single woman living in Washington, D.C. who falls in love with Rory, a charming Irish musician with a secret. When Rory asks her to marry him, Bess, who had nearly given up hope of marrying at all, is horrified to find that he has eight ex-wives. She sets out on a cross-country journey with the intention, unbeknownst to Rory, of seeking them out. In alternating chapters, Rory ruminates about each of his ex-wives and how he became a serial spouse.
Along for the ride are Bess’s grandparents who’ve been married 65 years and fight constantly, her gay neighbor (himself an utter mystery), a Shar-Pei named Stella, and a mannequin named Peace. Will Bess say yes to Rory? Would a sane woman really consider becoming any man’s ninth wife?
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reality is that there is no perfect love story. It’s not as simple as boy meets girl, they fall in love, and happily ever after. Sometimes, relationships and families aren’t like what you see on TV, in the movies, or what you read in books. Amy Stolls told a great story of love, forgiveness, and finding out what it means to open your heart.
Bess is 35 and single. She takes karate classes to strengthen her inner self, her physical self, and hopes to obtain confidence that her instructor talks about. She is a folklorist, in love with the history and past that she longs to have. She was raised by her grandparents, lives in front of a man named Cricket and a dog named Stella, and is best friends with a very outspoken individual. She has lived her life convinced that she is not worthy of the great love that everyone seems to have experience. Stolls has written in her a way that you cannot help but feel for her.
Rory is 45 and also single. But in Rory’s case, he came from Ireland and has lived all over the United States. He has had almost every job from data entry to strumming keys as a musician. He has vices, addictions, and a heart so big, you cannot help but love him. Unlike Bess, he has felt love in his life. He has felt it at least 8 times, with his 8 wives. He is compassionate, but with a great fault. He acts on what his heart feels, and whether the outcome is positive or negative, he owns up to it. And when Rory meets Bess, he wants to make her the ninth wife.
To me, this book just wasn’t just about the tale of the wives, or even just about Bess and Rory. To me, this story was about the love and relationships between husband and wife, lovers, friends, family. Stolls encompasses the different levels of love between two people. She tells the stories of Rory’s wives and the positives and negatives about each type of love. She tells the story of Bess, her lack of love and how she witnesses the downside of what love can do, whether it be her parents, her grandparents, or her dear friends. Stolls writes about love and these relationships in such a way that you can’t help but picture yourself in one of those scenarios.
At first, I couldn’t stand behind the principle of nine wives. I couldn’t understand how I could grow to like a character that has gone through so much and has done so much to different women. But I am a victim of judging too early. Stolls, through Bess and Rory, has made me realize how powerful love can be. It can break you down into the depths of darkness, and it can also bring you alive in such a way that you feel you are unstoppable.
The Ninth Wife is a fantastic read. The writing style of Amy Stolls makes this story easy to relate and the characters lovable. I would suggest this to anyone who has ever felt or wanted to feel love.