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Washington Post - May 12, 2011
"The Ninth Wife by Washington resident Amy Stolls is a witty,
satisfying novel with a clever structure. In alternating chapters,
Bess describes their romance while Rory explains the back-story
behind each of his previous relationships. Just before their
narratives collide, Rory tells Bess, ‘We should talk,’ and Bess
fears what’s coming: ‘Every person who has ever been dumped knows
those words, like the poised palms right before they push you off
...When Rory reveals the truth, Bess flees — but not in the way that
many women would. She puts his proposal on hold and sets out on a
cross-country drive, ostensibly to move her grandparents to an
assisted living center in Arizona, but with the stealth side mission
of tracking down and interviewing Rory’s ex-wives...
...Inviting himself along for the ride is Bess’s friend Cricket, who
is mourning the loss of his own partner. Sassy gay friends regularly
pop up in women’s fiction these days, but Cricket is a complex,
fleshed-out character who defies such literary stereotypes, while
still nabbing some of the best lines in the book. When a boy points
at Cricket’s ample belly and asks, ‘What do you have in there?’ he
shoots back, ‘Small children. I ate two this morning with a side of
...As Bess learns some disturbing secrets about her long-married
grandparents and interviews Rory’s previous lovers, she wonders if
he’s really worth the gamble. As Bess puts it, ‘Love continually
unleashes new questions that turn it inside out and make it stronger
or weaker or just plain tiresome.’...
...There’s something so sweetly endearing about both Bess and Rory
that readers will pull for them, knowing the odds may be against
them — even against marriage itself — but hoping that this time,
true love will triumph. And also that Rory will improve his delivery
of important questions."