The Ninth Wife

the ninth wife : reviews / discussion questions / background

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What sane woman would consider becoming any man’s ninth wife?

Bess Gray is a thirty-five-year-old folklorist and amateur martial artist living in Washington, DC. Just as she’s about to give up all hope of marriage, she meets Rory, a charming Irish musician, and they fall in love. But Rory is a man with a secret, which he confesses to Bess when he asks for her hand: He’s been married eight times before. Shocked, Bess embarks on a quest she feels she must undertake before she can give him an answer. With her bickering grandparents (married sixty-five years), her gay neighbor (himself a mystery), a shar-pei named Stella, and a mannequin named Peace, Bess sets out on a cross-country journey—unbeknownst to Rory—to seek out and question the wives who came before. What she discovers about her own past is far more than she bargained for.

The Ninth Wife is a smart, funny, eye-opening tale of love, marriage, and the power of stories to unlock the true meaning of home and family.

Palms to the Ground

palms to the ground : reviews

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Winner, 2005 Parents Choice Gold Award

“Delightfully quirky, but thoroughly believable characters make this debut novel enjoyable and thought-provoking.” – School Library Journal

“In her debut, Stolls scores with some marvelously original characterizations in a funny and touching story.” – Kirkus

Calman Pulowitz is an only child with bad eyesight and sensitive nipples whose parents have been sending him to a therapist since he was six to combat the inevitable dysfunction of the contemporary American family. Now thirteen, he has reduced his suffering to insomnia, claustrophobia, fainting spells, an addiction to Pepto-Bismol, and a dependence on the Psychic Hotline. But Calman is about to have an adventure that might just change his life. In this original novel, Calman will travel out west to meet his pen pal and discover nothing is as he expects it to be. He’ll meet Simon, the nine-fingered banjo player, Eleanor, the rose-scented bartender, Tank, the fix-it man with an odd speech impediment, and Rizzy, his tall muscular pugnacious pen pal with a secret past. Out in an onion field on a windless night, he’ll contemplate death and God, and begin to understand what it means to be a man.