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.
“The Ninth Wife by Washington resident Amy Stolls is a witty, satisfying novel with a clever structure…. 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.” — The Washington Post
“Stolls’s first foray into adult fiction offers a nuanced take on relationships.” — Publishers Weekly
“Should Bess Gray marry a guy who’s been married eight times before? No, of course not — it’s obvious, right? But in this funny and engaging novel, Amy Stolls shows us that real-life romance is rarely as clear-cut as it seems. The Ninth Wife is a vibrant, nuanced novel about marriage, identity, and the moment when we realize that the shimmer of fantasy pales next to the tumultuous reality of ordinary, everyday happiness.” – Carolyn Parkhurst, bestselling author of The Dogs of Babel
“I love this book’s deft, fresh take on male-female relationships. As Amy Stolls takes us into the minds, hearts, and histories of Bess and Rory, we grapple with the thorny, thrilling truth that love is always complicated, always — every time, every day — a risk.” – Marisa de los Santos, bestselling author of Love Walked In
Bess “embarks on a journey of self-awareness that explores the nature of love, relationships, and identity that is enjoyable to read and refreshingly realistic.” – Book Club Classics
“Crisp and witty dialog…. [Stolls has an] ability to get her readers pondering and asking questions, not only about her characters but about themselves…. I loved this book and read compulsively all the way to the end.” – Raging Bibliomania
“Great storytelling…. You’re going to surprise yourself, pick it up and turn page after page, devouring Bess, her friends, her family, and Rory, his friends, his family, his history, and each and every one of his previous eight wives.” – Good Girl Gone Redneck