The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls is a gimmicky novel about a woman who falls in love with a guy whose been married eight times before.
0 out of 10 stars. I can’t give a novel I couldn’t finish any stars. This one is written very poorly and it’s obvious from the start that Stolls used gimmicks to get the attention of a traditional publisher. Better she’d spent her time actually writing and coming up with cool ideas than doing this. The entire novel is told in present tense and then switches from first person point of view to omniscient (world) point of view back to first person, etc. There are pages and pages of dumb backstory and the entire first chapter is in the heroine’s head as she’s in Tae Kwon Do class, so it’s basically an advanced lesson in the theory and practice of Tae Kwon Do, which I don’t give a crap about. Bad way to start a novel.
Bess Gray is a self-involved late bloomer whose almost forty. She has her quirky eccentric friends and her obsession with Tae Kwon Do. Into her life comes an unusual man, an Irishman, who sweeps her off her feet. Well, not really. He doesn’t even make an appearance until about the fourth chapter. But anyway, she falls for him and learns he’s been married eight times before. I like that he proposes and he’s obviously a man who isn’t afraid to propose, but it obviously means nothing to him because he’s been divorced eight times. Get that? It’s not that he’s been married eight times. It’s that he’s been divorced eight times. Marriage is fun to him, but once the honeymoon is over, he can’t stay with one chick long enough to make a long-term commitment. 🙁 Not a hero. Not a heroine, just some dumb chick who thinks by talking to his eight previous wives she’ll learn something about him. Yes, that he’s been divorced eight times.
This had the potential to be a really entertaining, really exceptional romance, but the author spent way too much time trying to vomit backstory all over us. I wiped it off and finally put the book down. I would never read this author’s books again. She can’t write. Gimmicks don’t make a writer.
0 out of 10 stars. I couldn’t get past all the changes in point of view and variations on present tense. It’s jarring. The prose of a novel does not have to be a masterpiece, but it does have to read well. Amy Stoll’s prose is stiff, awkward, and disjointed. Nails on a chalkboard is more pleasing.
Stop. Kyunyeh. Put the target away and find a new partner.
Bess doesn’t hear her teacher at first. She is kicking hard, breathing heavily, sweaty and determined.
“Hey,” says her partner, putting his hand up and pulling the target behind him.
“Oh sorry,” she says. He leaves her to put the target in the corner, and she watches him bow to a new partner. Just like that.
Bess shifts her weight from foot to foot, giving her adrenaline time to adjust. She bows to a nearby student, a strong, bearded father of little ones in the karate school. “Defensive releases,” her teacher announces, which means one person grabs hold while the other practices self-defense and escape techniques.
They drove past an outdoor flea market, a police station, an apartment building under renovation. Pedestrians weaved in and out of the slow-moving traffic. For much of her adult life, Bess has carried on through ups and downs with an even-keeled contentment and indulgence in daily comforts: NPR Morning Edition, her travel mug of Good Earth tea, her half-mile walk to work, mid-afternoon squares of dark chocolate, an evening shower, Jon Stewart, her crossword puzzle, and her down comforter. She’s never been one for drama for complaints, knowing very well how lucky she is to have an income, relative safety, and more freedoms than most. But she also happens to be a thirty-something living in a city, with an ache for companionship and kids, and bad luck in the dating realm. Even though she pays little attention to fashion trends, prefers film fests to cocktail parties, and has only one or two close girlfriends, she knows she fits the stereotype. Case in point: Blissful Ex-Boyfriend has glowing New Pregnant Girlfriend while Still-Single Ex-girlfriend, who discovers said Ex-Boyfriend with Pregnant Girlfriend, spirals downward into a Super Crabby Mood.
Obviously Amy Stolls loves capitalizing words a lot. Booooring. This novel is filled with pages and pages of this crap. When you do get to dialogue it’s awful and unnatural.
Gaia looked like she accumulated the world’s grief. “That’s so sad,” she said.
Bess glared at her through a long silence until Cricket finally ended the encounter. “Okay then. Off we go. Enjoy your day, you two.” Bess waved good-bye and got into the car.
Totally unnecessary encounter and dialogue. This novel is also abundant with grammatical errors in sentence structure and missing words. It should be “she had accumulated” not “she accumulated”. After about the thirtieth one of these, I stopped counting. 🙁