I spent the last few days listening to The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. It has an interesting framework, going back and forth between the fictionalized autobiography of Ann Eliza Young, one of the plural wives of the late Mormon prophet Brigham Young and author of the 1876 memoir Wife No. 19, and a murder mystery in a modern polygamist community, where the 19th wife of a polygamous man has been jailed for his murder.
Jordan, gay son of the accused wife no. 19, was thrown out of the community as a young adolescent for holding hands with his step-sister. (Boys in dysfunctional polygamist communities frequently get kicked out for petty reasons in order to keep the ratio of adult men to adult women low, enabling any remaining adult men to have more wives. You can learn more about this downside of dysfunctional Mormon fundamentalist polygamy in the ‘Lost Boys’ episodes of Mormon Stories.) His mother woke him up in the middle of the night, drove with him out of the community, and dropped him alongside a highway. He survives on hustling and carpentry and remains estranged from her for years, until she’s accused of his father’s murder. While trying to get his mother exonerated, he accidentally rescues another Lost Boy and falls in love with a young man who was raised in the mainstream LDS church. I didn’t come to this book expecting a gay romance, but once I knew it was there, I desperately wished it was longer.