Although my true love is literature for young people, every now and then I manage a novel intended for adults. The latest one I read was The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls.
As folklorist Bess Gray approaches her 35th birthday she is giving up all hope of ever finding love. A chance encounter with her ex (and his very pregnant new partner) leaves her feeling even more down and not very excited about the singles party she has been urged to throw. As luck would have it, one of her girlfriends brings along Rory, a charming expatriate Irish fiddler. Before she really realizes what is happening, Bess finds herself falling in love with Rory and beginning to believe that maybe fairy tales can come true.
As luck would have it, though, Rory has a secret, one he fails to reveal until he asks Bess to marry him - he has been married before. EIGHT TIMES, as a matter of fact. In a matter of moments Bess begins to question everything she thought she knew about this man she knows she loves.
Needing some time, Bess makes a cross-country road trip to bring her bickering grandparents to their new home. Also along for the ride are her gay neighbor, his shar-pei, and a store mannequin named Peace. Along the way, Bess decides to track down as many of Rory's former wives as she can, to get the scoop on what happened and to try to untangle her own emotions. In her quest for clarity, Bess learns more about herself - and her own past - than she bargained for.
The Ninth Wife rises above "typical" chick lit with well-drawn characters who never sink into caricature. Thoroughly enjoyable.