When I decided to move to Southie from the pricier North End, the biggest draw for me was all the extra space I’d be able to afford. I LOVE entertaining, and the idea of being able to fit tons of party guests into my apartment made me giddy. My first thought after signing the lease in September was boozy book club. Hosting a monthly book club makes me feel mature, and hosting a boozy book club reminds me that I’m not. It’s perfect!
For the first book club gathering, which was last Thursday, we read The 19th Wife: A Novel by David Ebershoff. No one finished the book in time. Everyone finished their wine. It was just as I imagined it would be.
Although no one had finished the book (I came the closest, though!), we still managed to have a lively discussion about polygamy (The 19th Wife is a novel about the history of the Mormon religion and the sects today that still practice plural marriage), and one of my friends even came prepared with an excerpt she’d highlighted.
In preparing the menu, I originally wanted to incorporate some traditional Mormon recipes, but after doing some research and finding they’re best known for Jell-O molds and casseroles (what the…?), I decided to go in a different direction. Beehives are often used to symbolize the polygamist household, and one of the prominent buildings in Utah under Brigham Young was even called the Beehive House. Bingo! I decided to incorporate honey into my Boozy Book Club menu with raspberry goat cheese crackers with a honey drizzle (recipe will be on the blog later this week!). I also served cheese with crackers and apple slices, and some pita chips with my sweet potato hummus recipe. These have nothing to do with The 19th Wife. Oh well.
I’m happy to report that I now have finished reading the book, and I would highly recommend it. The concurrent storylines, one fiction and one historic, were fascinating to me because polygamy is such a crazy concept for me to wrap my mind around. I honestly don’t think my faith in anything could outweigh the devastation I would feel if a man I loved and married took other wives. I’d either completely give in to depression or start plotting my husband’s demise. Most likely the latter because that’s the type of wonderful human being I am. This struggle between faith and emotion is played out in both the founding days of the Mormons and in present day throughout the book. And did I mention there’s a murder mystery thrown in there?