#CBR6 Review #97: Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund

After reading Moby-Dick, I decided that after letting Ahab’s Wife languish for years and years on my reading list, that it was finally time to read it. I’m honestly glad that I did. It’s an interesting book, with only a few silly moments.

Una’s story begins when she is laboring with her first child, at her mother’s home in Kentucky. She then moves backwards in time, describing her tumultuous childhood, her adolescence at her aunt and uncle’s lighthouse, and her impetuous voyage as a cabin boy at sea. It is in this fateful voyage that she ultimately meets Captain Ahab. The story actually has little to do with Ahab himself and more to do with the choices a woman can make in a limited society in the mid-1800s.

The book is interesting and engaging. But I feel it is only fair to warn you that there are some definite LOL moments that pulled me out of the story and made me roll my eyes a little. Una meets a ministerial-looking man wearing a black veil (wink wink) that does nothing for the story except make the reader groan at the meta reference. And then she strikes up an acquaintance with Margaret Fuller. Um, okay. These references are sort of goofy and ruin the otherwise intriguing plotting and setup of an engaging and original story. That brought my rating from four to three stars.

Overall, this is an engaging and original read that only suffers a few writing missteps. You should definitely give it a shot, especially if you like nineteenth-century American fiction or writers.


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