The Emancipator's Wife by Barbara Hambly Buy book: $10.22
Ten years after Abraham Lincoln's death, the president's widow is incarcerated in an insane asylum by her only surviving son. It is from this little-known episode that Hambly spins her intimate, insightful tapestry of this difficult, too-intelligent woman's life.
I love historical fiction, this book looks to be right up my alley. "They" say behind every great man there is a great women. Not sure it "they" were speaking about their mother or more importantly their soul mate. Looking forward to checking this book out at my library. I love books that will make me research different frontiers. Thanks for the good pick this week Susan.
Sounds like this'll be a good read. The first couple of paragraphs really grabbed me and awoke me to the idea that this woman is in quite a predicament of both mind and circumstance. Trouble has been brewing in her life and it seems that more is to follow. I want to read more to find out how she handles all of it.
I too love historical fiction and this has grabbed me already.....the whole time period and Mary's "treatment". I've got to read this all the way through. I never enjoyed history in school but now that I read historical fiction it is my favorite subject!
"Ten years after Abraham Lincoln's death, the president's widow is incarcerated in an insane asylum by her only surviving son. It is from this little-known episode that Hambly spins her intimate, insightful tapestry of this difficult, too-intelligent woman's life."
It is this type of "fictional" book that gets my dander up - in my opinion this (or any other) author is exploiting the fame or notoriety of the subject of the book by taking a known personality and building a "fictional story" around a small kernel of truth - Sorry to you all who are enjoying the book -
As I have said before, I'll take my history "straight", thank you, in the form of a biography - not a fictional take on the facts - I know there are biographies out there of Mary Todd Lincoln - I checked out amazon and also my library - The good thing I will have to say tho', is that this is not purported to be "fact" as did a "memoir" which received so much publicity not so long ago -
My intent is not to offend but to vent my feelings - thanks for allowing me to do so - Doris -
In this case, Doris, I tend to agree with you. There certainly is no shortage of verifiable information about the Lincolns and a good historian could present it all in a readable format. I'm passing on this one, too. As a requirement of my local book club, I just finished reading WHAT REMAINS by Carole Radziwill, the widow of John Kennedy, Jr.'s cousin, Anthony. He died just two weeks after the plane crash that killed JFK, after a long, long battle with cancer. I would not recommend it to any one. The words are strung together nicely, but I felt it had an undertone of "poor me." And it did seem very exploitative. Some events are just better not shared with the world.
But on a positive note, at the beginning of the week Suzanne announced a contest for copies of EARLY BIRD by Rodney Rothman. I didn't get a free copy, but my library had one available. What a funny book! It's one I can recommend, although it would likely appeal more to the older set (of which I am a charter member.) Seems like there's always a good read just waiting out there.
Ann, this is so funny: I had the exact opposite reaction of yours to that book! Perhaps it was a "poor me" book but I wasn't put off by it...more touched by what she experienced. Pain and loss are pain and loss....human reactions we all experience no matter who we are married to or not. I think it'ss great to see differenc to reactions to books. I always think with myself that my reactions are reflecting whatever need I have at that particular moment and not necessarily the book itself. (That probably makes absolutely no sense!!!!!)
The thing I love most about books and reading is there is something for each and everyone of us. I would never mind anyone venting against a type of book or particular book...that's what makes reading clubs interesting in my opinion. It's so fun to have an intense reaction to a book and then meet someone who feels completely opposite about it. I happen to be one of those historical fiction lovers: favorite authors are Diana Galbadon (18th c Scotland/US), Philippa Gregory (1500s etc), and Margaret George who has written HF about Mary Q of Scots, King Henry VIII, Cleopatra, etc. I can certainly understand why some would prefer to read the straight history but I do like the imaginative side (realizing it's made up)...it helps me imagine place/time/styles/morals etc. Then when I watch the History Channel with my husband I'm totally intrigued(!)
This message has been edited by chapteraday on Apr 28, 2006 10:23 AM
I'll try again with this post(also disappeared!). I loved "What Remains", isn't that funny? I thought I wouldn't and I thought I'd despise the author but I thought her writing was exquisite and I was touched by her pain and suffering because it's something all humans go through, no matter how rich or poor, famous or not, beautiful or not. I liked the book because it reminded me of how when it comes to sadness and loss we're all in there together. Now I agree that there is a plethora of 'poor me' stories out there today...kind of a collective kiss and tell...just like the TV talk shows. This is why I frequently turn to historical fiction, lol! But I didn't find Carole's book to be that way at all. Did she make a buck off of the fact she was married to a Kennedy? Yes, but I can't criticise that because I bought the book(!) :0
Doris I totally agree with you. I don't care for historical fiction either. I'd rather have the dry bland version than somebody else's fantasy. That probably sound strange for an avid reader to say. I don't know why I'm this way, just am.
There is historical fiction and there is "historical fiction." I've read several of Barbara Hambly's books, most notably her Benjamin January series, and I will have to say that Ms. Hambly bases her work on solid research. Many times, a work of historical fiction makes me want to read even more about the subject, and that leads me to biographies. So, I don't think it's fair to "dis" historical fiction and consider it all not worth reading. BTW, I've read some pretty bad biographies in my time. Leah
What a complelling story! This is a little
know part of Mary Todd Lincoln's life. Overshadowed by the larger-than-life persona of her husband, she sadly came into her own only after his death and that of several of her children. Can't wait to read the rest.
Yes this is fiction, but if you research Mary you will find that she did indeed have a mental health problem in 1875. I can not even image how mental health was treated back then. How interesting, there is so much you can further research on this topic and write about. If a student needed a good biography Mary Todd Lincoln would be great pick. Think about this poor womens agony after losing three sons, one husband and being accused of spying. I'd be alittle nuts too. There is a book, The Insanity File/the case of Mary Todd Lincoln, by Mark E. Neely, very interesting and very non-fiction. Check it out!
I love this books! I was hooked on the very first sentence and was disappointed when I had read the very last sentence available to me. The author obiously did research on the time period and of what charges could be brought before women in that time period and how such undertakings would be conducted with a woman of Mary's gentile stature in the community. Being a migraine sufferer myself I related to her off-handed thoughts about lights, sounds and heat bothering her and I truly understood her feelilng out of step with the rest of the world.
Kudos to the author for coming up with such a good thesis and then writing it so eloquently. I will be either buying this book or requesting it at the library for I just have to know what trials Mary goes through and how she gets through them. Will she be the same person as before or will there be a new Mary waiting at the end of the experience? I am intrigued.
It caught my attention pretty quickly. I like historic novels. I would venture to say that I will probably read this. I think it is OK to take a historic figure and put the twist of fiction around it to tell a story. You just have to remember that it is fiction and keep your facts straight. This book seems like it will be filled with plots and twists that will keep the reader's attention.