Friday, April 3, 2009

Book Review: Mary

Mary by Janis Cooke Newman

A historical fiction novel about Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of Abraham Lincoln. I love historical fiction novels for all the things I learn that in truth I should probably already know. Before I read this book, the only thing I could have told you about Mary Todd Lincoln was that she was married to Abraham Lincoln.

Turns out she had a bit of a shopping addiction. She turned the White House into the majestic residence we have all come to expect. She also lost 3 of her 4 sons. And was committed to an insane asylum thanks to her remaining son.

But what I found most interesting about Mary is how smart she was. And how much passion she had. For politics and for her husband (who,let's face it, is not attractive). If she lived in modern times, she very well could have been president herself. Or at the least a senator or governor.

Also, I enjoyed seeing Abraham Lincoln through her eyes. He was not very prominent in this book because it is a book about Mary. But he's there on the periphery.

I liked this book though I did not love it. I think in part because I struggled with how I felt about Mary. At times I felt sympathetic for her and wanted her to prevail. And other times I wanted to shake some sense into her because no matter what buying new possessions will not keep your family safe from the Confederacy or illness.

Next month - The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss

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