- Publication Date: February 1, 2016
- Persevero Press; Thorndike (Large Print)
- Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Large Print
- Genre: Historical Fiction/Biographical Fiction
When AP political reporter Lorena Hickok—Hick—is assigned to cover Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the wife of the 1932 Democratic presidential candidate, the two women become deeply, intimately involved. Their relationship begins with mutual romantic passion, matures through stormy periods of enforced separation and competing interests, and warms into an enduring, encompassing friendship that ends only with both women’s deaths in the 1960s—all of it documented by 3300 letters exchanged over thirty years.
Now, New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert recreates the fascinating story of Hick and Eleanor, set during the chaotic years of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Second World War. Loving Eleanor is Hick’s personal story, revealing Eleanor as a complex, contradictory, and entirely human woman who is pulled in many directions by her obligations to her husband and family and her role as the nation’s First Lady, as well as by a compelling need to care and be cared for. For her part, Hick is revealed as an accomplished journalist, who, at the pinnacle of her career, gives it all up for the woman she loves. Then, as Eleanor is transformed into Eleanor Everywhere, First Lady of the World, Hick must create her own independent, productive life.
Drawing on extensive research in the letters that were sealed for a decade following Hick’s death, Albert creates a compelling narrative: a dramatic love story, vividly portraying two strikingly unconventional women, neither of whom is satisfied to live according to the script society has written for her. Loving Eleanor is a profoundly moving novel that illuminates a relationship we are seldom privileged to see and celebrates the depth and durability of women’s love.
Buy, read, and discuss Loving Eleanor
Susan Wittig Albert is the award-winning, NYT bestselling author of the forthcoming historical novel Loving Eleanor (2016), about the intimate friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok; and A Wilder Rose (2014), about Rose Wilder Lane and the writing of the Little House books.
Her award-winning fiction also includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Darling Dahlias, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.
Her nonfiction titles include What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); Writing from Life: Telling the Soul’s Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman’s Guide to Success Off the Career Track.
She is founder and current president (2015-2017) of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.
For more information please visit www.susanalbert.com and www.LovingEleanor.com, or read her blog. You can also find Susan on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Like the Loving Eleanor page on Facebook.
I read this book months ago, when I first received the e-galley, and stupidly didn’t write my review right then, so forgive me if this isn’t detailed.
Put simply, this is a wonderful book. It’s challenging to write plausible fiction about real people, but Susan Wittig Albert has done so before, and in this novel, Loving Eleanor, she’s really gone beyond the even her usual skill. I felt like I was experiencing everything along with Hick. Then again, Albert used the real Hick’s actual letters, which were kept private until her death, out of respect for all of the people mentioned within. Knowing that, can this really be called fiction? Doesn’t it ride the edge of being creative non-fiction? Don’t all true stories include some extrapolation?
Whether or not you accept this novel, and the relationship depicted between Hick and Eleanor as factual, it cannot be denied that this book is truthful. It speaks to period in which both women came of age, and came into their power as adults. It speaks to the political and cultural climate of the bulk of their lifetimes, and it speaks to the longing that we all have, not just for a life partner, but for that bosom friendship so few contemporary women seem to have.
Wittig’s tackled a difficult subject with a delicate hand, giving us a glimpse of the Eleanor Roosevelt we all know and love through the eyes of someone who knew her, and loved her, better and differently, than we who can only view her through the long lens of history could ever do. And yet, this isn’t a dry biography. There is humor. There is warmth. There is also grief and loss.
While much of the novel is Hicks’s view of Eleanor, the reality is that this is Hicks’s own story. We see her build her successful journalism career. We see her have to choose between that career and the woman she loves, and when the object of her affection becomes a global icon, she has to choose again how to be – how close, how far, how truthful.
Again, I come back to: this is a wonderful book. Rich in detail, a perfect blend of fiction and history. Truthful, on the deepest emotional levels.
Goes well with strong coffee and mint Milano cookies.
Three copies of Loving Eleanor by Sisan Wittig Albert are up for grabs! To enter, please use the GLEAM form below.
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