Great Reads of 2013 –NPR
Books That Make Time Stand Still –Oprah.com
Editor’s Pick—The Historical Novels Review
Best Books of 2013—Atlanta Magazine
Indie Next List Pick
Paperback Publication Date: April 1, 2014
A vivid and compelling novel about a woman who becomes entangled in an affair with Edgar Allan Poe—at the same time she becomes the unwilling confidante of his much-younger wife.
It is 1845, and Frances Osgood is desperately trying to make a living as a writer in New York; not an easy task for a woman—especially one with two children and a philandering portrait painter as her husband. As Frances tries to sell her work, she finds that editors are only interested in writing similar to that of the new renegade literary sensation Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, “The Raven” has struck a public nerve.
She meets the handsome and mysterious Poe at a literary party, and the two have an immediate connection. Poe wants Frances to meet with his wife since she claims to be an admirer of her poems, and Frances is curious to see the woman whom Edgar married.
As Frances spends more and more time with the intriguing couple, her intense attraction for Edgar brings her into dangerous territory. And Mrs. Poe, who acts like an innocent child, is actually more manipulative and threatening than she appears. As Frances and Edgar’s passionate affair escalates, Frances must decide whether she can walk away before it’s too late…
Set amidst the fascinating world of New York’s literati, this smart and sexy novel offers a unique view into the life of one of history’s most unforgettable literary figures.
"Is there a creature more unstable than a woman made mad by desire?"
In this eerie story the lives of Edgar Poe, Virginia Poe and Frances Osgood. It is a fact that Edgar Allen Poe married his cousin Virginia when she was 13 years old. It is also fact that Frances Osgood, famous for Puss in Boots, exchanged poetry with Poe. With these facts Lynn Cullen has created a scandalous story of the interactions between the two ill-fated lovers and Poe's sickly wife.
As Frances and Edgar begin their relationship, we are drawn into the dazzling world of New York in the 1840's. Lynn Cullen has recreated the sights and sounds of the elite New York society. Through Frances' eyes the Astor mansion was recreated as well as the atmosphere of an Anne Charlotte Lynch's conversazione. I enjoyed the view of New York through Frances' perspective, as she saw things for what they were. Poe has been created as a highly romantic character, although still a little strange. It was interesting to see Poe and Frances' relationship progress through their poems to one another.
And oh, Mrs. Poe and her mother Mrs. Clemm, the most interesting characters. What would a story with Poe be without a little madness? The psychological aspects of this mystery build as the reader finds out more about Mrs. Poe, her capabilities and her state of mind. Interestingly enough, Virginia Poe builds a friendship with Frances Osgood. Though it is a slow build, the reader is able to conclude that this friendship may not have the best intentions through foreshadowing and great character building, a little Gothic mystery is put in place.
Historical fiction at it's best with a twist of forbidden romance and it's consequences.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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Lynn Cullen grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the fifth girl in a family of seven children. She learned to love history combined with traveling while visiting historic sites across the U.S. on annual family camping trips. She attended Indiana University in Bloomington and Fort Wayne, and took writing classes with Tom McHaney at Georgia State. She wrote children’s books as her three daughters were growing up, while working in a pediatric office and later, at Emory University on the editorial staff of a psychoanalytic journal. While her camping expeditions across the States have become fact-finding missions across Europe, she still loves digging into the past. She does not miss, however, sleeping in musty sleeping bags. Or eating canned fruit cocktail. She now lives in Atlanta with her husband, their dog, and two unscrupulous cats.
Lynn Cullen is the author of The Creation of Eve, named among the best fiction books of 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as an April 2010 Indie Next selection. She is also the author of numerous award-winning books for children, including the young adult novel I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, which was a 2007 Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and an ALA Best Book of 2008. Her novel, Reign of Madness, about Juana the Mad, daughter of the Spanish Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand, was chosen as a 2011 Best of the South selection by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and was a 2012 Townsend Prize finalist. Her newest novel, MRS. POE, examines the fall of Edgar Allan Poe through the eyes of poet Francis Osgood.
For more information please visit Lynn Cullen’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
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