Wednesday, June 18, 2014

G356 Book Review of Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Name of Book: Mrs. Poe

Author: Lynn Cullen

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0292-6

Publisher: Gallery Books

Type of book: America, New York, 1845-1847, famous people, writing, Edgar Allan Poe, marriages, infidelities, friendship, romance, relationships, passion, forbidden fruit, life in 1840s

Year it was published: 2014

Summary:

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.

Characters:

The main characters include Mrs. Poe, Edgar Allan Poe, Mrs. Clemm and Frances Osgood. Mrs. Poe is in her early twenties and is best described as both childish yet mature. She seems to lack certain social graces. She has married Edgar Allan Poe at the age of thirteen and is suffering from consumption. Edgar Allan Poe is her first cousin and is about thirteen years older than she. He is very scathing towards other writers, very brilliant and talented and has very high standards. He is also in denial about what is going on with Virginia and is very passionate towards writing and love. Mrs. Clemm is Virginia's mother and she seems to be supportive more of her daughter rather than her son-in-law/nephew. Frances Osgood is married to Samuel Osgood and is also a children's author as well as a poetess, although she writes more sentimental poetry rather than macabre. She has two daughters and her husband constantly cheats on her. She wants to make something of herself and tries her best to resist Edgar Allan Poe.

Theme:

Truth is stranger than fiction

Plot:

The book is written in first person narrative from Fanny's point of view, and is also chronological. While I enjoyed the time period, learning about Edgar Allan Poe's less well known stories, (makes me want to read those tales,) people that populated the 1840s New York and so forth, I often felt that the chemistry was a bit under-developed between Frances and Edgar. Also the plot twists were pretty surprising and its pretty important to pay attention to the stories that are mentioned Mrs. Poe.

Author Information:
(From Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)

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,TwitterGoodreads, and Pinterest.
Opinion:

Besides a few story pieces and heartbreaking poetry as well as a glimpse of Edgar Allan Poe's life, I don't know too much about him or his personal life. To be fair, Edgar Allan Poe and his affair with Frances Osgood is a possibility affair rather than something concrete. I enjoyed the read and learning information about Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Poe and Frances Osgood, but I didn't really seem to sense chemistry between the characters, and somehow if the book was written from Frances's and Mr. Poe's points of view, rather than only Frances' point of view, I would have enjoyed the book a whole lot more. Something else that was enjoyable was seeing the famous names in the book and even watching how New York began to change during the late 1840s, and also learning about Edgar Allan Poe's less known stories.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

Buy the Book

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, May 19
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, May 20
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, May 21
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, May 23
Review at A Bookish Affair
Monday, May 26
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, May 27
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, May 28
Review at Turning the Pages
Monday, June 2
Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise
Tuesday, June 3
Review at Kelsey’s Book Corner
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, June 4
Review & Giveaway at Reading Lark
Thursday, June 5
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Friday, June 6
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, June 9
Review at Historical Tapestry
Tuesday, June 10
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Wednesday, June 11
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, June 12
Interview & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, June 13
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Monday, June 16
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Tuesday, June 17
Review & Interview at Layered Pages
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, June 18
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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