Sunday, September 22, 2013

Book Review: Mrs. Poe

Title Mrs. Poe

Author Lynn Cullen

Release Date October 1, 2013

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.

When I saw this on Netgalley, my interest was immediately piqued. I've had a fascination with Edgar Allan Poe since I read "The Tell-Tale Heart" in middle school. Even though I've shied away from historical fiction in the past, I knew I had to get my hands on this book.

While I've read some of his works and a biography on him, I won't pretend I'm an expert on Edgar Allan Poe. And other than hearing her name before, I have very little knowledge at all of Frances Osgood. Luckily, whether or not you have any knowledge of the two main characters makes little to no difference at all when reading this book.

Lynn Cullen fills in the gaps about what we know of Osgood and Poe and their relationship. She creates, what I feel is, a believable story about Osgood and Poe's love affair. She weaves in some darkness with Mrs. Poe (with both her sickness and her obvious knowledge of her husband's affair). In all, we're presented with a rather unique story.

It was clear to me that Cullen had certainly done her research before she wrote this book. It certainly made me wonder about what actually happened between Osgood and Poe.


5 out of 5 stars

*This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

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