Jennifer Chiaverini comes to the blog with a story meant to enlighten us about Mary Todd Lincoln in
Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters
The Todd sisters have separated and gone their separate ways when Elizabeth, long estranged from Mary, and after Lincoln’s assassination has information that Mary has been placed in an asylum after a suicide attempt. Current knowledge that we have portrays Mrs. Lincoln as troubled and much affected by the death of three sons and her husband, although her moods were often described as mercurial. But Elizabeth feels compelled to ‘do something’ and reaches out to her other sisters: Frances, Ann and Emilie. Choices made as young women not in control of their own destinies meant that their bonds have been stretched, even to breaking.
Told in voices from each of the sisters, and jumping from childhood to the time of the story, we are given the roadmap to the sisters’ relationships, and perhaps even see how we arrived at this point, where each is getting a different story, or piece of it, and everyone is interested in doing the best for Mary at this time. Quite an interesting perspective on life in the 19th century, medicine, treatment of women and even the fracturing of families when husband’s choices overruled and overrode any independent urges from their wives.
What emerges is a picture of the times, the struggles and the tenuous grasp on independence that women had at the time, and the power of shared experiences and history to help one move on to a life, if not independent and happy, at least holding the promise of hope. While much of Lincoln’s stories tend to focus on the men, with women as simple “decorations’ and not whole partners, this perspective allows a different view into that history.
Title: Mrs. Lincoln's Sisters
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Genre: Family Saga, Grief, Historic Elements, Historic Woman's Fiction, Mental Health, Mystery Elements, Reconstruction Era
Published by: William Morrow
Published on: 2 June 2020
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 12 Hours: 24 minutes
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“A fascinating glimpse into the women of an influential family on the front lines of some of the most important moments of that indelible time." – Booklist
The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker returns to her most famous heroine, Mary Todd Lincoln, in this compelling story of love, loss, and sisterhood rich with history and suspense.
In May 1875, Elizabeth Todd Edwards reels from news that her younger sister Mary, former First Lady and widow of President Abraham Lincoln, has attempted suicide.
Mary’s shocking act followed legal proceedings arranged by her eldest and only surviving son that declared her legally insane. Although they have long been estranged, Elizabeth knows Mary’s tenuous mental health has deteriorated through decades of trauma and loss. Yet is her suicide attempt truly the impulse of a deranged mind, or the desperate act of a sane woman terrified to be committed to an asylum? And—if her sisters can put past grievances aside—is their love powerful enough to save her?
Maternal Elizabeth, peacemaker Frances, envious Ann, and much adored Emilie had always turned to one another in times of joy and heartache, first as children, and later as young wives and mothers. But when Civil War erupted, the conflict that divided a nation shattered their family. The Todd sisters’s fates were bound to their husbands’ choices as some joined the Lincoln administration, others the Confederate Army.
Now, though discord and tragedy have strained their bonds, Elizabeth knows they must come together as sisters to help Mary in her most desperate hour.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.