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Posted January 15, 2014
An interesting story surrounding the relationship between Poe, h
An interesting story surrounding the relationship between Poe, his wife, and poet Frances Osgood.
Contrary to what the title might indicate, this book is not a fictional account of the life of Edgar Allen Poe's wife. Instead author Lynn Cullen presents us with a story narrated by American Poet Francis Osgood regarding the complex relationship between herself, Poe, his wife, Virginia. Although most of Cullen's book is pure fiction, she begins with a few kernels of truth. Francis Osgood did meet her husband Charles in the manner included in the book. He did leave her to fend for herself in NY with their children. Francis Osgood did have a relationship of sorts with Poe, they did spend time together and correspond with each other. Poe's wife, Virginia, was sickly and did help foster the relationship between her husband and Osgood. In fact, biographers say that Virginia Poe actually helped to foster the relationship as she felt that Osgood was a good influence on the unstable Poe. Most everything else in Cullen's story is pure fiction, which she uses to tell a great story about one of the most interesting figures in American writing.
I really enjoyed the way that Cullen took a historical relationship that was not ordinary to begin with, and made it into a complex interaction between three people who lived unconventional lives. Through the character of Francis Osgood we get a glimpse of how life was for women writers in the the mid 19th century. A time when women were still trying to be taken seriously in the field of prose. Cullen's Poe is a man at war with himself and his various demons. Given Poe's reputation and his writing, this Poe is entirely believable. Even the sickly Virginia Poe gets to be more than just a "behind the scenes" character. I also enjoyed the cameo appearances by other historical figures such as John Astor, Louisa May Allcott, and Walt Whitman and the little historical tidbits that she included such as the origin of the graham cracker.
When all was said and done, though, the thing that I liked the most about this book was the way that Lynn Cullen used Edgar Allen Poe and his life to craft a very Poe-like story. As the story progresses I began to suspect that something else was going on besides just the historical recounting of the possible relationship between these three people. Just like a Poe story this book takes a bit of a dark turn, which kept me engaged and came to a satisfying conclusion.
Yes, I was drawn to this book by the title and the idea that it would focus on the life of Poe and his wife, I found, though, that I really enjoyed the story as presented, as well as appreciating the amount of research Cullen did in order to be able to insert the historical kernels that were in the story. So if you are looking for an interesting take on the story of Poe, Virginia, and Osgood, one with a bit of a fanciful twist, this is the book for you. If you are looking for a serious biography about Poe or his wife, I would skip it.
Thanks to Gallery Books and Netgalley for making this book available to me in exchange for a review.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 8, 2013
I enjoyed the Author's Notes in the back. Cullen doesn't take he
I enjoyed the Author's Notes in the back. Cullen doesn't take herself too seriously and says it like it is.
This is a work of fiction born from her imagination with the added help of facts and gossip.
What if Poe and Osgood really were smitten by lust and forced to endure their own marital woes because the society would never have allowed them to be together? Is it really that unfathomable when you take their published love poems to each other into consideration. Then again perhaps that was just a ploy to sell papers. Any kind of gossip can become face or a myth if repeated often enough. In the end the actual truth is forgotten.
Poe does suffer with the most wretched of reputations. Griswold did commit himself to assassinating Poe's character on a large scale and the fact that Poe's mother-in-law left his estate to his purported enemy suggests that she wanted Poe to suffer even in death.
When it comes to his character I would consider his work but one shouldn't let it form to strong an opinion about the man. How dark and twisted his mind seemed to be. His obsession with death, pain and torture. Then again he did spend many years watching his wife die slowly and painfully. He was obviously a man tormented by many demons and those demons came alive in his work.
What I liked most about this fictitious account was the wife and her character. Throughout the book the reader is never quite sure whether Virginia is a psychopath or if she shares a sadistic or masochistic relationship with Poe. Perhaps it was a combination of two dark minds that helped create the morbid horror filled stories.
It is infuriating to read how women were treated in that era. Effectively they were nothing more than part of their husbands property. No rights and no permission to claim anything for themselves. Thwarted and ignored by society if they do dare and stand up for themselves.
Overall it was a fun read even if the dialogues were often quite awkward and over-dramatic.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 10, 2014
Posted February 22, 2014
Fans of historical fiction who like to know that what they're re
Fans of historical fiction who like to know that what they're reading is historically accurate for the most part will find a fast paced story with compelling characters in "Mrs. Poe."Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The pre Civil War setting in NYC weaves in many of the big names and political movements of the day, which is also appealing to those of us who find this era so fascinating.
A central plot line may be entirely fictional, but it makes for good reading. A little research after completing the book confirmed that Poe's character was tarnished by a slanted biography coming out shortly after his death; this book gives him his due while being an entertaining, informative read. A few passages had me concerned that it was going in the direction of a bodice-ripper, but fortunately these were few enough and sufficiently restrained to keep the material elevated to acceptable levels. Call it "chick-lit for intellectuals."
Posted February 21, 2014
Posted January 30, 2014
The book has a good pace, creates an immersive setting, and cer
The book has a good pace, creates an immersive setting, and certainly the main character is interesting. The book is told in first person, which helps to keep too many points of view from mudding the waters of the story. The only problems I had with the book were spotty instants where the author breaks from the more period speech and throws in some modern slang or in the event where the melodrama is a little much to bear. There is a lot of melodrama in the latter third of this book. At some points the reader is just swimming in it. Considering the fact that many times throughout the book the point of view character makes note of the ridiculous situation or says that they acted in a childish manner. I found it incredibly strange that she never makes comment as to how silly she and Mr. Poe are being. The fact that they act like teenagers isn’t what I would say is wrong with the piece. It’s that they act like teenagers in a 1950s soap opera. The rest of the book was handled so well and with what seems such attention to detail that these parts, while few in number, really break the reader from the immersion, that the author had created. Otherwise, while Mrs. Poe isn’t the type of story I usually read, I certainly appreciated it for being an excellent period piece with some descent meat on it’s bone. I would suggest it to anyone who likes a good thriller or a good piece of historical fiction.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 17, 2013
Really enjoyed this book. Felt occasionally like "name dro
Really enjoyed this book. Felt occasionally like "name dropping" but gather that the group that got together in theWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
book, actually did get together! Have recommended the book for book club and we plan to listen to a You Tube reading of "The Raven". Should be fun!
Posted December 10, 2013
A very well written tale of Edgar Allan Poe and the social circl
A very well written tale of Edgar Allan Poe and the social circle he was involved in. From witty to romantic, it's a new way to look at the man most famous for his spooky tales. Many high literary figures are mentioned, some in passing, some in detail, and the story is written well enough to indulge you in a complete view of the world of Poe. Great historical fiction. A worthy romance of intellectual reason.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 3, 2013
Posted October 14, 2013
Sensual yet chilling at the same time. This book is a page turner right from the start. The details of the time period are quite vivid and the development of the characters is excellent!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2014
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Posted February 24, 2014
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