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Mount Vernon Love Story [NOOK Book]

Overview

Charming, insightful and immensely entertaining in its unique presentation of one of America's legendary figures, Mount Vernon Love Story, by famed suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark, shows the reader the man behind the legend, a man of flesh, blood and passion, and in the author's skilled hands, the story and the man come fully and dramatically alive.

Mary Higgins Clark's interest in George Washington was ...
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Mount Vernon Love Story

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Overview

Charming, insightful and immensely entertaining in its unique presentation of one of America's legendary figures, Mount Vernon Love Story, by famed suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark, shows the reader the man behind the legend, a man of flesh, blood and passion, and in the author's skilled hands, the story and the man come fully and dramatically alive.

Mary Higgins Clark's interest in George Washington was first sparked by a radio series she was writing in the 1960s, called "Portrait of a Patriot," vignettes of American presidents.
Always a lover of history, she wrote this biographical novel -- her first book -- and titled it Aspire to the Heavens, which was the family motto of George Washington's mother. With all events, dates, scenes and characters based on historical research, the book was published in 1969.
Its recent discovery by a Washington family descendent led to its reissue under its new title, Mount Vernon Love Story.
In researching George Washington's life, Mary Higgins Clark was surprised to find the engaging man behind the pious legend. He was a giant of a man in every way, starting with his physical height. In an era when men averaged five foot seven inches, he towered over everyone at six foot three. He was the best dancer in the colony of Virginia. He was also a master horseman, which was why the Indians gave him their highest compliment: "He rides his horse like an Indian."
She dispels the widespread belief that although George Washington married an older woman, a widow, his true love was Sally Carey Fairfax, his best friend's wife. Martha Dandridge Custis was older, but only by three months -- she was twenty-seven to his twenty-six when they met. Mary Higgins Clark describes their relationship from their first meeting, their closeness and his tenderness toward her two children. Martha shared his life in every way, crossing the British lines to join him in Boston and enduring with him the bitter hardship of the winter in Valley Forge. As Lady Bird Johnson was never called Claudia, Martha Washington was never known as Martha. Her family and friends called her Patsy. George always called her "my dearest Patsy" and wore a locket with her picture around his neck.
In Mount Vernon Love Story, Mary Higgins Clark tells the story of a rare marriage and brings to life the human side of the man who became the "father of our country."

Originally published as Aspire to the Heavens: A Portrait of George Washington

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In 1968, an unknown writer named Mary Higgins Clark published her first book, a historical novel called Aspire to the Heavens: A Portrait of George Washington. Although Higgins and readers were fond of the fiction, it went out of print, quickly becoming eclipsed by her more famous mystery novels. Widely sought by collectors (first editions fetch $200-$500), the romantic novel gained an almost mythic status among Mary Higgins Clark aficionados. Now retitled and returned to print, this touching love story will win the hearts of a new generation of readers.
Publishers Weekly
Originally published in 1969 under the title Aspire to the Heavens, this slim, muted historical romance is the long-out-of-print debut by America's reigning queen of suspense. As the quasi-biographical novel opens, George Washington is preparing to attend the inauguration of his successor, John Adams; Clark, employing inelegant but efficient transitional techniques (Adams's "rather flat nasal voice seemed to become more clipped and sharp-toned.... It became his mother's voice"), quickly moves the narrative back to George's boyhood. The temporal seesaw continues as she juxtaposes George's trials (his mean mother, his unrequited love for a friend's wife) and triumphs (his land acquisitions, his bravery in battle) with his reflections on the state of the union in the novel's 1797 present. But her focus remains on the domestic (a French and Indian ambush at the Monongahela River in 1755 is rendered with far less care and credibility than scenes of George's skill on the dance floor) and the emotional (George's "mantle of leadership" concerns him much less than the naughtiness of his stepson). What passes for a driving narrative force is George's slow transfer of affection from the beautiful, charismatic Sally Carey to the small, "pretty widow" Martha (known as Patsy) Custis he married, and then the growing bond between "my old man" and "my dearest Patsy." Though it can be argued that Clark's tale is neither sufficiently historical nor romantic and it's definitely "not a suspense story," as Clark allows in a brief prefatory note this is a light read that completists will devour, and that Clark's other fans may appreciate simply because it's a different bill of fare. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Clark launched her career in 1968 with this historical romance, published as Aspire to the Heavens. The plot follows George Washington as he exits the White House after his presidency. Clark is more interested in Washington the husband than the nation's leader, and this focuses on his sometimes bumpy marriage to Martha. Higgins has the Midas touch, so even though this isn't a thriller, fans will want to read it. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743206303
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 6/18/2002
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: File Size: 217KB
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 64,977
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Mary Higgins Clark, #1 international and New York Times bestselling author, has written thirty-three suspense novels; three collections of short stories; a historical novel, Mount Vernon Love Story; two children’s books, including The Magical Christmas Horse; and a memoir, Kitchen Privileges. She is also the coauthor with Carol Higgins Clark of five holiday suspense novels. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone.

Biography

The Queen of Suspense, Bronx-born and -bred Mary Higgins Clark has achieved international success against heavy odds. Her father died when she was 11, and her mother struggled to raise and provide for Mary and her two brothers. Clark attended secretarial school after high school and worked for three years in an advertising agency before leaving to become a stewardess for Pan American Airlines. Throughout 1949, she flew international flights to Europe, Africa, and Asia. " I was in a revolution in Syria and on the last flight into Czechoslovakia before the Iron Curtain went down," she recalls. In 1950, she quit her job to marry Warren Clark, a neighbor nine years her senior whom she had known and admired since she was 16.

In the early years of her marriage, Clark began writing short stories, making her first sale in 1956 to Extension Magazine. Between writing and raising a family, the decade flew by. Then, in 1964, Warren Clark suffered a fatal heart attack, leaving his young widow with five children to support. She went to work writing radio scripts; and, around this time, she decided to try her hand at writing books. Inspired by a radio series she was working on, she drafted a biographical novel about George Washington. It was published in 1969 under the title Aspire to the Heavens. (In 2002, it was re-issued as Mount Vernon Love Story.) Her first suspense novel, Where Are the Children?, appeared in print in 1975. It was a huge hit and marked a turning point in her life. Since then, she has developed a loyal fan base, and each of her novels has hit the bestseller lists. She has also co-written stories and novels with her daughter Carol, a successful author in her own right.

In the 1970s, Clark enrolled in Fordham University at Lincoln Center, graduating summa cum laude in 1979. A great supporter of education, she has served as a trustee of her alma mater and Providence College and holds numerous honorary degrees. She remains active in Catholic affairs and has been honored with many awards. Her publisher, Simon & Schuster, funds an annual award in her name to be given to authors of suspense fiction writing in the Mary Higgins Clark tradition.

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    1. Hometown:
      Saddle River, New Jersey and New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 24, 1929
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      New York University; B.A., Fordham University, 1979
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

from Mount Vernon Love Story

March 4, 1797

11:55 A.M.

Philadelphia

The firing of the cannons brought him sharply back to the present. Of course, the cannons were being fired to signify the momentous event that was about to take place. For a moment he thought of the cannons that had purchased this moment -- the ones that had shattered the silence of '74 and '75.

There was a great crowd outside the building of the Congress. It parted quickly to let him pass. He began to climb the steps. And then the applause began. It started tentatively, one single pair of hands clapping, then like a flash it swept through the assemblage.

The sound preceded him so that when he came in sight of the lower chamber of the House, the members were already on their feet. A burst of applause greeted his entrance. It rose in volume and pushed against the ceiling and walls of the great room. It mingled with the ovation which the people outside continued to offer.

He quickened his pace, anxious to reach his seat so that the tribute might end. "Not for me," he thought. Not today. But when he reached his place and stood there the tremendous sound didn't abate; it reached a crescendo then softened and died reluctantly.

Jefferson was the next to arrive. The President watched as the tall aristocratic figure made his way through the room. He was wearing a long blue frock coat and his even patrician features betrayed none of the turmoil that might well be expected of the Vice-president-elect.

They had often opposed each other in their views, so much so that Jefferson had resigned from the cabinet. But George eyed his old friend affectionately. He would not admit, even to himself, that much as he and Jefferson had differed in many ways, he could warm to the man far better than he could to John Adams.

He thought of the day in '76 when the messenger had come to his New York headquarters, bearing a copy of the Declaration of Independence. He'd opened it slowly. For months he'd been begging for a statement like this and fearing it would never come. Even after a year of conflict some members of Congress still talked about an eventual reunion with England. He'd tried to point out that armies must fight for a cause; they must have a goal. Independence was a mighty word. It made it possible for a man to put up with starvation and misery. It drove out fear. And still many of the lawmakers vacillated about making a final break with the mother country.

Finally he'd been promised that a formal document would be issued. In the hopelessness of that first New York campaign he waited for it and wondered just how weak and carefully hedged it would be. The news that Tom Jefferson was charged with the responsibility of writing it made him cautiously optimistic. Jefferson was young but he wrote with the bold pen of a dedicated man. Then when he read the Declaration and absorbed the full richness and power of it, the majesty and breathtaking vision of it, he exultantly ordered that it be proclaimed to all the troops. That evening he stood at the door of headquarters and watched the expressions on the men's faces as a booming voice cried: "When in the course of human events..."

A stirring in the chamber announced the fact that the President-elect had arrived. George knew that Adams had ordered a new coach-and-four for this day. He'd refused to let even Patsy make him comment on the fact, but had been content to remind her that they had had a new carriage at the beginning of the first term in New York.

Patsy had sniffed that there was something about Adams that made you fairly feel as though he should be riding in front with the groom. Again George declined to answer. In the secret recess of his soul he quite agreed. John was a powerful patriot with a brilliant mind, but there was something about the man's attitude toward himself, at once obsequious and resentful, that was curiously irritating.

Adams was wearing a handsome pearl-colored broadcloth suit. His sword gleamed at his waist. But his expression was as dour as ever. A pity Mrs. Adams could not be here, George thought. Only she seems to have the talent for putting John at ease.

Eight years before, Adams had been embarrassed when greeting George, who was to take the oath of the Presidency. Now once again he seemed embarrassed. His nod was nearer to a bow. He seemed too hasty to begin his Inaugural Address.

George settled back slightly in his chair. It was understandable, the man was nervous. He thought of his own first Inauguration. He remembered the crimson velvet cushion that had held the large leather-covered Bible...the cheers of the crowd...his own opening words: "No event could have filled me with greater anxiety than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order..." He'd wanted them to know that he entered the office aware that he might fail them. Had he failed them? He hoped not.

Years ago he'd sworn that he would do well.

Years ago.

Just suppose it had all worked out that he had been able to go to sea. How different his life might have been. Nearly fifty years ago he'd wanted a nautical career so desperately but his mother refused him her permission. He sighed deeply. Even now, like a learned response, the pulsing anger of that moment came back -- the fury, the frustration, the sense of dead end. He leaned forward a bit but he wasn't hearing John Adams' address. The rather flat nasal voice seemed to become more clipped and sharp-toned...It became his mother's voice.

Copyright © 1968, 2002 by Mary Higgins Clark
Copyright renewed © 1996 by Mary Higgins Clark

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 44 )
Rating Distribution

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(18)

4 Star

(13)

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(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2010

    Interesting story on the First First Family

    On the heels of a summer trip to Valley Forge and Philadelphia, I was glad to stumble upon this book! This is a story, based in facts, about George Washington's early life, continuing through his presidency. I learned so much, while reading a pseudo-romance story!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Mount Vernon Love Story

    Mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark details the love story and marriage of George and Martha Washington in Mount Vernon Love Story, the first novel written by the author. I really enjoyed the novelization of the Washington marriage through its ups and downs. Beginning in 1797 the Washington's are preparing to leave Philadelphia and the presidency for retirement at the couple's beloved Mount Vernon. The novel presents a series of flashbacks from George Washington's childhood to the early days of the Revolutionary War. Clark adds new perspective into the complex and loving relationship of two remarkable individuals.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    Mr. Washington Goes to Mt. Vernon

    Having recently visited Mount Vernon on vacation, I was very interested to read 'Mount Vernon Love Story' by Mary Higgins Clark since I assumed it would lead into further insight of the relationship between George and Martha ('Patsy') Washington. Not only did it delve deeper into their relationship than was learned on the visit to their home, but it also provided a deeper insight into the history of the United States. The book's chapters alternate between the beginning of George and Martha's relationship and the end of his presidency. It's a very clever way of storytelling, and each chapter leads into the next with grace, bouncing between time. I must admit that this is the first book I've ever read by Mary Higgins Clark, so I am not familiar with her writing style. And I am sure that this book of history is quite different from her mystery books. It is her first book, however, and it shows. The love story in the title is more the love of Mount Vernon -- the home, the grounds, the idea of it, etc. -- than the love story between George and Martha Washington. It's about the growth of Mount Vernon and the love its owners and visitors had for it. And why they couldn't stop being excited returning to it day after day. Although I wasn't that drawn into the book and the romance between George and Martha, it was intriguing to learn some details about the Washingtons' lives. I especially enjoyed the chapter involving George introducing Martha to his domineering mother for the first time. Here, I felt drawn into the characters and loved the interaction between them. George tries to keep his temper in place over his mother's criticisms while Martha calms him down with her gentle touch. Unfortunately, this type of character development did not seem to continue through the rest of the book. It was definitely an enjoyable read, but I guess I was hoping for something more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2002

    Mount Vernon Love Story

    A compelling story of a love that is timeless, a love that gave meaning to life...for the first President of the United States! How unique! Provides a peek into the soul of a the reluctant warrior and President, a man who remained very deeply in love with his beloved 'Patsy' over the course of a lifetime. It is this kind of love that surpasses mere passion and transforms lives. Interesting enough, just finished reading Shade of the Maple by Kirk Martin, in which this same kind of lifelong, intimate love is portrayed. You'll have a new respect for George Washington!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012

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    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely Charming!

    What a charming way to write about George Washington. I am inclined now to review some U. S. History.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2005

    Great Book!

    This book was great, it gave me good sense of how George Washington lived his life to the fullest!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2004

    BORING

    I hate to be negative,but this was one of the most boring books, I have ever read. The author jumped back and forth between the past and present day. From one paragraph to the next,I didn't know if he was an adult or a child. I only finished it because I was on a plane ,and had nothing else to do. Don't waste your time on this poor book!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2003

    A Prominent Historian's Devotion To His Wife, An Underlying Tenderness For His Best Friend's Wife

    Everyone knows the brilliance that was George Washington, the man who founded freedom for America. But this book touches the humanitarian side of America¿s founding father, depicting him as a man who was not without weaknesses but possessed admirable virtues such as his zealous strength, his love for his family, his undying devotion to his wife Martha and even his keenness for dancing. And Martha `¿Patsy¿¿ Custis is the epitome of what a First Lady should be to the first president, always by his side, never admonishing. Truly the woman behind the successful man. It was rather shocking how a man such as Washington could have been raised by a mother who faulted and belittled his every action, but she must have also done something right because George Washington seemed to have ultimately `¿aspired to the heavens¿¿, a motto his mother inexorably guided her children with. This was my first Mary Higgins Clark book, and so it was rather fitting that I stumbled upon her first work. It did have the touch of someone who was attempting her primary writing experience. It did not contain the effortless fervour a renowned author would normally possess, but Mount Vernon was enjoyable enough. Washington¿s love for his wife was well depicted here. And the homecoming to Mount Vernon was poignant as we sensed the gripping dedication George possessed for this land, and the emotional longing for his two closest friends to have been there to welcome them, George William and the tantalising Sally Fairfax whom he was still besotted with, probably until his dying day. Any history buff with an interest in romance would find this book affecting and moving.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2003

    George was a husband first

    I enjoyed this short book very much. It helps to see George Washington as not just the 'father of our country' but as a loving husband. It made me yearn for a time when people blush and public displays of affection consist of holding hands or a kiss on the cheek.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2003

    ENJOYABLE READ FROM START TO FINISH

    I AM A HISTORY BUFF AND ALWAYS LOVE READING OF OUR NATIONS FOUNDING FATHERS. THIS NOVEL GIVES INSIGHT INTO THE PERSONAL LIVES AND RELATIONSHIP OF GEORGE AND PATSY (MARTHA).I ENJOYED FINALLY READING A PIECE THAT SHOWS WASHINGTON AS A FEELING HUMAN BEING WITH A PERSONALITY, INSTEAD OF A SOLEMN,STOIC HISTORICAL CHARACTER.EASY TO READ AND THE FLIPPING BACK AND FORTH KEPT THE NOVEL FRESH FOR ME.GREAT SUMMER OR WEEKEND READ!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2002

    Unsophisticated Writing Style with Lean Content

    This is an easy summer read. Not too offensive, but not very satisfying, either. It reads like a first effort, which it was. Too many details are left out, and the constant back and forth between Washington's youth and his last days as President become tiresome. You get a different, interesting picture of George and Patsy (Martha), and what life might have been like in their day, and with their immense wealth. I never thought about how many slaves he might have owned, but with 30,000 acres in his estate, he must have had tons. It would be more appropriate for 9th grade reading lists than adult book clubs. I would not recommend spending the money for a hardback.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2002

    Different, But Awesome!!

    Mary Higgens Clark has done it again!! Although her normal is mystery, this story is just as capturing as her others. She makes history come alive, as she tells the story of our nations founding father, George Washington, and tells of his troubles and his triumphs. Overall it was a great read!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2002

    Mount Vernon Love Story

    A compelling story of a love that is timeless, a love that gave meaning to life...for the first President of the United States! How unique! Provides a peek into the soul of a the reluctant warrior and President, a man who remained very deeply in love with his beloved 'Patsy' over the course of a lifetime. It is this kind of love that surpasses mere passion and transforms lives. Interesting enough, just finished reading Shade of the Maple by Kirk Martin, in which this same kind of lifelong, intimate love is portrayed. You'll have a new respect for George Washington!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2002

    It was geat.

    It was my first book that I read about Washington. I found it very nice. I was never really interset in the history of our Presidents but after reading this book it has open up the history that we have. I do recommend this book. In my classes I have never really learned the lives of the Presidents but I am now interseted in to learn more about them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2002

    Entertaining, not necessarily factually informative

    Mount Vernon Love Story will be enjoyed by Washington fanatics and fans, but the casual reader may find themselves slightly lost if he or she is not familiar with Washington's specific adventures. Nevertheless, it is a delightful read that serves to encourage the uninformed to become interested in the facts. It portrays Washington in a light not usually shined on him by looking into his personal life.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent biography

    George Washington¿s father died when the future president was young. His mother was a harsh disciplinarian insuring George and his siblings behaved. George seemed to flee her whenever he could get away spending time at his half-brother¿s Mount Vernon home (yes ¿ that historical home). George¿s first love is Sally Fairfax and his chosen profession surveyor, but war seemed to be his destiny. First he fought (unsuccessfully) during the French and Indian War and then the American Revolution. <P>This biography uses Washington¿s retirement to Mount Vernon with his beloved Patsy (Martha¿s nickname) as a focal point for looking back over the lives of the first president and his spouse. The book concentrates on his personal life not his public life. Thus, readers see another side to Washington. Though opinions are interspersed throughout, mystery suspense thriller writer Mary Higgins Clark provides a strong insightful look at Washington and literally the first ¿First Lady¿ that historical readers will enjoy. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2002

    Absolutely Wonderful

    I needed to read a Mary Higgins Clark book for summer reading. I picked this one, since all her mystery books really didn't appeal to me. As a high school student, I couldn't of made a better choice. I found myself wanting more at the end. I would suggest this book to anyone looking for a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews

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