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The Raven's Bride: A Novel of Eliza, Sam Houston's First Wife

The Raven's Bride: A Novel of Eliza, Sam Houston's First Wife

by Elizabeth Crook

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Crook's intricate first novel engagingly details the abrupt dissolution of Sam Houston's 11-week marriage to Eliza Allen in 1829, an event that caused lingering scandal and speculation. Sam, governor of Tennessee at 36, is portrayed as a heavy-drinking womanizer, egotistical, ambitious and confident that his destiny lies west, in Texas. He is smitten with teenage Eliza, sensuous and defiant despite a strict upbringing by wealthy parents. As she describes Sam and Eliza's complex and ambivalent relationship, Crook weaves an intricate story that reveals Eliza's lies and half-truths about an earlier love affair, a liaison that grates against Sam's inflexible moral code, which is riddled with double standards. Eliza herself is deeply disturbed by Houston's duplicity in keeping his political plans secret from her. The couple's emotional turmoil is maintained at high pitch by the interaction of a rich cast of characters, including the fiery general Andrew Jackson; a number of Sam's rowdy friends; and Will Tyree, Eliza's doomed lover. A surfeit of talk, endless self-analysis, and several superfluous anticlimactic chapters create tedious moments, yet this well-researched historical romance manages to capture some towering personalities at a pivotal moment in history. (Feb.)

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The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
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