Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
I can’t resist books about sisters, I've read more by and about the Mitford sisters than I’d care to admit, and this thoroughly researched book about the Peabody sisters has all the charms that the best of such books can offer--fascinating personalities, in-depth observations of their family dynamics, and an intimate window into the history of their time. It’s just as informative and moving as author Megan Marshall’s more recent book on Margaret Fuller. Those two books complement each other since they are both about women who were leading thinkers and influential players during the pre-Civil War era when American Romanticism and Transcendentalism were flowering, a time mainly dominated by men.
Money was always an issue for the Peabody family, but that seemed to push each of the sisters to excel. Elizabeth had a voracious intellect and her ideas helped inspire the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and Bronson Alcott. She published their early works, urged them to curb their individualistic philosophies to connect more with others, and has had a lasting impact by promoting the benefits of kindergarten. Mary was a compassionate reformer who married statesman and educator Horace Mann. Sophia, though sickly, was recognized as a talented artist and she married novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne. The book’s tone is sympathetic, but honest, and the sisters come to life on the page to such an extent that it made me feel like I know them.