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.
Though not every Poe scholar agrees, evidence including their poetry suggests that Edgar Allan Poe may have had an affair with Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood, the abandoned wife of portrait artist Samuel Stillman Osgood, and this heartfelt, thoroughly researched novel imagines what might have happened between them. Like any Poe story, it’s a sad by fascinating tale. For me the most enjoyable aspect of the book is being immersed in rich culture of 19th century New York City, when passenger pigeons still darkened its skies and farm animals still roamed some of its streets. Many, many historical figures are made human on its pages, including John Audubon, Walt Whitman, Margaret Fuller, Horace Greeley, Matthew Brady, and Louisa May Alcott, and fads of the day, like hot air ballooning, conversazione discussion gatherings, and phrenology, are worked into the plot. The relationship between Frances Osgood and Poe is passionate but conflicted, and though beautifully written their story drags on a little bit, perhaps because the author is constrained by actual events. Mrs. Poe still has many charms, and should be of particular interest to anyone curious about life in the earlier days of New York City.