I am a sucker for good historical fiction, especially romance books. My first and best of this genre was “Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan about Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress. (If you haven’t read it, stop everything and buy it right now!)
“Mrs. Poe” which is about the poet Edgar Allen Poe written by Lynn Cullen grabbed my attention because it looked both interesting and like it had “romantic conflict.” However, the book is not really about the real Mrs. Poe as much as it is about the poet Frances Osgood who was romantically involved with Edgar Allen Poe. It appears that this story COULD have been true but what I liked the most about it is that it piques my curiosity and I end up researching the people and the period and learn more about history.
So here is what I learned.
1. Edgar Allen Poe married his younger cousin, Virginia, when she was 13. (CREEPY!)
2. He was a poet and a literary critic and achieved fame when he published his most well known poem “The Raven”. (Which frankly stumps me. I don’t understand the poem or why people would have liked it, but WHATEVER!).
3. He was romantically linked with the poet Frances Osgood when they bantered back and forth with romantic poetry referring to each other in code names. (Wow, that makes you guilty? SHEESH!).
4. All three main characters died very young from various lung disorders that appear to be TB. (It really would have sucked to live in New York City in the 1840’s)
The book was well written and entertaining if perhaps a bit predictable. If you like historical fiction I would recommend reading it.
The following quote from the book made me laugh and is a good sample of the writing style in the book. This is as Frances is describing how her friends are treating her now that they suspect she is having an affair with Poe. “My circles good breeding prevailed yet many of the women treated me with the coldly kind and civil reserve one shares for former friends or cousins of whom one disapproves.”
In our culture it would be more like: “BYE Felicia!”