I found this book was quite a good read. Mind you I lost some patience with Mrs Lincoln!
Chiaverini has written a historical novel based on the relationship between Elizabeth Keckley, a freed slave who was a modiste, and Mary Todd Lincoln. The story spans the years 1860 to 1901 and focuses on life in the White House during the Civil War and the aftermath of Lincoln's assassination. Events are seen through Elizabeth's eyes and only highlight that nothing was simple about American politics in the 19th century and slaves' relationships to their former masters. A bit slow in places, the story gives the reader a fascinating glimpse into the tragic life of Mary Todd Lincoln. This book is the November 2017 selection of the Willa Cather Book Club.
For lovers of historic fiction, be forewarned, MRS. LINCOLN’S DRESSMAKER is heavy on the history and much lighter on the fiction. Its subject matter (the friendship between Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, seamstress and former slave, and her patron, Mary Todd Lincoln) is intriguing and has such potential, unfortunately the story suffers in the execution. The telling by author Jennifer Chiaverini is frequently dry and flat with so much listing of Civil War events and leaders I felt I was reading a textbook. It seemed Ms. Chiaverini attempted to emulate the time period’s manner of speaking in her writing and word choice but often it came off as awkward. What I missed was a deep connection to the characters. I was already familiar with many of the details of the Lincoln White House years, but it was interesting to learn what happened to these two women following the President’s assassination, however this isn’t conveyed until the final third of the book and the saga of selling Mrs. Lincoln’s wardrobe goes on way too long. While not awful, MRS. LINCOLN’S DRESSMAKER is certainly underwhelming, and I can’t help but think it would’ve made for a more powerful and engaging book in the hands of a different author.
A unique perspective of a tumultuous time in history. I happened to read it over the weekend of Trump's inauguration and first week of his presidency, which added a new level of depth to my ponderings about the White House during the Civil War era. That said, the narrative was drawn out dragged a little slowly at times. I appreciate all that I learned from this book, but doubt I'll be recommending it.
This book was picked for my local book club so I had great hopes for it.
Unfortunately, it is poorly written and I could not develop any empathy for the characters. Got about half way through and decided it wasn't worth finishing.
Great book to get a perspective of the Civil War from an inside angle. Good read, but I found the ending a tad rushed and unsatisfying.
This was a good read. Parts were too "military" for me. But to tell the story perhaps they had to be in there.
Interesting historical biographical fiction. Dragged. Didn't complete reading it. Some of the people in my book club liked it though.
I would give this only a 3 star. Although the subject matter was wonderful, I ordered her actual memoirs and it was almost like this author plagiarized the original work of Elizabeth Keckley. Sorry, I was a bit disappointed in that. was tempted to read Mrs. Lincoln's Rival but found I could learn all I needed to know by Wikipedia.
this book was wonderful~~~l highly recommend it!
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