Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Mrs. Lincoln's Sisters by Jennifer Chiaverini

The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker returns to her most famous heroine, Mary Todd Lincoln, in this compelling story of love, loss, and sisterhood rich with history and suspense.

In May 1875, Elizabeth Todd Edwards reels from news that her younger sister Mary, former First Lady and widow of President Abraham Lincoln, has attempted suicide. 

Mary’s shocking act followed legal proceedings arranged by her eldest and only surviving son that declared her legally insane. Although they have long been estranged, Elizabeth knows Mary’s tenuous mental health has deteriorated through decades of trauma and loss. Yet is her suicide attempt truly the impulse of a deranged mind, or the desperate act of a sane woman terrified to be committed to an asylum? And—if her sisters can put past grievances aside—is their love powerful enough to save her? 

Maternal Elizabeth, peacemaker Frances, envious Ann, and much adored Emilie had always turned to one another in times of joy and heartache, first as children, and later as young wives and mothers. But when Civil War erupted, the conflict that divided a nation shattered their family. The Todd sisters’s fates were bound to their husbands’ choices as some joined the Lincoln administration, others the Confederate Army.

Now, though discord and tragedy have strained their bonds, Elizabeth knows they must come together as sisters to help Mary in her most desperate hour.

My Rating - 3.5 Stars!

Mrs Lincoln's Sister is an interesting historical fiction story by Jennifer Chiaverini. 

Like other historical fiction books based upon real life people, I struggle at times with letting my mind wander, wondering how much is real and how much is fiction. Of course, I assume any of the narrative is fiction, but I constantly wonder if the details are real. That is distracting, although it did result in me googling more about these people. 

That said, this story is very interesting as it deals with Mary Todd Lincoln's fate, all told through her sisters' eyes. To say that Mary was troubled is fact. The story about her situation, as told in this book, is heart-breaking and very troublesome. Personally, I knew nothing about Mary's life following the assassination of her husband. Thus, I am happy to have found this book. 

The author excels in writing about this time period. Both her language and her descriptions are well representative of the time period. She definitely manages to draw the reader into the way of life at the time. 

The author uses flashbacks to alternate with "present" events, all to develop Mary's personality, and to show what brought her to the time when her problems with her son evolved. 

I definitely enjoyed reading this book, but I did find it drawn out and slow at times, thus resulting in a lower rating from me. 

Overall, Mrs Lincoln's Sisters is a good way to learn more about Mary Lincoln and her family. Jennifer Chiaverini definitely gifts the reader with an intriguing and interesting tale. 

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