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Loving Eleanor Paperback – 1 Feb 2016
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Susan Wittig Albert has done it again with another engaging, rich portrait, this time of women in love. Drawn from history, the love story of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena Hickok is full of excitement, drama and pathos. Women of great intelligence and deep feelings, Eleanor and Lorena move from lovers to lifelong friends in the context of the most turbulent times of the 20th Century. As same-sex relationships finally move toward full acceptance in our culture, Albert's book reminds us that love has always been love, no matter the partners. -Robin Gerber, author of Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way Susan Wittig Albert has, with imagination and deep knowledge of the historical record, supplied the missing pieces of the love story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. Here is everything we wish we knew. I couldn't put it down. -Leila Rupp, Professor of Feminist Studies, UC Santa Barbara, author of A Desired Past: A Short History of Same-Sex Love in America Loving Eleanor, Susan Wittig Albert's novelized memoir of Lorena Hickok's intimate relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt, is both richly nuanced and impressively detailed. Drawn from the thirty years of correspondence Hickok donated to the FDR Library toward the end of her life, Hick's voice felt utterly authentic to me, always real, raw and compelling. Hick is a dichotomy-a tough, streetwise Associated Press reporter, and a tender, devoted friend and lover. This is not only an important book, but a great read. Loving Eleanor deserves to be at the top of your reading list! -Ellen Hart, author of The Grave Soul This birds-eye view of the FDR years is engaging from the first sentence. With Eleanor Roosevelt's long-time lover as its narrator, Loving Eleanor navigates the catastrophes of the era and the heartbreak of women loving women in an unwelcoming time. -Rebecca Coffey, author of Hysterical: Anna Freud's Story
About the Author
Susan Wittig Albert is the New York Times bestselling author of over 50 adult novels and works of nonfiction, as well as 60+ novels for young adults. She and her husband Bill Albert live in the Texas Hill Country. She is the founder and president of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.
Top customer reviews
I’m sure most of us have heard of Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D Roosevelt, the president of the USA who steered the country through the Second World War. We also know from history that he’d suffered from polio, but what we may not know is that their marriage was more a match of convenience and each led a separate lifestyle.
Eleanor met Lorena Hickok (Hick) in 1928. Hick was the only woman reporter working for the Associated Press, stationed in New York. She was asked to cover the Democratic ticket. It wasn’t love at first sight, but over the years turned into a profound and very deep love affair. It was a difficult relationship because of Eleanor’s public position, but they kept their love alive by writing to each other every day, sometimes more than once a day. Every opportunity they could spend together, they did.
It wasn’t just the story of this love affair that makes this one of the most special books that is going to be published this year, but how Susan Wittig Albert has woven historical facts into the story. The crash of Wall Street and the effect it had on the country, is told through Hick’s reports. Thirteen million people were left unemployed after the crash.
Hick moved from working for Associated Press and worked for FERA, (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) and travelled the country sending reports back from the devastated countryside. Coal mines had dried up and become homes to the coalminers who lost their jobs. Droughts occurred that meant farmers were not able to grow crops. Shocking viruses were spreading amongst the poor.
Thanks to Hick, we get to know what the country was going through and THAT is what affected me the most. I had absolutely no idea what the United States had gone through. Eleanor was so shocked by the stories that Hick was relating, that she immediately offered help and support.
I hope that my review has tempted you to buy a copy of this vast story, covering not just a love story of a President’s wife with her very talented journalist lover, but a journey through history, starting in 1928 and ending with Eleanor’s death in 1962. The world is a far richer place thanks to courageous women and that’s the other message I’m taking away from this.
Loving Eleanor is a fictional memoir based on the relationship between Lorena Hickock and Eleanor Roosevelt. When I first saw this book was my reaction "is this about Eleanor Roosevelt?" And, strangely I was correct. I do have an interest in FDR and that could very well be why my first reaction was thinking this was about his wife.
The book starts off with a funeral, Eleanor Roosevelt's and a grief-stricken Hick isn't there, despite being invited. She can't handle it and don't want them all to see how Eleanor's death has broken her. And, now she wonders what to do with all the letters that she has after Eleanor. There are vultures out there that would do anything to get their hands on them. In the end, she decides to have the letters sealed and not open until 10 years after her death. In this book, she decides also to write their story and having it sealed as well.
Susan Wittig Albert has written a poignant tale of a doomed love story. A talented journalist that falls in love with the wife of the future president. At first, their love burns hot, but as the years go by their love grows perhaps not colder, but the hot passion is not there anymore. But, they still love each other dearly. But Eleanor's would become a personage, an icon. The First Lady of the World. She was no longer a privet person from the day FDR become president. They would both fall in love with other people, but they would until Eleanor died always be in touch. And for Hick would Eleanor always be the one.
This is a story that touched my heart. I found that both Hick and Eleanor came alive in this story. But, Loving Eleanor is also deeply tragic to read. As Eleanor so pointedly says in the book that they are; Like Little moons orbiting around a giant planet. That is the cost of being around FDR. And, if FDR feels that you are a threat, then he will remove the threat. That sounds very wrong and threatening. But what he did was reward anyone around Eleanor if he felt that the person would be harmful to the presidency. Marry away someone like he did with the trooper that Eleanor fell in love with or in Hick's case he give her a job that took her around the country and by that separate Hick from Eleanor. I could feel reading this that Hick retelling their story is pained with the knowledge of what happened and writing she sees now all the signs that in the end would lead to their break up as "a couple",
I especially liked the fact that, despite that the book's story takes place during several years when much happened in America; the Great Depression, and WW2, did the book never feel too heavy to read and it never felt too bogged down with too much history. It was well-written and well-researched. The story flowed easily on and it was hard to put the book down.
Hick never wrote a memoir about their life, but this book has through extended research given us a fictional version of their life together.
I want to thank the publisher for providing me through NetGalley with a free copy for an honest review.
This novel is a loving tribute to the woman who would become known as “First Lady of the World”. Although fictional it draws in great part on the thousands of letters exhanged between Eleanor and Lorena Hickok. Written in the first person we see Eleanor through the eyes of Hick, a woman younger in years but experienced enough in the ways of politics and Washington to guide Eleanor along the path of self-discovery. It was Hick who encouraged Eleanor to hold White House press briefings – for female reporters. It was Hick who suggested Eleanor write her own syndicated newspaper column. And it was Hick's idea for Eleanor to speak directly to the nation through radio broadcasts.
This, then, is the story of a friendhip between two women in a man's world, the story of the blossoming of the wife of an American President, and more than that, it is a love story. But for all the two women longed for a simple life together, away from the glare of publicity, it was not to be. Eleanor's growing sense of what she could achieve as a public figure meant that she could never abandon her many 'good causes' for her personal desires. The two women remained friends until death, encouraging each other as they fought injustice, and the world would have been a poorer place without them.