Mrs. Poe Hardcover – 1 Nov 2013
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The love story between Mr Poe and Mrs Osgood is a dark one but given the types of stories Poe is famous for it seems only fitting. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found myself wanting to learn more about Frances Osgood and her body of work.
I would definitely be interested in reading more by this author.
I give Mrs Poe 4 stars out of 5.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating System:
1 star: I will never post a 1 star review because this means it was so bad I couldn't finish it, and I don't won't publicly rate a book I haven't read all the way through.
2 stars: I may have liked the story but it was badly written or it may have been a boring story well written. Something about it kept me reading but I didn't enjoy it.
3 stars: A good, enjoyable read. If the description appeals to you I'd recommend reading it.
4 stars: A really good book that I thoroughly enjoyed and may even read again. I will want to read other books by the same author. Highly recommend.
5 stars: Reserved for books that blew me away and whose characters I can't get out of my head. These are books that I will definitely read again, possibly several times. If I read an e-book version I may even have to go buy a hard copy for my shelves. Why are you still here? Go read this book right now.
Being a fan of the works of Poe, I was intrigued by the opening chapters of the book. Approximately midway through the tale I became slightly disenchanted when continually confronted with the over the top, impetuous and rather school-girlish personality of the gushing Francis Osgood. Her description of the magnetic, irresistible, dangerous, dark-eyed Poe are not borne out by pictures taken by Matthew Brady and others that depict Poe as a rather haggard looking wisp of a man whose eyes sport puffy bags and who appears to be suffering from lazy eye syndrome. Also, based upon her statements early in the narrative, Osgood appeared to be just another opportunist seeking to better her career in writing by cultivating the support of the acerbic Mr. Poe. Her ultimate reaction to the man, as well as that of several other women in the story, had to be based upon his intellect and not his looks - - - - or perhaps with all the filth and disease killing off the supply of prospects available he was among the best to be found.
The narrative is liberally peppered with the names of the literati of the day ranging from Margaret Fuller and Horace Greeley to Whitman, Emerson and Longfellow. The picture painted of Poe's wife and first cousin, Virginia seems to vacillate between sweet school-girl, riddled with consumption encouraging Osgood to befriend her husband to the jealous vindictive wife with a "no trespassing" sign firmly planted on her spouse. Virginia's mother Mrs. Marie Clemm, who appears to be the mother Poe never really had, does not fare well in this telling. Finally, we have the Reverend Rufus Griswold, a thoroughly abrasive piece of work whose pious arrogance and public rivalry with Poe easily make him an easy target for antipathy.
Mrs. Poe presents the reader with a world where marriage is seen as a business arrangement and where love matches are rare. All is politeness and refinement in the drawing rooms, but secret lives and deadly gossip lies hidden behind closed doors. Peopled with characters both noble and flawed what unfolds is a tale culled from fact and liberally embellished with fiction.