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The Emancipator's Wife (2005)

von Barbara Hambly

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
290871,767 (3.56)16
As a girl growing up in Kentucky, she lived a sheltered, privileged life filled with picnics and plantation balls. Vivacious, impulsive, and intoxicated by politics, she is a Todd of Lexington, an aristocratic family whose ancestors defeated the British. But no one knows her secret fears and anxieties. Although she is courted by the most eligible suitors in the land, including future senator Stephen Douglas, it is a gangly lawyer from Illinois who captures her heart. After a stormy courtship and a broken engagement, Abraham Lincoln will marry twenty-four-year-old Mary Todd and give her a ring inscribed with the words “Love Is Eternal.” But their happiness won’t last nearly so long. Their first child will be born under the gathering clouds of a civil war, and three more follow. As Lincoln’s star rises, the pleasure-loving Mary learns, often the hard way, the rules of being a politician’s wife. But by the time the fiery storm of war passes, tragedy will have claimed two sons, scandal will shadow her days as First Lady, and an assassin’s bullet will take Lincoln himself, leaving Mary alone and all but forgotten by the nation that owed her husband its survival. Yet it is in the years to come that Mary Todd Lincoln will truly come into her own. In public, she will fight to preserve Lincoln’s memory even as she battles a bitterly contested insanity trial. In private, she will struggle with depression and addiction as she endures the betrayals–both real and imagined–of family and friends. With a gifted novelist’s imagination and a historian’s eye for detail, Barbara Hambly tells a story of astonishing scope, richly peopled with real-life characters and their fictional counterparts, a tour-de-force tale of power, politics, and the role of women in nineteenth- century America. The result is a Mary Todd Lincoln few have seen and none will forget–the fascinating, controversial woman of whom her husband could say: “My wife is as handsome as when she was a girl and I fell in love with her; and what is more, I have never fallen out”–Mary Todd, the woman who loved Abraham Lincoln. From the Hardcover edition.… (mehr)
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I went to see Lincoln last month and remembered I had this book, so I read it. While it is fiction, I am assuming the author portrayed Mary as accurately as she could. According to the author, Mary was probably addicted to patent medicines which were made mostly of opiates. No wonder she was crazy!

The book starts when Mary was deemed insane and checked into a "rest home" by her son, then flashes back to times with Lincoln and also her childhood. Mary came off as a likeable but very flawed person. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the conversation the Lincolns had in the carriage before they went to Ford's Theater was the same one from the movie; where they would like to travel. This must have been documented somewhere.

I enjoyed the book, although it was long-and it did take me a long time to read it. I learned quite a bit about how women lived in the mid 1800s, and I have a better understanding of Mary Lincoln's history. She and her husband probably came to the White House at one of the toughest times in history. I think she did the best she could have done, and maybe as well as anyone else could have under those circumstances.

**SPOILER ALERT** ;-)
I cannot imagine surviving the heartache of loosing three children and a husband like she did. ( )
  barefootcowgirl | Jul 29, 2016 |
Overall the book was interesting, but I do feel that it was longer than necessary. It seemed like everything in Mary Lincoln's world was punctuated by a tantrum or a migraine headache. The loss of three children and her husband to an assassin would break anyone and I sympathize with her on those counts, but I found her volatile behavior very off-putting. Lincoln must have been incredibly tolerant! Today's tabloid media and paparazzi would have a heyday following her on shopping sprees and capturing her histrionics! ( )
  Cricket856 | Jan 25, 2016 |
bloody slow and dreadful...
  DisneyDiva86 | Aug 25, 2014 |
bloody slow and dreadful...
  DisneyDiva86 | Aug 25, 2014 |
Whew! I almost feel emancipated myself having finished this l o n g tale. Although I do feel that I got an accurate picture of Mary Todd Lincoln and her idiosyncracies, it took a lot! I doubt I would recommend this. It was a Kindle special..... I am beginning to feel very dubious about those specials, especially after this one. ( )
  creighley | Sep 25, 2011 |
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It is very hard to deal with someone who is sane on all subjects but one.--Robert Todd Lincoln
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Encountering Mary Todd Lincoln was the nicest thing that happened to John Wilamet on his first day in the Promised Land.
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As a girl growing up in Kentucky, she lived a sheltered, privileged life filled with picnics and plantation balls. Vivacious, impulsive, and intoxicated by politics, she is a Todd of Lexington, an aristocratic family whose ancestors defeated the British. But no one knows her secret fears and anxieties. Although she is courted by the most eligible suitors in the land, including future senator Stephen Douglas, it is a gangly lawyer from Illinois who captures her heart. After a stormy courtship and a broken engagement, Abraham Lincoln will marry twenty-four-year-old Mary Todd and give her a ring inscribed with the words “Love Is Eternal.” But their happiness won’t last nearly so long. Their first child will be born under the gathering clouds of a civil war, and three more follow. As Lincoln’s star rises, the pleasure-loving Mary learns, often the hard way, the rules of being a politician’s wife. But by the time the fiery storm of war passes, tragedy will have claimed two sons, scandal will shadow her days as First Lady, and an assassin’s bullet will take Lincoln himself, leaving Mary alone and all but forgotten by the nation that owed her husband its survival. Yet it is in the years to come that Mary Todd Lincoln will truly come into her own. In public, she will fight to preserve Lincoln’s memory even as she battles a bitterly contested insanity trial. In private, she will struggle with depression and addiction as she endures the betrayals–both real and imagined–of family and friends. With a gifted novelist’s imagination and a historian’s eye for detail, Barbara Hambly tells a story of astonishing scope, richly peopled with real-life characters and their fictional counterparts, a tour-de-force tale of power, politics, and the role of women in nineteenth- century America. The result is a Mary Todd Lincoln few have seen and none will forget–the fascinating, controversial woman of whom her husband could say: “My wife is as handsome as when she was a girl and I fell in love with her; and what is more, I have never fallen out”–Mary Todd, the woman who loved Abraham Lincoln. From the Hardcover edition.

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