A writer and his demons. A woman and her desires. A wife and her revenge . . .
Inspired by literature's most haunting love triangle, award-winning author Lynn Cullen delivers a pitch-perfect rendering of Edgar Allan Poe, his mistress's tantalizing confession, and his wife's frightening obsession . . . in this "intelligent, sexy, and utterly addictive" (M. J. Rose) new masterpiece of historical fiction.
1845: New York City is a sprawling warren of gaslit streets and crowded avenues, bustling with new immigrants and old money, optimism and opportunity, poverty and crime. Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" is all the rage - the success of which a struggling poet like Frances Osgood can only dream. As a mother trying to support two young children after her husband's cruel betrayal, Frances jumps at the chance to meet the illustrious Mr. Poe at a small literary gathering, if only to help her fledgling career. Although not a great fan of Poe's writing, she is nonetheless overwhelmed by his magnetic presence - and the surprising revelation that he admires her work.
What follows is a flirtation, then a seduction, then an illicit affair . . . and with each clandestine encounter, Frances finds herself falling slowly and inexorably under the spell of her mysterious, complicated lover. But when Edgar's frail wife Virginia insists on befriending Frances as well, the relationship becomes as dark and twisted as one of Poe's tales. And like those gothic heroines whose fates are forever sealed, Frances begins to fear that deceiving Mrs. Poe may be as impossible as cheating death itself. . . .
©2013 Lynn Cullen (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
I just couldn't get into this story at all. Something about it didn't make sense to me. The main character, Frances Osgood, is neither personable or likeable.
First of all, this is Poe, so it is suspenseful, and that was exactly as it should be. But for that reason, it is hard to review this without giving anything away.
So, generically I will say I am glad I read it, I did learn quite a bit about Poe and some about Mrs. Poe, and I learned even more about Fanny Osgood. Well researched and written from a historical standpoint, and the number of famous literary persons who appear in the book is pretty astounding. Some romantic scenes felt trite, but didn't ruin the book.
Bottom line: There is plenty to discuss -- with someone who has read the book. If you are into Poe, you will enjoy this, but I just know that the title is a gimmick.
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