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Publisher's Summary

A warm, intimate account of the love between Eleanor Roosevelt and reporter Lorena Hickok - a relationship that, over more than three decades, transformed both women's lives and empowered them to play significant roles in one of the most tumultuous periods in American history.

In 1932, as her husband assumed the presidency, Eleanor Roosevelt entered the claustrophobic, duty-bound existence of the first lady with dread. By that time she had put her deep disappointment in her marriage behind her and developed an independent life - now threatened by the public role she would be forced to play. A lifeline came to her in the form of a feisty campaign reporter for the Associated Press: Lorena Hickok. Over the next 30 years, until Eleanor's death, the two women carried on an extraordinary relationship: They were, at different points, lovers, confidantes, professional advisors, and caring friends.

They couldn't have been more different. Eleanor had been raised in one of the nation's most powerful political families and was introduced to society as a debutante before marrying her distant cousin, Franklin. Hick, as she was known, had grown up poor in rural South Dakota and worked as a servant girl after she escaped an abusive home, eventually becoming one of the most respected reporters at the AP. Her admiration drew the buttoned-up Eleanor out of her shell, and the two quickly fell in love. For the next 13 years, Hick had her own room at the White House, next door to the first lady.

These fiercely compassionate women inspired each other to right the wrongs of the turbulent era in which they lived. During the Depression Hick reported from the nation's poorest areas for the WPA, and Eleanor used these reports to lobby her husband for New Deal programs. Hick encouraged Eleanor to turn their frequent letters into her popular and long-lasting syndicated column "My Day" and to befriend the female journalists who became her champions. When Eleanor's tenure as first lady ended with FDR's death, Hick pushed her to continue to use her popularity for good - advice Eleanor took by leading the UN's postwar Human Rights Commission. At every turn the bond these women shared was grounded in their determination to better their troubled world.

Deeply researched and told with great warmth, Eleanor and Hick is a vivid portrait of love and a revealing look at how an unlikely romance influenced some of the most consequential years in American history.

©2016 Susan Quinn (P)2016 Penguin Audio

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An amazing story of amazing women making waves.

I love history, especially the behind the scenes stories that time tends to shove deep into the background. i found this story of Eleanor Roosevelt and how she became the World's First Lady to be deeply interesting, somewhat bittersweet and rather engrossing with E.R. the human. The circle of those around her greatly augmented the passions and vigor of her exterior persona... and perhaps gave creedence to the person within. Was it an affair of the heart? Personally, thats between E.R. and Hick. But the passion that it inspired with everything they did for the common good is proof of their love for humanity. And that is the core of this story. Hick being left on a shelf for 20 years, now that is a true moral issue. Wonderful story, deeply engrossing.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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An Icon who was real.

As an African American woman, I have always admired Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. I was told she was an advocate for "Negro" and women rights. This depiction of her life enhances my view of this historical icon. She was a president wife, a mother, a friend, a lover, an a complex woman. This depiction of some of her life revealed that she was truly human, with attributes as well as faults.. if I coud invite a historical icon to dine with me, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt would be my choice.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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first lady

great insight on the first lady and her lifestyle. narrative is wonderful. great read for history buff.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Disguised Biography of Eleanor Roosevelt

The title of this book is deceptive. It is really simply a biography of Eleanor. The first third or less of the book deals with the relationship between Eleanor and Lorena Hickcock. It is implied that they had a full-on lesbian affair until a few hours into the book when the author makes a disclaimer saying it is not known to what extent their relationship was physical. After this first part of the book the structure changes to alternate between a bit on Hick's life and a bit on Eleanor's life with little or no connection between the two. It appears they had some kind of close relationship very early on and then went their separate ways while remaining friends. Since Eleanor had a much more complex life the book alternates between five minutes on Hick's life and a few hours on Eleanor including Franklin. It turns into a standard Eleanor biography and not a particularly distinctive one at that. The narrator is excellent but this is a disappointing listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fair and balanced

As they say, the book is a fair and balanced picture of two courageous women who shaped America. Much new to ponder even for those who think they know ER. Meticulously researched.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Loved it.

Loved it. History as it happened around two very important women of the 20 Century.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A Fascinating Duo who affected the course of histo

A Fascinating Duo who affected the course of history during the Great Depression, WW ll and race relations into today.
As a lover of all things that influence the course of our past, present and future, I found this glimpse into Eleanor Roosevelt's make up significant. Especially in HS (a Catholic School by the way), we were taught of her influence in international relations. Never knew of her conflicts with Spellman or the Catholic Church, not surprisingly, the problem was the Church's.

Of course we never heard of Hick. For 12 years my work had me living in Hyde Park part time. I made many friends in the area and frequented a restaurant across the street from the FDR Historical Site. I knew of Valkill but unfortunately never visited it. ER's relations with women was a source of snickers but not historical fact. As a matter of fact it is not proven in this book.

What I did find significant was the affection and respect, as well as the input that these two heroines had on the course of the Depression and WW ll, as well as the other course changing events during FDR's Presidency and beyond.

I enjoyed the narrator's role in the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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And I thought I knew Eleanor

I came away from reading this well-written and informative book with a much deeper respect for Eleanor Roosevelt than I already had. Quinn's subtitle makes it seems as though the book is mostly about the love affair, which it isn't, though in the service of that subject she does deep research. The reader learns a lot about Eleanor's motivations and interests, details about her marriage and childhood and their effects upon her. That she was also a wise voice for equality in Roosevelt's ear is part of this fascinating story.

The love story is beautiful and poignant, given how the affair played out on the national and world stage. The care they took in public was belied by the letters they wrote one another, which are quoted extensively in the book and add beauty and reality to the story.

The narrator speaks clearly and is interesting to listen to.

A great listen, one to come back to at least one more time.

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Exceptional story of love, drama and US politics

Loved this book and the production! I finally have an answer to the often asked question, "If you could have a conversation with anyone who has ever lived, who would it be?" Actually, I want both Eleanor and Hic!

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Must listen

It wasn't quite what I expected. Overall excellent book. learned a lot about the Roosevelt's.

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  • Greencath
  • 12-08-16

An amazing story!

A moving story of the connection of 2 great women of America, their love and lives in a soup of important American history. The only query I have is how lesbians were perceived in those times and how lesbians themselves conducted their lives. A rounder telling would result I am sure.