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White Houses

A Novel
By: Amy Bloom
Narrated by: Tonya Cornelisse
Length: 6 hrs and 41 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (326 ratings)
Regular price: $24.50
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Publisher's Summary

For readers of The Paris Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue comes a “sensuous, captivating account of a forbidden affair between two women” (People).

Eleanor Roosevelt and “first friend” Lorena Hickok.

Named one of the best books of the year by:

  • Financial Times 
  • San Francisco Chronicle 
  • New York Public Library 
  • Refinery29 
  • Real Simple  

Lorena Hickok meets Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt's first presidential campaign. Having grown up worse than poor in South Dakota and reinvented herself as the most prominent woman reporter in America, "Hick", as she's known to her friends and admirers, is not quite instantly charmed by the idealistic, patrician Eleanor. But then, as her connection with the future first lady deepens into intimacy, what begins as a powerful passion matures into a lasting love, and a life that Hick never expected to have. 

She moves into the White House, where her status as "first friend" is an open secret, as are FDR's own lovers. After she takes a job in the Roosevelt administration, promoting and protecting both Roosevelts, she comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend, capable of changing lives even after his death. Through it all, even as Hick's bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life. 

From Washington, D.C. to Hyde Park, from a little white house on Long Island to an apartment on Manhattan's Washington Square, Amy Bloom's new novel moves elegantly through fascinating places and times, written in compelling prose and with emotional depth, wit, and acuity. 

Praise for White Houses

“Amy Bloom brings an untold slice of history so dazzlingly and devastatingly to life, it took my breath away.” (Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife)

“Vivid and tender...Bloom - interweaving fact and fancy - lavishes attention on [Hickok], bringing Hick, the novel’s narrator and true subject, to radiant life.” (O: The Oprah Magazine)

©2018 Amy Bloom (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A remarkably intimate and yet informative novel of the secret, scandalous love of Eleanor Roosevelt and her longtime friend and companion Lorena Hickok, who relates the tale in her own, quite wonderful voice." (Joyce Carol Oates)

"Amy Bloom illuminates one of the most intriguing relationships in history. Lorena Hickok is a woman who found love with another lost soul, Eleanor Roosevelt. And love is what this book is all about: It suffuses every page, so that by the time you reach the end, you are simply stunned by the beauty of the world these two carved out for themselves." (Melanie Benjamin, author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue)

"Hick's pragmatic personality and wry sense of humor, well portrayed by narrator Tonya Cornelisse, determine the production's point of view, pace, and tone. Eleanor's patrician elocution and humanitarian sensibilities are depicted without imitation. Listeners discover the scope of the women's connection through various lenses, such as shared childhood tales on a train trip and a letter from Eleanor's cousin Parker Fiske. Cornelisse delivers these sections in a style that adds emotional dimension to the story." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I loved this story

I loved this love story, while I know it’s fiction, it’s quite evident that this author did her research. It was lovely.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Suzanne
  • Middleburg, VA, United States
  • 05-03-18

Uneven, problematic performance

A beautiful book set in the 1930s and 1940s marred by a clunky, uneven narration. The result is a performance that swings wildly from completely inauthentic to sometimes touching. But the pace is off much of the time. The narrator did not study the speech patterns of her subjects. There are so many errors of prononciation (proper names and phrases that the narrator could easily have researched) that a well informed reader may well give up within the first hour. Sticking with it reveals bright moments, particularly in the voice of ER. But there’s just no excuse for a lazy performance like this. I’d like my credit back!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Tacky...

Eleanor and Hick is a better book. This book was unnecessarily crude. Also, the chronology was off and I found it distracting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating Look into a Part of History

I loved this book. It provides a fascinating peak into the secret life of Eleanor Roosevelt and her companion, Lorraine Hicks. Wonder ful reading too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Remember it's a novel

Hard to keep straight what is made up amd what is based on fact, but you will learn lots about these extraordinary women and the FDR Whire House. Loved the narrator's voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • ilene
  • palm desert, CA, United States
  • 03-12-18

Not worth it

I felt this was a total waste of my time. The book repeated the separations between Eleanor Roosevelt and Hick. There was little historical data or anything that would be interesting as a reader. I think few relationships could be so accepting of a their limitations and differences.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful

this book was so beautiful that it made me cry. I fell in love with both of these women and I didn't want the book to end.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Interesting

Beautifully told story of two lives that impact each other deeply. I wanted to step back in time to meet both of these people! #RelationshipsComeInAllForms #History #Inspirational #Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

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    4 out of 5 stars
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It was okay

Since the real letters exist,I think the fictionalized aspect didn't want to for me in parts. Good actor voice by the reader, but moved too quickly over some nicely written lines. I finished the book because it was part of a book club reading assignment. Not my favorite, but some sweet moments. Wish I could have met both of them :)

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great read: not a great listen

I began listening to this audiobook while on a car trip, but my husband took an immediate dislike to the narrator. It was not until after I had finished actually READing the book, and liking it very much, that I went back to the audio version. I found that I could barely stand to listen to the voice actor's version of Hick's cigarette smoke-graveled voice. Unfortunate.