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Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Mrs. Poe (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Lynn Cullen

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5215928,909 (3.64)47
Title:Mrs. Poe
Authors:Lynn Cullen
Info:Gallery Books (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library

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Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen (2013)



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Lyn Cullen has written a novel based on the real Frances Osgood and her relationship with Edgar Allen Poe and his wife. It is the year 1845 and Poe has just finished writing the poem "The Raven" which has made him somewhat famous. All of the women are swooning over Poe even though he is married, and Frances Osgood is no exception. Especially since her husband, Samuel, has temporarily abandoned her and their daughters. Frances, also a poet, not only falls in love with Poe but also becomes the confidant of the much younger Mrs. Poe. The relationships get messy and involved and when Samuel returns to resume his relationship with his wife and daughters, Frances is forced to make a choice.

This fictionalized account offers an interesting look into the lives of Osgood, Poe and many other well-known people of the that time period. And it serves as a reminder to the the reader of Edgar Allen Poe's tragic life. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
Historical fiction that focuses on the relationship between Frances Osgood, a poetess, and Edgar Allan Poe, newly famous for “The Raven,” and complicated by the attempts at friendship between Poe’s wife and Frances.

Well, I wanted to like this. I enjoy historical fiction, and especially those works that explore a little-known coincidence or relationship. Cullen clearly did much research into her two main characters. There is more information available about Poe, as he was the more famous writer and his works are still taught in high school English classes today. But there is much misinformation about Poe; his first “biographer” was his rival Rufus Griswold, who wrote out-and-out lies in an effort to besmirch Poe’s reputation (and perhaps, elevate his own). Osgood’s story is less well-known, but her poetry remains, and in the author’s notes at the end of the novel, Cullen states that she tried to let Osgood’s and Poe’s own writings “speak for themselves.”

I just never really felt any love between them. I got tired of the longing and yearning and attempts to stay apart, only to be inextricably drawn together. I never could figure out the role of Virginia, Poe’s wife (and younger cousin). I think this is in part a result of Cullen’s doing down the path of “dark, mysterious, horror” that everyone associates with Poe. She states in her author’s notes that she never intended for this to be a dark tale, but that Poe’s story just naturally led in that direction. I wish she has found a way to resist that pull. The result is that this is neither a good “mystery / suspense” story nor a good love story.

I never knew about the connection between these two; heck, I didn’t know anything about Frances Osgood at all. I’m glad to have learned a little about it, though I learned much more from the author’s notes than from the novel itself. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jul 18, 2018 |
I was not familiar with this book or author until it was picked for our bookclub this month. I am so happy that they did for it gave me a chance to read this beautifully written novel. Set in 1845 at the peak of Edgar Allen Poe's fame from the Raven this novel is laced with intimate details of a love triangle. Not knowing if things will work out and with who will keep you reading straight though. I adored this book. ( )
  Tiffy_Reads | Mar 19, 2018 |
I was initially disappointed in this one, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I enjoyed it.

To get my initial thorn out of the way: I wanted the main character, Fanny Osgood, to be more Scarlett O'Hara and less Melanie Wilkes. Once, in a scene involving Fanny, at the height of decorum, I thought of the quote by Scarlett about Melanie, "...silly little fool who can't open her mouth except to say 'yes' or 'no' and raise a passel of mealy-mouthed brats just like her."

However, I realize after reflecting on the story, characters, and writing that I was completely wrong. Fanny is acting exactly how she was raised, to be respectful, kind, and acquiescing. The fact that Virginia is emboldened in both word and deed is eventually explained by Poe by explaining that she stayed as a child.

The tension between Poe and Fanny was evident, as was Virginia's increasing awareness of their relationship. While I admit that I did want Fanny to be a little more free to allow herself these illicit feelings, the time and culture did not permit that she act on her feelings. Her concern for Virginia was yet another testament to her character.

And speaking of characters! What a wonderfully colorful collection of REAL historical figures in this story! When historical fiction drives a reader to do more reading and research, there is no greater compliment to an author. I loved reading about Griswold's penchant for hand adornments, Fuller's growing friendship and trust with Fanny, Bartlett's interest in Southern colloquialisms, and Ellet's drive to ruin anyone who wronged her.

The fact that these were real people has driven me straight to historical references to learn more.

All-in-all, when my friend Kerri recommended this book to me, she did me a favor!

Recommended. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jun 19, 2017 |
Review to come. ( )
  ZaraD.Garcia-Alvarez | Jun 6, 2017 |
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When given bad news, most women of my station can afford to slump onto their divans, their china cups slipping from their fingers to the carpet, their hair falling prettily from its pins, their fourteen starched petticoats compacting with a plush crunch.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Struggling to support her family in mid-19th-century New York, writer Frances Osgood makes an unexpected connection with literary master Edgar Allan Poe and finds her survival complicated by her intense attraction to the writer and the scheming manipulations of his wife.… (more)

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