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The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck
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The House of Hawthorne (edition 2016)

by Erika Robuck (Author)

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11317152,053 (3.86)None
Member:rtevels
Title:The House of Hawthorne
Authors:Erika Robuck (Author)
Info:NAL (2016), Edition: Reprint, 432 pages
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The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck

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4.5 ★

The House Of Hawthorne

The marriage of celebrated author Nathaniel Hawthorne
and artist Sophia Peabody was far from traditional.
Discouraged by health problems, Sophia was encouraged to remain single and explore further her gift for drawing.
Upon meeting Nathaniel, we see beginnings of an intense, creative love that would supersede any obstacles.
We're given a snapshot of their lives from the 1830's to the Civil War.

"A forgotten woman in history who inspired one of the greatest writers of American literature." (publishers note)
Performed by Mary Robinette Kowal, the audio added to the
enjoyment of this read. ( )
  pennsylady | Jun 29, 2017 |
First, let me say how excited and grateful I was to receive an advanced reading copy of this book from the Good Reads giveaway. Now that I have finished the book I feel even more fortunate. The author, Erica Robuck, is a gifted writer and I am anxious to read some of her other books. The story of the Hawthornes is told from the viewpoint of Sarah Peabody Hawthorne and is written in a style in which one might expect someone who lived in the mid-1800s to write. The writing style truly creates the appropriate atmosphere and adds greatly to the story. This is an amazing story of two people who truly loved each other their entire lives. In addition, the Hawthornes' lives were touched by many well-known historical figures such as Franklin Pierce, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Herman Melville, and others. Their experiences with all of these people made for a very interesting view of history at the time. Ms. Robuck has done an admirable and accurate job of incorporating historical facts into this book while at the same time writing a novel that will hold a reader's interest throughout. I loved this book!!


Sharon
( )
  borealis07 | Jul 11, 2016 |
This books greatest strength was the characters. Personalities shine with distinction, and every character’s voices ring with truth and vitality. I loved that I could truly know these people, they were that three-dimensional. Extreme shyness, passion about art, sacrifice for family, and jealousy over missed opportunities all make an appearance to create the framework for our characters.

I especially enjoyed the main character, Sophia. Her struggle to balance her growing family’s demands and to create her art drove the story. I liked that even though she couldn't have both in the full measure that she wanted, she found contentment in what she had and experienced the joy that that brings. I found her to be just a shining example of how well this author pulled off the characterization card.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Nathan and Sophia. From the beginning, they have this intense connection that I as a reader felt in my bones. These two had the feel of soul mates to me which the author pulled off very well. Nathan and Sophia balanced each other out, with varying personality types but with the same drive towards their art and family.

The author did a fantastic job in creating a vivid look at mid-19th century life in a way that her readers experienced the setting, not just read about it. The settings were as varied as plantation-rich Cuba, stark industrial urban Britain, and the bucolic peace of rural east coast America. The author’s research on details from the time period show through in her descriptions of the rising tension towards slavery and the intimate details of early Victorian life.

This novel was my first introduction of Robuck, and I felt like it was a fantastic one. She blew me away with her superb characters, beautiful relationships, and careful attention to details and scene setting. This was one of the books I was most looking forward to in the coming year, and I am extremely happy I was able to experience it early. Definitely look into this one if you enjoy historical fiction and living the past.

Note: Book received for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review via Good Reads First Reads program. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Jan 13, 2016 |
A novel, told in the first person, about Sophia Peabody Hawthorne and her marriage to Nathaniel Hawthorne. It crosses the fine line between romantic and sentimental and at times the pair seems a bit sappy. Sophie suffered from migraine, so do I and I sometimes have a difficult time reading about it. It is presented realistically here and made me empathetic toward Sophie. An interesting read.
Library book. ( )
  seeword | Sep 4, 2015 |
This is the story of Sophia Amelia Peabody’s courtship and married life with husband Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nathaniel was charmed with Sophia’s paintings and she with his writings. He considered her “a gift from God to bring light to him.” She is “nearly dizzy from his beauty.”

The novel is written from Sophia’s perspective and begins when Nathaniel, although ill, leaves on a short trip that Sophia is totally against. She has a premonition that this will be the last time she sees him. She tells Nathaniel that she “cannot bear this earth long without my companion”. Then the story goes back in time to shortly before she first meets him.

As you can imagine, the life of two artists is not easy. Their temperaments were different; Nathaniel yearned for solitude while Sophia often invited friends to dinner. Finances were always a concern for them especially after having three children. Yet they remained passionately in love.

I enjoyed reading of their interactions with some of the other writers of that time – Henry Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, etc.

Sophia was a very intelligent woman but often had to hide her intelligence in order to be accepted by the society women of the time. Sophia really was not that different from other women of her time. While she was highly educated and an independent thinker, like most women around her, she put her talents aside to fulfill the role of wife and mother. According to Ms. Robuck, she was advised to continue her painting. “For you do not want to end up the little marker at the side of the grand headstone, where future writers and readers will lay their offerings, honoring only the man published and not the women who supported and even made his work possible.”

I enjoyed the historical portions of the story, and the writing itself was beautifully descriptive. But I did not find myself warming up to either Sophia or Nathaniel. I found the constant over-the-top endearments to be too much. There were several places in the book where it really just dragged on saying nothing of interest. Bottom line – I just did not find them to be a very interesting couple. ( )
  BettyTaylor56 | Jul 2, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451418913, Hardcover)

From Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl, comes a brilliant new novel about a literary couple. The unlikely marriage between Nathaniel Hawthorne, the celebrated novelist, and Sophia Peabody, the invalid artist, was a true union of passion and intellect.…
 
Beset by crippling headaches from a young age and endowed with a talent for drawing, Sophia is discouraged by her well-known New England family from pursuing a woman’s traditional roles. But from their first meeting, Nathaniel and Sophia begin an intense romantic relationship that despite many setbacks leads to their marriage. Together, they will cross continents, raise children, and experience all the beauty and tragedy of an exceptional partnership. Sophia’s vivid journals and her masterful paintings kindle a fire in Nathaniel, inspiring his writing. But their children’s needs and the death of loved ones steal Sophia’s energy and time for her art, fueling in her a perennial tug-of-war between fulfilling her domestic duties and pursuing her own desires.
 
Spanning the years from the 1830s to the Civil War, and moving from Massachusetts to England, Portugal, and Italy, The House of Hawthorne explores the tension within a famous marriage of two soulful, strong-willed people, each devoted to the other but also driven by a powerful need to explore the far reaches of their creative impulses. It is the story of a forgotten woman in history, who inspired one of the greatest writers of American literature…

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:10 -0400)

"Spanning the years from the 1830s to the Civil War, and moving from Massachusetts to England, Portugal, and Italy, [this book] explores the tension within a famous marriage of two soulful, strong-willed people, each devoted to the other but also driven by a powerful need to explore the far reaches of their creative impulses. It is the story of a forgotten woman in history who inspired one of the greatest writers of American literature"--Dust jacket flap.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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