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White Houses

by Amy Bloom

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7237031,366 (3.48)58
Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:For readers of The Paris Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue comes a ‚??sensuous, captivating account of a forbidden affair between two women‚?Ě (People)‚??Eleanor Roosevelt and ‚??first friend‚?Ě Lorena Hickok.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Financial Times ‚?Ę San Francisco Chronicle ‚?Ę New York Public Library ‚?Ę Refinery29 ‚?Ę 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,‚?Ě 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‚?Ě 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.‚?Ě‚??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.‚?Ě‚??O: The Oprah Magazine
‚??Radiant . . . an indelible love story, one propelled not by unlined youth and beauty but by the kind of soul-mate connection even distance, age, and impossible circumstances couldn‚??t dim . . . Bloom‚??s goal is less to relitigate history than to portray the blandly sexless figurehead of First Lady as something the job rarely allows those women to be‚??a lovi
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» See also 58 mentions

English (67)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
I liked this book more than I thought I would from the prologue.
Taking the POV of the former First Lady’s partner was a different choice, but I did like how it all shook out.
I listened to the audiobook and felt like there were some strange run on sentences and I’m not 100% sure where the breaks were (when the story was being directly told and when it was more of a flashback) but I liked it.
The characters were realistic and well fleshed out, and I really enjoyed listening to this story about Eleanor and the ‚Äúlove of her life‚ÄĚ. ( )
  Danielle.Desrochers | Oct 10, 2023 |
I enjoyed this book about Eleanor Roosevelt and her journalist friend/lover Lorena Hickok. Told from Lorena‚Äôs viewpoint it was very interesting and well written. I know nothing about the factual history of these two people but as a novel it was good and very short 3.75 ‚≠źÔłŹ ( )
  LisaBergin | Apr 12, 2023 |
This is a fictionalized account of the love story between First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. Hickok had been working for the FDR government by investigating the hardships unemployed Americans were facing during the depression. It is a first person narrative and Hick is not shy about her abusive past, her fight to attain some form of success and her love of other women. She tells a very frank account of the same sex relationship, her opinions of FDR and his mistresses as well as the the turmoil Eleanor endures as a mother, wife and First Lady.
My only problem with the story were the time lines as I found it difficult at times to determine where they were at. ( )
1 vote MaggieFlo | Sep 12, 2022 |
I first read about Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt last year when I read Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert. It's a fabulous book, deep and well researched. And I loved it. So, when I learned about White Houses by Amy Bloom was I curious about how it would be. I'm glad to say that this one is also very good, well-written and engrossing.

I'm fascinated by the Roosevelt family and even though FDR is my favorite do I find Eleanor Roosevelt to be such an interesting woman. This book is a fictional take on Eleanor's relationship with Lorena Hickok. It's an engaging tale, where we get to Lorena's POV of her growing up with fan abusing father, her time at a circus and of course her first interview with Eleanor that starts off a love affair.

However, I did feel that, despite the wonderful portrayal of the characters, and the compelling dialog that the story lacked the depth that Loving Eleanor had. I miss some parts from Loving Eleanor, like for instance how their relationship was put an end by FDR because they were a risk to the presidency. I never really got the sense of what happened to them in this book. Lorena moved out from the White House and was involved with another woman. And, then that relationship ended. Sometimes the story just felt a bit disjointed. But, that's perhaps the point, although it did feel like Lorena jumped from thought to thought in her recollection of her relationship with Eleanor.

If you want a tragic love story is this book great. There are several wonderful memorable scenes that I loved like Lorena last meeting with Franklin. Or in the beginning when Eleanor arrives at Lorena's place after Franklin's death. I think that Amy Bloom did a wonderful job of describing the book's characters.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jul 23, 2022 |
I wanted know more about Eleanor but this book was all about the mistress. Disappointed.... ( )
  wincheryl | Jun 20, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bloom, Amyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cuva, GiacomoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my parents, Sydelle and Murray
First words
No love like old love.
Quotations
Eleanor's love was like some shabby old footstool. Everyone used it without wanting it and no one ever gave it a moment's thought.
It is not true that if you can imagine it, you can have it.
"Yes, sir, all fires go out. It doesn't mean that we don't still want to sit by the fireplace, I guess."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:For readers of The Paris Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue comes a ‚??sensuous, captivating account of a forbidden affair between two women‚?Ě (People)‚??Eleanor Roosevelt and ‚??first friend‚?Ě Lorena Hickok.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Financial Times ‚?Ę San Francisco Chronicle ‚?Ę New York Public Library ‚?Ę Refinery29 ‚?Ę 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,‚?Ě 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‚?Ě 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.‚?Ě‚??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.‚?Ě‚??O: The Oprah Magazine
‚??Radiant . . . an indelible love story, one propelled not by unlined youth and beauty but by the kind of soul-mate connection even distance, age, and impossible circumstances couldn‚??t dim . . . Bloom‚??s goal is less to relitigate history than to portray the blandly sexless figurehead of First Lady as something the job rarely allows those women to be‚??a lovi

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In 1933, President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt took up residence in the White House. With them went the celebrated journalist Lorena Hickok - Hick to friends - a straight-talking reporter from South Dakota, whose passionate relationship with the idealistic, patrician First Lady would shape the rest of their lives.

Told by the indomitable Hick, White Houses is the story of Eleanor and Hick's hidden love, and of Hick's unlikely journey from her dirt-poor childhood to the centre of privilege and power. Filled with fascinating back-room politics, the secrets and scandals of the era, and exploring the potency of enduring love, it is an imaginative tour-de-force from a writer of extraordinary and exuberant talent.
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