Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Published by: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. / 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
First Printing: 2003
Barnes and Noble
Concept: “On the eve of World War I, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt, fiercely ambitious and still untouched by polio, fell in love with his wife’s social secretary, Lucy Mercer. When Eleanor stumbled onto evidence of the affair, divorce was discussed, but honor and ambition won out. Franklin promised he would never see Lucy again.
Ellen Feldman’s novel brings sympathy and insight to bear on the connection between these three compelling characters. When Franklin and Lucy did meet again, it was across the divide of his illness and political ascendancy, her marriage and widowhood. As he prepared to run for an unprecedented third term and lead America into another world war, he turned to Lucy for the warmth and unconditional approval Eleanor was unable to give.
Based on recently discovered materials and incorporating a never-before-published footnote to the affair, Lucy is a remarkably sensitive insight into the private lives behind a public marriage.
Review: This book was recommended from my bookgroup on Goodreads (Book Lover’s Hideaway) as a monthly read for the historical fiction genre. Because I have really been trying to read other genres (and I think I’ve been giving it one heckuva try) and because this book sounded really interesting to me, but mostly because FDR was my favorite president of all times, I decided to read this. So I ordered it from my library and waited patiently for it to come in. When I picked it up, I found myself very excited to read it.
The concept above does a good job of outlining what’s in the book. I can’t really add much more. I found myself not really caring about Lucy or FDR and even Eleanor (who is like a goddess to me) became a little lackluster. It was like reading my aunt’s memoir. It was rather dry. There was no real romance in it. Nothing to sweep me off my feet. I did learn some historical goodies, but nothing really amazing. I found myself not caring about these people. It was a slow, hard read. I’m really sorry that I didn’t like this book because I really wanted to.
What I liked: When I said that this book was like reading a memoir of my aunt, I meant it and that brought back some nice memories for me. I could smell her face powder and see her lacy dresses. Think Boardwalk Empire. That’s the time period for most of this book. If that era interests you, then you might like this book. It’s a quick read though. I was able to read it in one setting so its not something that drags on and on.
What I disliked: I wanted to see ROMANCE between Lucy and FDR. I understand she was discreet and all that, but I wanted to watch them fall in love and want them to be together. If I felt sympathy for Lucy taking FDR away from Eleanor, it was going to have to be good and sadly, for me, it wasn’t. This is another attempt at historical fiction for me that I didn’t care for. Its not looking good for me to keep experimenting in this genre.
My rating: 2 Stars