Book Tour Review: Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Title: Loving Eleanor
Author: Susan Wittig Albert
Genre: historical fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 306
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating:  3.5/5

When AP political reporter Lorena Hickok—Hick—is assigned to cover Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1932 campaign, the two women become deeply involved. Their relationship begins with mutual romantic passion, matures through stormy periods of enforced separation and competing interests, and warms into an enduring, encompassing friendship documented by 3300 letters.

Set during the chaotic years of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Second World War, Loving Eleanor reveals Eleanor Roosevelt as a complex, contradictory, and entirely human woman who is pulled in many directions by her obligations to her husband and family and her role as the nation's First Lady. Hick is revealed as an accomplished journalist, who, at the pinnacle of her career, gives it all up for the woman she loves. Then, as Eleanor is transformed into Eleanor Everywhere, First Lady of the World, Hick must create her own independent, productive life. Loving Eleanor is a profoundly moving novel that illuminates a relationship we are seldom privileged to see, celebrating the depth and durability of women's love.

I don't know that I've never been the type of person to have a personal hero, but the closest I've ever come to that kind of relationship is how much I admire  Eleanor Roosevelt as a person. No matter your opinion on her politics or her marriage and husband, she was an impressive, smart, classy woman. She lived a very public life as the nation's First Lady, but she also lead a secret private life; one that encompassed forbidden loves  -- which is partly retold here in Loving Eleanor through the years-long and defining relationship she had with AP reporter Lorena 'Hick' Hickok. Her relationship with Eleanor waxed and waned, but Hick remains a dynamic person and one with an interesting history worth exploring.

This book is tangentially about Eleanor, but it is clearly and deservedly Hick's story more than it is about anything else. It can't be denied that Eleanor wielded a large influence on the direction of Hick's life during and after their affair, but Hick was a woman all her own before and after she knew Eleanor personally. Hick had an unusual life even before her life intersected with the First Lady; she was a woman reporter who loved against cultural mores and felt no need to apologize for who and what she was. Having never before read about her life, I thought the author did a wonderful job projecting a layered and complex version of a real-life person from a pivotal time in American history. 

The story of Lorena and Eleanor is a bittersweet one by its (and the book's) end, as anyone familiar with history knows going into the novel. The ever-evolving relationship between the two strong-willed women goes through many iterations but is always pivotal for both the novel and for the main character. The fun in reading Loving Eleanor is seeing just how this author envisions history and fills in the gaps with her own invention and characterization. How she captured the Eleanor known to the public and then the woman only known to her best friend and closest confidante. There were large events playing against the background of Hick's story, but Susan Wittig Albert keeps the feel of the story small and personal and the focus on Hick; it's easy to feel like these characters are the real versions that lived so recently.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Bibliotica

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Broken Teepee

Thursday, April 28
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Friday, April 29
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, May 3
Spotlight at I Heart Reading

Wednesday, May 4
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, May 5
Interview at A Holland Reads

Friday, May 6
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Spotlight at To Read, or Not to Read

Monday, May 9
Review at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, May 10
Review at Back Porchervations

Thursday, May 12
Interview at Back Porchervations

Monday, May 16
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, May 17
Spotlight at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, May 18
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, May 20
Guest Post at Creating Herstory

Monday, May 23
Review at Unabridged Chick
Interview at Layered Pages

Tuesday, May 24
Interview at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, May 25
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Thursday, May 26
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Monday, May 30
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, May 31
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.