Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Mrs. Poe

I Love this book. I really, really love this book. Just had to say that. 

 

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

A vivid and compelling novel about a woman who becomes entangled in an affair with Edgar Allan Poe—at the same time she becomes the unwilling confidante of his much-younger wife.

It is 1845, and Frances Osgood is desperately trying to make a living as a writer in New York; not an easy task for a woman—especially one with two children and a philandering portrait painter as her husband. As Frances tries to sell her work, she finds that editors are only interested in writing similar to that of the new renegade literary sensation Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, “The Raven” has struck a public nerve.

She meets the handsome and mysterious Poe at a literary party, and the two have an immediate connection. Poe wants Frances to meet with his wife since she claims to be an admirer of her poems, and Frances is curious to see the woman whom Edgar married.

As Frances spends more and more time with the intriguing couple, her intense attraction for Edgar brings her into dangerous territory. And Mrs. Poe, who acts like an innocent child, is actually more manipulative and threatening than she appears. As Frances and Edgar’s passionate affair escalates, Frances must decide whether she can walk away before it’s too late…

Set amidst the fascinating world of New York’s literati, this smart and sexy novel offers a unique view into the life of one of history’s most unforgettable literary figures.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book affected me deeply. First of all, I must admit before getting into the following review that I am somewhat of a E.A.P. freak. His life and the mysterious way he often behaved are very interesting and in my opinion, perfect material for a novel of this type.

I expected this to be good, and instead it was great. I don’t get the chance to say that very often. If you are not familiar with the famous poet and his life, you can still read this novel without any issue. Lynn Cullen included enough history on him, Virginia and Frances to make the reader feel comfortable and not as though they had been dropped into the middle of someone’s life without warning.The relationship she described between Virginia and Frances was exactly what one would have expected if there were a great secret being upheld in such a situation.

I also appreciated the way the author portrayed Muddy. It is very clear that Lynn Cullen did hours of painstaking research before assembling her most amazing novel. Opinions on the life of those who left the world before us are always objective, but this is a testament to what a good imagination and a ready pen can do.

The way she built up the romance between Frances and Edgar was handled wonderfully. Even though the actual nature of their relationship has been debated for long years amongst the more staunch Poe historians, I would like to believe that it could have been very similar to what was penned here. Two literary lovers on the cusp of fame, finding one another and forming an unbreakable bond–what can I say, I am a romantic.

If I had to choose a favourite part of this book, I would definitely say that the realisation of Poe’s mistake in Boston and the lingering effects of his decision would be it. Watching the decline of the man through the eyes of this author was vivid, intelligent and sad, all at the same time.

One thing worth a mention and that I found completely refreshing about this story, was that it seemed to intentionally neglect the alcoholism that Poe is famous for. It was mentioned a few times that he had not been drinking since a certain event happened, but the details of his drinking did not consume this story the way that so many others have been built around. Impressive, very.

This book flows well from the very beginning. Even the afterword is full of emotion. I generally leave off of a book with a dry eye, but not this time. Things are not all love and roses at the end of this story. They weren’t in reality at that time either. People were dying left and right of consumption (Tuberculosis) and often people died young. I was happy to see that they author did not end this book on an “everyone lives perfectly happy” kind of note.

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely. This is one of the best books that I have EVER read and I strongly encourage you to check it out, Poe fan or not, the writing is just that good.

This review is based on a digital ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley.


21 thoughts on “Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen”

  1. I’ll have to look for it when it comes out. I really like how the alcoholism is ignored. I read a few Poe articles way back and it was always the focal point. It’s so consuming at times.

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  2. I am so glad that you found this so compelling, especially as it was about someone close to your heart. For you to consider it to be one of the best books you have EVER read speaks volumes for the content and style of this book.

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