Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen
Mrs. Poe was one of those stories that creeps up on you. It makes you curious at first and then the further along you go, the more you want to know. This is a book I usually categorized as fictionalized biographies, we are given real people but the story is made up, usually based on some facts but overall is the product of creative imagination. The setting is New York in 1845, and the characters are the well known figures in the literary world. At this time Edgar Allan Poe is the current star. The premise is based on a rumor of his unfounded affair with Frances Osgood, another writer of poetry. She at this particular time was relatively well known for writing children's stories but is also publishing poetry. Both were married at this time. If you go by facts the so called affair was based on a rumor and some of Mrs. Osgood's poetry published then was suggestive that there was something between her and Poe. Surprisingly enough, Mrs. Poe, Virginia, seemed to encouraged the friendship between them. Based on fact they remained married to their spouses until their lifetime (however short it was) and nothing of the said affair was ever established. This is where fact and fiction meet, Mrs. Poe gives us the fictionalized version of this particular time, giving substance to an otherwise ethereal truth. The writing was fantastic. While reading I felt I was there, walking thru 19th century New York, hobnobbing with the literary elite, engaged in the interactions between Poe and Frances. Their interactions were as nuanced as the poetry they write, and there was a lot of poetry here as well. Some of the well known figures of that time were fleshed out adding depth to this piece. The Mrs. Poe alluded to in the title, was something that the author has used to device a twist in the plot. It could have been indicating Frances as she in one particularly scene was the Mrs. to Edgar's Mr. Or it simply was Virginia, whose motivation in encouraging her husband's friendship with Frances seemed reeked in some malicious manipulation. Overall, Mrs. Poe is one book you should not miss.
*The ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
A writer and his demons. A woman and her desires. A wife and her revenge . . .
Inspired by literature’s most haunting love triangle, award-winning author Lynn Cullen delivers a pitch-perfect rendering of Edgar Allan Poe, his mistress’s tantalizing confession, and his wife’s frightening obsession . . . in this “intelligent, sexy, and utterly addictive” (M. J. Rose) new masterpiece of historical fiction.
1845: New York City is a sprawling warren of gaslit streets and crowded avenues, bustling with new immigrants and old money, optimism and opportunity, poverty and crime. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is all the rage—the success of which a struggling poet like Frances Osgood can only dream. As a mother trying to support two young children after her husband’s cruel betrayal, Frances jumps at the chance to meet the illustrious Mr. Poe at a small literary gathering, if only to help her fledgling career. Although not a great fan of Poe’s writing, she is nonetheless overwhelmed by his magnetic presence— and the surprising revelation that he admires her work.
What follows is a flirtation, then a seduction, then an illicit affair . . . and with each clandestine encounter, Frances finds herself falling slowly and inexorably under the spell of her mysterious, complicated lover. But when Edgar’s frail wife Virginia insists on befriending Frances as well, the relationship becomes as dark and twisted as one of Poe’s tales. And like those gothic heroines whose fates are forever sealed, Frances begins to fear that deceiving Mrs. Poe may be as impossible as cheating death itself. . . .
Title: Mrs. Poe
Author: Lynn Cullen
Genre: Historical Fiction, Gothic Romance
Published: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Pocketbooks/Gallery/Simon & Schuster
Rating: ♨♨♨♨ 4 of 5 ( A novel full of mystery, quite prose, nuance writing with subtle emotions. Lovers of historical fictions will like this one very much)