I have long been a fan of Lynn Cullen’s novels and once again she turns out one of the most impressive novels I’ve listened to in a long time in the pages of Mrs. Poe. Lynn Cullen has brought Edgar Allan Poe alive in this novel weaving fact and fiction seamlessly to give us a glimpse into who this man really was. Mrs. Poe is a fascinating and captivating novel that held me in it’s thrall from the very first page!
The novel takes place in 1800’s New York as Frances Osgood, a writer herself, becomes embroiled in an affair with the enigmatic Edgar Allan Poe. Amid rumors that her husband, who left and hasn’t come back, is flirting with many young ladies Frances is just struggling to care for her two children. At this time in history it wasn’t easy for women striving to have a literary career and Frances can’t seem to sell any of her work. It seems all anyone can talk about is the newest and most popular Edgar Allan Poe and his poem ‘The Raven’. Frances has read his work and frankly can’t see what so fiercely attracts people to it. Then she meets him and immediately sparks fly between the two.
Poe then tells Frances that his wife has always loved Frances’ poetry and would love nothing more than to meet her. Upon meeting Mrs. Poe Frances realizes first of all that she is quite young and childlike but also quite sick. Over time as she spends more time with Poe her meetings with Mrs. Poe become more strained and she begins to feel very uncomfortable with her. As Frances and Edgar take their affair to new levels it seems that Mrs. Poe becomes decidedly unstable and Frances begins to wonder if she need fear for her own safety. Yet can she really walk away from this man she feels so passionately for?
I so enjoyed this novel and even more enjoyable was listening to it. It is read by Eliza Foss who has a very classy tone of voice making her the perfect choice for narrating this tale. I hadn’t known much about Edgar Allan Poe before listening to this book beyond some of his poetry but I feel much more educated now. Lynn’s impeccable research shines through every page of this novel and I like nothing more in my historical fiction than learning something new.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy literary historical fiction! I loved it!
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