Loving Eleanor

Loving EleanorLoving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert
Published by Persevero Press on February 1st 2016
Pages: 306
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Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Loving Eleanor started really slow for me…as in I felt like I was reading information off Wikipedia. I had my doubts and at times in the first 20 pages or so, I thought of putting this book down. Then I found my stride, if you will. Or perhaps, I got past all of the information that is given to us in the beginning of this novel. I believe this book started slow for me because I was learning so many things that I did not know.

Susan Wittig Albert did a tremendous amount of research in preparation of writing this book. It is obvious in the writing. To say that I learned a lot is an understatement. I will be the first to admit that I really did not know all that much about Eleanor Roosevelt. Sure I liked a lot of things she said. I have posted her quotes on various forms of social media, but I really did not know much about the woman herself. I knew nothing about AP reporter Lorena Hicks “Hick”.

This book is a fictionalized biography based on the thousands of personal letters between Eleanor “Madame” and Lenora Hicks “Hick”. This books really shows what it is like to have a private/personal relationship with a very public figure. The story of two lonely people who found comfort in their relationship. The reader is also shown relationships that Eleanor had with her husband and others in her life.

Once I got past my reservations in the beginning of the book, I really began to enjoy the book. This book is not that big, page wise, but it felt like a big book/novel for me as it is so dense in information. It is beautifully written and a very enjoyable read.

I would recommend that if anyone feels the beginning of the books is slow, is to give it some time, let the information absorb as this book won me over. I really felt for both women at times. There is a passage where Eleanor talks about what her life will be like when her husband goes to the White House. She discusses how she feels she doesn’t do anything of consequence except teach and that she will not be able to do that once in the White House. She will only be able to “put on a gown and white gloves and stand in a receiving line and smile and say frivolous things to silly people. And the next night, I will do it all over again, and the next and the next.” That stuck with me as I wondered what must it have been like for a strong intelligent woman to not be able to live the life she wants to live.