Thursday, February 15, 2018

Book Review: 'Loving Eleanor' by Susan Wittig Albert

Texas author Susan Wittig Albert has steeped into the historical biography arena in writing about the love between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok at a particularly propitious time. With many films about same sex love between women (‘Carol’, ‘Hannah Free’, 'Freeheld’, ‘This is where I leave you’, Gertrude Stein and Alice B.Toklas etc.) this historic account is most welcome – not only because it explores same sex love but also because it allows us to appreciated the great Eleanor Roosevelt on more levels that we have appreciated.

Susan’s writing style while factual and accurate allows the love between these tow women to grow and breathe and makes us all in awe of how women in that particular time could experience the depth of love they very obviously shared. At times the synopsis written by the author outshines any brief overview by others and that is most assuredly the case here: ‘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.’

Give yourself the gift and pleasure of reading tis superlative book – for your pleasure and edification. It is a splendid work. Grady Harp, February 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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