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. . . .
Sometimes when you read a book, the only word that can describe it is FABULOUS!! Mrs. Poe is one such book. I had a hard time putting it down and honestly, it’s been a few months since a book did that for me.
I will admit to not knowing much about Poe (and even less about Frances, who was a poet). Their relationship was my favourite part of the story. Though both were married – she to a man whore and he to a nut case – their friendship turned into more. And is it any wonder? That leads me to Mrs. Poe. How utterly and deliciously creepy she was. I found myself eagerly awaiting her presence in the story as she brought a darkness that I found intriguing.
I was completely drawn in to the story from the first page to the last. Not only is Lynn Cullen’s storytelling ability spot on, but her vivid descriptiveness gives the reader a real sense of being right there with Frances, Edgar, Virginia and the rest. The depictions of areas in New York, from the opulent to the seedy, gave breath to life in the 1800s. I love it when an author transports me to another time and drops me, quite happily, in the middle of another era with people who become special to me because they were obvious special to her, too.
Mrs. Poe will be published on October 1st, 2013 and is available for pre-order on most online book stores.
**I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**