White Houses by Amy Bloom
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was really looking forward to this book. I'm a longtime fan of Amy Bloom, and like how she writes somewhat quirky people inside relationships.
I like the idea of reading the untold story of the unknown (but open secret) lesbian lover of one of the greatest first ladies we've ever had in the United States.
But I think the author's lack of experience in writing historical fiction does not serve her well here. The pieces of the story are interesting but yet it is somehow not very well told.
It may still be worth reading for some - the relationship between Lorena and Eleanor definitely has some fire in it, and I liked imagining Eleanor through Lorena's eyes. At times I felt like I lacked some crucial details about the historical context that I wasn't getting from the book itself, things that would have helped me better understand the story. There are also some unfavorable comments about FDR, alongside some insights into his appeal, also coming from Lorena's perspective. Her childhood and circus past were... well, they were something else. At times it felt exaggerated and difficult to read as historical fiction. I'm not sure if it's because of the actual facts of the story being that extreme or if it's the writing, but I feel as if I'd have to read some biography of both Lorena and Eleanor to truly understand it all.
Thanks to the publisher for providing access to this title through NetGalley. The book came out this past Tuesday, February 13, 2018.
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