Select one of the keywords
Mrs. Poe    by Lynn Cullen order for
Mrs. Poe
by Lynn Cullen
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The workings of human nature are strange. We fall in love. We fall out of love. We make mistakes only to make the same ones over again. We lie, cheat and steal but believe we are excused by the man upstairs because we didn't really mean any harm.

Virginia Poe seems to be such a person. Married at thirteen to her cousin Edgar Allen Poe, we learn she was dying of consumption in her twenties. She, her mother and her poet husband arrived in New York City in 1845, just as his magnetic poem, The Raven, achieved great acclaim. He is constantly asked by the man on the street to say Nevermore.

Frances Osgood is also a poet, but has not reached the peak of her career. She is married to a man who ran off and left her with two children and no money. Friends take her and her children in. Through them, she meets Poe. While she admires his talent, she soon realizes that she has fallen in love with him. And he, with her. But what about the very ill wife? Frances begins to realize she likes Virginia but cannot ignore her feelings for Edgar.

However, the relationship between Virginia and Frances takes many nasty twists and turns and takes on a mysterious air. The whole story of Mrs. Poe takes on the aspect of one of Edgar Allen Poe's dark tales.

I found Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen to be beautifully written, and evocative of the times. Cullen's renderings of what conversations at social gatherings might have been like bring the reader right into the scene to become a part of these gatherings.

This was a very intriguing and entertaining book. I had a little trouble with the title being named after Poe's wife and not his love interest. After all, Frances tells the tale. But that is of little note. I can remember when I was around 9 or 10, I fell and broke my elbow. This was many years ago before emergency rooms and I was sent home from the hospital and told to come back in the morning. To keep my mind off the pain, my mother read Poe's stories to me. It worked. Though I do still get a twinge or two when I hear of his writing.

Finally, I learned what the man behind The Pit and the Pendulum was like.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Historical books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews