Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Frances Osgood, Edgar Allen Poe Romance

Left in New York by her philandering husband, Samuel Osgood, Frances, an accomplished poet, tries to find a way to support her daughters. She's told by one editor that her poetry isn't commercial. He wants something like Edgar Allen Poe's, The Raven, currently the toast of New York. Frances resents the suggestion that she should emulate Poe and produce tales of horror, but when she meets him at a salon, she is drawn to him. Their romance begins.

The novel uses the historical facts to weave a story that might have been. I very much enjoyed the opening of the book and the glimpse of literary New York in 1845. I thought the author did an excellent job of creating the atmosphere. However, the second half of the book read like a typical romance novel. Frances is constantly worrying about her relationship with Poe and what people will
say. Mrs. Poe changes the equation by inviting Frances to become a visitor, if not a friend. This is a documented fact, but I thought the author veered from an interesting friendship into one of Poe's horror stories.

If you enjoy historical fiction, you'll like the scene in this novel. However, I would take the relationship portrayed between the major characters, Frances, Poe and Mrs. Poe with a grain of salt. It's fun to speculate, but I think this novel veers off course.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.