Lincoln Discussion Symposium
Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters: A Novel - Printable Version

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Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters: A Novel - RJNorton - 06-11-2020 12:10 PM

Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters by Jennifer Chiaverini.

"In her latest Civil War-era novel featuring Mary Todd Lincoln, Chiaverini focuses on four of her sisters. A decade after the assassination of President Lincoln, Elizabeth, the oldest, learns that her estranged younger sister has been declared legally insane and committed to an asylum outside Chicago. Compelled by the bonds of sisterhood, Elizabeth offers Mary refuge in her house in Springfield and attempts to rally sisters Frances, Ann, and Emilie in support. But Mary’s relationships with nearly every member of her family has been strained, first by the war and then by Mary’s increasingly paranoid behavior. Moving backward and forward in time and shifting between the viewpoints of the Todd sisters, Chiaverini gradually reveals the family history behind the rifts and the bonds that remain. Through meticulously researched historical detail and sympathetic portrayal of each character, including Mary herself, Chiaverini provides a fascinating glimpse into the women of an influential family on the front lines of some of the most important moments of that indelible time."

RE: Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters: A Novel - Susan Higginbotham - 06-16-2020 07:47 PM

I just finished this. I enjoyed it, but the title is somewhat misleading because it really focuses on Mary's insanity trial and the aftermath seen through the viewpoint of her sisters, with flashbacks to various well-known incidents such as Emilie's White House stay. Still, the personalities of the various sisters are brought out, and it was nice to see Frances and Ann, who usually get ignored, given more attention.