Sunday, February 10, 2008

The President's Lady

The President's Lady by Irving Stone is the 3rd book that I have read for the Back To History Challenge and I absolutely LOVED it. This was a book that I just couldn't put down and found myself thinking about during the day. It is a biographical novel, written in 1951, about the lives of Rachel and Andrew Jackson, told from Rachel's viewpoint. The author took great pains to research the Jacksons lives, thus the story is authentic, yet not at all boring. It does not read like a documentary but like a good story.

Rachel and Andrew met at her family plantation just outside of present day Nashville. Rachel was married but living back home because her insanely jealous and mentally abusive husband had turned her out, denouncing her and sending for her family to take her home. Andrew was a young lawyer who lived in one of the family cabins while building his practice. Rachel tryed, time and time again to reconcile with her husband, who would be repentant, wanting her back only to accuse her of the same flirtations once again, sending her back home. When word came that Rachels husband had secured a divorce, the first in the territory, Rachel and Andrew married. Two years later it came to light that the divorce was never granted. It was finally finished, with Rachel being accused of adultery because of the two years that the Jacksons lived as husband and wife. A second wedding ceremony took place immediately, but those two years would haunt them for the rest of their lives. Rachel was shunned by the vindictive town women, who thought she wasn't good enough to join their little clubs. Andrew was away from home more than half of their marriage, serving on the sentate, running for office or fighting in the war, so Rachel spent her time running their plantation, The Hermitage, and caring for any sick neighbors, her support and love for her husband never failing.

She was a remarkably strong woman in many ways. I found that I really liked Rachel Jackson. The author did a fantastic job of bringing her personality and who she was through in his writing. I sympathized with her, cried with her, hurt for her. What a wonderful historical novel.

I've had this book in my stacks for a couple of years now, picked it up at a thrift shop, but don't know when I ever would have gotten to it if it wasn't for this challenge. So glad I was prompted to read it. I've just heard that there was a movie made and now I'm on the hunt to find it...


Blogger Laura said...

I found your blog via Home at Last Farm...I was delighted to see your post on THE PRESIDENT'S LADY. Just about a year ago I was inspired to track the book down after seeing the movie for the first time (post here). It was fun to read your post on the book.

Best wishes,
Laura (whose favorites list also includes SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS)

4:25 PM  
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10:03 AM  
Blogger jenclair said...

I loved this book! My mother had a copy of the book, and I just fell in love with Rachel. It deserves a re-read, and I'll look for a copy. Thanks for reminding me!

4:20 AM  

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