When AP political reporter Lorena Hickok—Hick—is assigned to cover Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1932 campaign, the two women become deeply involved. Their relationship begins with mutual romantic passion, matures through stormy periods of enforced separation and competing interests, and warms into an enduring, encompassing friendship documented by 3300 letters.
Set during the chaotic years of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Second World War, Loving Eleanor reveals Eleanor Roosevelt as a complex, contradictory, and entirely human woman who is pulled in many directions by her obligations to her husband and family and her role as the nation’s First Lady. Hick is revealed as an accomplished journalist, who, at the pinnacle of her career, gives it all up for the woman she loves. Then, as Eleanor is transformed into Eleanor Everywhere, First Lady of the World, Hick must create her own independent, productive life. Loving Eleanor is a profoundly moving novel that illuminates a relationship we are seldom privileged to see, celebrating the depth and durability of women’s love.
Title: Loving Eleanor
Author: Susan Wittig Albert
Genre: Fiction | Historical Fiction | Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Persevero Press
Release Date: February 1, 2016
The Roosevelts have always fascinated me, even as a girl. Perhaps it was my mother’s stories of life when FDR was in office, or how she believed Eleanor set the standard for independence among women. And this brings me to Loving Eleanor.
The Eleanor we know is the one found in documentaries, history books, and in the press. However, there is more to Eleanor’s rise to independence as the First Lady. Susan Wittig Albert brings us the story behind Eleanor’s public image in Loving Eleanor.
A young AP journalist, Lorena Hickok or “Hick,” is assigned to cover Eleanor Roosevelt in FDR’s 1932 bid for the presidency. Out of this assignment grew a friendship which evolved into a deeper relationship over time.
Without Hick’s willingness to share her knowledge of the press, the First Lady might have never emerged as the heroine of the downtrodden. Hick taught Eleanor how to “use” the media to exert her independence during FDR’s four terms in office. Hick suggested the First Lady’s press conferences and her newspaper column, My Day.
This new image of Eleanor Roosevelt, a surprise to many, launched the First Lady into the lives of the American people. At the same time, Hick’s innovative suggestions once implemented tore Eleanor away from Hick.
Hick gave women an incredible role model in shaping Eleanor Roosevelt’s time as the First Lady of America. It is tragic that in time it would bring to an end that which both Hick and Eleanor had cherished for so long–their deeply intimate relationship.
Once again, Susan Wittig Albert has used her inimitable research talents to bring from the past a story never known to most of the reading public. Using a collection of letters between Eleanor and Hick, sealed following Hick’s death for a decade, Albert shares the story of two women considered not so conventional at the time and who risk stepping outside their “boxes.” The result is a beautiful rendering of a remarkable love shared by these women.
Albert’s bibliography and her list of resources give the reader a roadmap to learning more about these two fascinating women.
Anyone who enjoys reading about our country’s Presidents and their First Ladies will enjoy Loving Eleanor. Written by Susan Wittig Albert, a pre-eminent writer of historical fiction, the reader can trust the word on the page to be accurately researched and for the story to be true to the best of her knowledge. Susan’s writing style is fluid and transitions from chapter to chapter seamless. I look forward to each of her new books and the opportunity to read them.
Loving Eleanor is a 5-star work, and I’m pleased to give it that rating here.
Susan Wittig Albert is the award-winning, NYT bestselling author of the forthcoming historical novel Loving Eleanor (2016), about the intimate friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok; and A Wilder Rose (2014), about Rose Wilder Lane and the writing of the Little House books.
Her award-winning fiction also includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Darling Dahlias, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.
Her nonfiction titles include What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest(winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); Writing from Life: Telling the Soul’s Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman’s Guide to Success Off the Career Track.
She is founder and current president (2015-2017) of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.
Susan is available for interviews, guest blog posts, and a limited number of author appearances. For information, email Susan’s webmaster.
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