White Houses

White Houses

by Amy Bloom

Overview: Lorena Hickok meets Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt’s first presidential campaign. Having grown up worse than poor in South Dakota and reinvented herself as the most prominent woman reporter in America, “Hick,” as she’s known to her friends and admirers, is not quite instantly charmed by the idealistic, patrician Eleanor. But then, as her connection with the future first lady deepens into intimacy, what begins as a powerful passion matures into a lasting love, and a life that Hick never expected to have. She moves into the White House, where her status as “first friend” is an open secret, as are FDR’s own lovers. After she takes a job in the Roosevelt administration, promoting and protecting both Roosevelts, she comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend, capable of changing lives even after his death. Through it all, even as Hick’s bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life.

From Washington, D.C. to Hyde Park, from a little white house on Long Island to an apartment on Manhattan’s Washington Square, Amy Bloom’s new novel moves elegantly through fascinating places and times, written in compelling prose and with emotional depth, wit, and acuity.

Faith Bowers (05/04/18): This novel is for those who love historical fiction and books about women as it is all Eleanor Roosevelt and her lover Lorena Hickok during the time of the FDR’s presidency.

This is a fast and easy read and very interesting because the perception of women having a women lover is not real in the eyes of the world dominated by men. Ms. Bloom introduced the counterpart of a male homosexual Roosevelt cousin who’s activities lost him his positions in government. Did lesbians have more freedom in not being scandalized?

The descriptions of Hick’s growing up life compared to Eleanor’s is part of their attraction and what makes this a good story. I enjoyed the way the novel transitions from their shared intimacy immediately after FRD’s death and how they got to that point. Enjoy this good book.
Rating: ***

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