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How Do I Love Thee? (Ladies of History #4)

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  603 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
She dreams of love for others but never for herself...

Elizabeth Barrett is a published poet--and a virtual prisoner in her own home. Blind family loyalty ties her to a tyrannical father who forbids any of his children to marry. Bedridden by chronic illness, she has resigned herself to simply existing. That is, until the letter arrives...

"I love your verses with all my hea

Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Bethany House
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,614)
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Age Appropriate For: 15 and up for romance and minor violence
Best for Ages: 18 and up

I have loved this whole series by Nancy Moser. I only have one left to read (Mozart’s Sister), and I am looking forward to it. Moser does her research on a character then writes a novel that makes you feel not only like you have met the person, but also makes you feel as if you know a lot of the history.

Some people found this novel very upsetting, because they did not understand the historical context. Elizabet
May 23, 2009 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Oh, where to begin? This novel by Nancy Moser tells the story of Elizabeth Barrett and how she became Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It starts with the accidental death of her brother while at Torquay and covers the next few years of EBB's life, including her courtship and marriage to Robert Browning, ending after the birth of their son.

I don't have much good to say about this novel. The description made it appear that this was mostly going to be the tale of EBB and RB - how they met and fell in lo
Jun 21, 2009 Alison rated it really liked it
Because this is a Christian book I thought it would follow the road of basic writing and too much preaching, but I was wrong. I picked it up solely because I love EBB's poetry and the love story between her and Robert. The author made his story come to life in 19th century language and a vocabulary that surpasses most novels. She also used real letters wrien even to provide correct conversation, trying to make the evens as close to the truth as possible. Even her use of God was as it would be in ...more
Christian/historical fiction. My favorite thing about Nancy Moser's Ladies of History series (this is book 4) is how much you learn about each selected lady. The details of life in the chosen time period as well as personal events and feelings are plentiful (thank you!). I feel that the author gets better with each book. This story in particular was wonderful because she beautifully describes how faithful Elizabeth Barrett Browning (and others in her life) are to God and His will (even if it can ...more

I knew from the first moment I read the description of this book that Elizabeth Barrett Browning and I probably had more in common than I realized. We're both the firstborn in large families (10 or more children), unmarried into our 30's (or beyond), and have at least one oppressive parent. Even so, I wasn't prepared to open this book and find so much of my own journey within the pages. Elizabeth's battles held a striking familiarity with those I have faced in my own life.

Elizabeth Barrett's fa
Feb 11, 2010 Cassandra rated it really liked it
I loved this book. This is the first Nancy Moser book I've read but I can't wait to get my hands on others.

I couldn't decide if I was going to give this book a 4 or 5 star rating. It was a bit slow in the first couple chapters and I almost returned the book to the library. But then I started getting really interested in Elizabeth and Robert and wanted to know how they were going to marry. If I could, I'd give this book a 4.5 rating.

While reading through the book, I couldn't help but wonder how
Jennifer AlLee
Aug 04, 2009 Jennifer AlLee rated it really liked it
In How Do I Love Thee, author Nancy Moser gives us a glimpse into the life of Elizabeth Barrett. The title refers, of course, to her famous poem. Including lines like “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach,” I’ve always thought of Barrett as a passionate woman who lived a big life. Seems I didn't get that quite right.

The book opens with a housebound Barrett. In her thirties, she is already published and known for her poetry. But she is bedridden by a mysterious chron
Joy H.
Added 4/18/15. Read during March & April 2015.
Interesting account of the love affair between Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. Elizabeth's father forbade her to marry and that caused her much heartache. However, Robert Browning convinced her to marry him and that story is interesting.

I felt that the beginning of the story went very slowly but I stayed with it because of the subject-matter.
Dec 07, 2015 Celestial rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-disliked
To me this book was very boring. The characters were okay, but the book itself was bland.
Nov 01, 2009 Lauren rated it it was amazing
I loved this book I knew the story of the Brownings because I'd seen the movie "The Barrets Of Wimpole Street" starring John Gielgud and Jennifer Jones. It makes me want to re-watch the movie all over again. I also knew the poem "How Do I Love Thee" by heart and it is one of my favorite poems. Looking forward to reading more by Nancy Moser.
Jul 21, 2014 Eleni rated it liked it
Author Nancy Moser takes on the iconic love story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning in this historical romance. Some of the dialogue seemed a little stilted, and I think readers interested in the love story of these two poets should probably read the play The Barretts of Wimpole Street. The play takes more poetic license perhaps, but the drama concentrates the essence of the story and bristles with a vitality the novel seems to lack. Still, How Do I Love Thee? offers an interesti ...more
Dec 10, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fictional account of the love story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning, two of England's great poets. Though it is fictional, it is based on real life events. Going in, I didn't know much about the life of either of these poets. I was familiar with a few of their poems, but didn't realize what a dramatic life they lead. Elizabeth was basically an invalid from the time she was a teenager. It isn't clear what her illness was but it was suggested she suffered from injuries ...more
Mar 20, 2010 Claire rated it it was ok
Shelves: historicals
I've finally reached an impasse with this book. It needs to go back to the library and I have not yet finished it. What do I do? After thinking about it for a bit, I decided that this book is much too slow. After reading approx. 200 pages, the characters still were not progressing very far.
The book is written in the first person. We follow Elizabeth Barrett. At times I really enjoyed this character, especially when her poetry was discussed and she got more involved with her writing. I did not e
Amanda Caswell
Naturally, after reading Sonnets from the Portuguese: A Celebration of Love by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and hearing the truly romantic tale of her elopement with fellow poet Robert Browning, I also fell victim to romanticizing the best love story of the Victorian age. As soon as I heard about this book, naturally I had to read it, and I must joyfully admit I found it very different than what I was expecting. The story begins at the tragic death of Elizabeth's brother, Bro, and carries the read ...more
Apr 06, 2011 Pattyrflg rated it liked it
This Christian author’s books were suggested by a friend. This was not one of the suggested books just the only one in our library. It is the story of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning—how they met, fell in love and eventually married. Both had achieved some literary success, although Elizabeth’s poetry was more critically acclaimed than Robert’s at the time. Elizabeth is about 36 years old when the story opens and because of continuing health problems she is living near the sea. She is a re ...more
Jan 11, 2011 Regina rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book! Nancy Moser drew you in from the first page to the very end. I highly recommend picking up this book and reading it! Moser has interwoven fact with fiction very well. I am looking forward to reading more of her books.

Ba had to go through a lot of things in her life with her illness, and a father who ruled the household with an iron thumb. The trials Ba goes through, the emotions, and finally the happiness will make you think of your life and just maybe it relates to B
May 26, 2009 Nicole rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
My most recent read has been How Do I Love Thee by Nancy Moser from BethanyHouse Publishers. To be released June 1, 2009 in Trade Paperback. I received an ARC copy from LibraryThing's EarlyReviewers program.

The year is 1845. Elizabeth Barrett is a published poet--and a virtual prisoner in her own home. Blind family loyalty ties her to a tyrannical father who forbids any of his children to marry. She has resigned herself to simply existing. That is, until the letter arrives... "I l
Sep 10, 2010 Liz rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her secret romance with Robert Browning. Being a 39 year old invalid bound to her room, she enjoys the pleasure of correspondence with writers. When faced with the opportunities to meet her correspondents face to face, her reclusiveness causes her to battle fear of people and the outside world constantly. But then Robert Browning writes her a letter, and her life changes forever.

The title, taken from one of her sonnets, is quite appropriate as
Lynn Spencer
First of all, I'd give this book 2.5 stars. It's not terrible, but parts of it are quite frustrating to read.

The novel tells the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and since I find her sonnets beautiful, I thought it would be interesting. From the cover blurb, one would think that it primarily covers her romance with Robert Browning, but the book actually starts earlier than that. For the first hundred or so pages, we mainly get a feel for Elizabeth's life as the overly sheltered 36-year-old da
Jun 22, 2014 Brittany rated it really liked it
How Do I Love Thee is a well written book with E.B.B and R.B as very vibrant characters. I was very excited to read this book because I have read some of Mrs. E.B Browning's work, How Do I thee being my favourite. Elizabeth was so strong, determined, smart and vibrant. I liked the story line as well. Incorporating some of the poems with the story made it become full of life. However, the story was very slow at times.

Overall - I truly enjoyed this novel. Thank Ms. Moser for writing it.
Carol Evans
Apr 13, 2014 Carol Evans rated it liked it
This was the book chosen by my book club to read this month. It's the story of the adult life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I love historical fiction so expected to enjoy this book. However, I found the book boring and almost unbelievable. Yet, it's true. All of it. I would have given this book two stars because, for much of the story, I couldn't stay focused. However, I gave it three stars because E.B.B. led a very unusual life and the author did her research well.
Sep 17, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
This was a very good, accurate portrayal of the life of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It was a little bit slow moving at times, especially at the beginning, so I debated about whether it deserved 3 or 4 stars. The later part of the book was so good that I ended up with the higher of the two; I found myself cheering her on as she made small changes in her life. It is also a lovely touch that the author lets you know which parts are actually based on true events, and ahe also includes her best- ...more
Aug 11, 2014 April rated it it was ok
I LOVE the love story of the Barretts....but this fell very flat :( I certainly learned alot, but I ended up skimming b/c the book was just toooo slow. Not enough action and TONS of EBB's supposed thoughts. It just dragged :( EBB and Robert don't even MEET until page 173. Wish I could have liked this better. Oh well....
Angel Pascoe
My Goodness, Elizabeth is whiny, self centered and bratty thus far! I haven't gotten to the romance yet, but it's the idea of it that is all keeping me reading. I've nearly quit 2 times because she's just so...unlikeable.

I was excited for this book so i hope it gets better...
About the middle, this picks up as Elizabeth meets Robert and gets less self involved, etc. Definitely an improvement. Stick it out!
Wavering between rating this one a 2 star versus a 3 star. Again, I wish GoodReads had a half star system! I've read several other Nancy Moser books and enjoyed them. I did enjoy this one, but perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for this book, or type of book. It seemed fairly ... tedious, at times. The dialogue was troublesome for me (owing to the time and how I guess she thought Elizabeth Barrett would speak). And it just seemed to go over and over with her illness, reclusiveness, etc. I did lik ...more
Jul 03, 2011 Breeana rated it liked it
This wasn't necessarily a page-turner for me, but I enjoyed it.

You really read a lot, over and over, how she's an invalid and blindly devoted to her father. EBB and RB's romance was the most colorful part of the book, whereas most of the book seemed focused on her emotionally and physically weak state, never leaving her room, and mourning the death of her brother.

I absolutely loved how Robert Browning (according to this story) treated Elizabeth, the way he was so interested in her every thought
Jul 17, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it
Christian romance isn't something I'd normally pick up, but I highly enjoyed this one, even more so when I read the section of the author's notes called "Fact or Fiction": everything in the book happened in real life! Elizabeth and Robert were written very well and although their romance doesn't begin until halfway (or a little over halfway) into the book, it's... it's so sweet and gentle. I loved it.

The two downfalls of the book (that didn't get it a 5 star rating) is that the author doesn't pr
Very interesting biographical fiction. I could identify with Elizabeth Barrett's timidity, love of writing, and somewhat her lack of socializing, but not every aspect of her life. I think the author did a good job in the main of telling the story as if from E.B.B.'s pen.
Lisa M.
Apr 20, 2014 Lisa M. rated it really liked it
this a great behind the scenes look into the seclusion of Elizabeth Barrett Browning before she meets and corresponds with Robert Browning. I loved how the real letters, sonnets and poems by both were worked into the story.
Jan 27, 2011 Nona rated it did not like it
The entire first half of this novel is spent telling us over and over of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's feelings about her invalid lifestyle and her controlling father, which made her feel insecure and isolated. One well written chapter would have been enough for us to understand her situation before meeting Robert Browning. Reading their letters to each other was nearly like reading their poetry. We have the feeling that they (especially Elizabeth) kept trying to explain half of the things they w ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Nov 20, 2014 12:58PM  
¿Por qué no una traducción al Español? 1 1 Oct 22, 2014 01:21PM  
Translation to Spanish, why not? 1 1 Jul 07, 2014 05:35PM  
Is It Historically Legitimate? 1 3 Dec 02, 2012 12:49PM  
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Nancy Moser is the author of over twenty-five novels, including "Love of the Summerfields", "The Journey of Josephine Cain", "Mozart's Sister", "Washington's Lady", A Basket Brigade Christmas Collection", "An Unlikely Suitor", The Sister Circle Series, and "Time Lottery", a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, as well as giving a first-person dramatizations in costume as Martha W ...more
More about Nancy Moser...

Other Books in the Series

Ladies of History (4 books)
  • Mozart's Sister (Ladies of History, #1)
  • Just Jane (Ladies of History, #2)
  • Washington's Lady (Ladies of History, #3)

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“And though many women might enjoy the offering of such compliments, I did not want him to love me based on temporal things like a smile or voice or presence, things that could vanish through mood or an unexpected cloud. He must love me for the sake of love alone . . .” 4 likes
“I reached for the notebook which was always close by. All thoughts of composing epic poems of Greek heroes had left me. The words that often burst from my onto the paper in recent days would be considered mere nothings to the world, but they were everything to me . . . They were the pourings of my heart FOR my heart . . .” 3 likes
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