Orsolya's Reviews > Mary

Mary by Janis Cooke Newman
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Jun 23, 11

bookshelves: history, wishlist, library, favorites, mary-lincoln

By far, this is one of my favorite historical-fiction books. Newman succeeded in capturing the nuances, pains, entertainments, thoughts, and emotions of a wholly tragic and yet strong hero: Mary, the FIRST "First Lady".

If you see the other reviews, much debate comes across regarding whether Mary was a strong, feminine role model who simply wanted the love of her husband and children, or one with insane tendacies and paranoid thoughts. The fact that this debate exists, demonstrates that not only was Mary a complex creature but that Newman was able to successfully bring this complexity to light. Job well done.

Although for the record, I believe that Mary was more strong than anything and that yes, she has some "crazy" behaviors, but this was merely those that she was driven to due to her strife. People do crazy things when trying to emotionally survive. Plus, her actions weren't crazy, they were more psychologically obsessive-compulsive by nature.

Newman intricately weaved a smooth blanket of the storyline of Mary recalling her life while in a mental institute. The modern and past storylines were clearly delineated and you felt for Mary during both times.

One of the standout characters? Son Robert Todd. Stubborn and prenticious, I grew to hate him. There was so much that was clear to me in Mary's actions that Robert just wasn't seeing. Whether he was a bad person or just a rebellious son, is debatable but Newman, again, brought the character to life.

Strong, emotional, passionate; this novel has brings Mary and her family to life. You will never view the Lincolns the same again.
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