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Helen Keller in Love

3.04  ·  Rating details ·  670 ratings  ·  180 reviews
A captivating novel that explores the little-known romance of a beloved American icon

Helen Keller has long been a towering figure in the pantheon of world heroines. Yet the enduring portrait of her in the popular imagination is The Miracle Worker, which ends when Helen is seven years old.

Rosie Sultan’s debut novel imagines a part of Keller’s life she rarely spoke of or wro
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 26th 2012 by Viking (first published April 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  670 ratings  ·  180 reviews


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BAM The Bibliomaniac
LOOSELY historical
GREATLY hysterical

My friend and I read a chapter of this book every night she comes to visit with me. It really cheers us up. Yes, we are going to hell.

This author really doesn't have the gift of metaphor, but boy, are we getting a kick out of what she does write. "Brought alive cravings in me like an empty mouth"

So finally finished. The are very few sources of this fleeting relationship between Peter Fagin and Helen. Most of this book is conjecture. As happy as I am for Helen
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Cj W
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone loving historical fictions
Saw this book sitting on a shelf in the library and decided it looked interesting, picked it up.

The book just what the title says, a story about Helen Keller being in love. I wasn't aware of this until I read the notes in the back of the book, but it's a historical fiction, and there are stories and rumors about her love interest, Mr. Peter Fagan. This book aims to fill in the holes in the story and tell it from Helen's point of view.

The story is well written and it flows quite well, from one
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MaryannC. Book Freak
Dec 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Okay, having read the mixed reviews for this book, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can understand some of the low ratings for this novel because this story seems to go against what Helen Keller was, a woman of strength who overcame some of the hardest obstacles any person could ever face. But for me, reading this showed me that Helen Keller was also human. She wanted to love and be loved, she wanted a family and she wanted to experience life the way many of us do. This re-imagined ...more
Paul Dinger
May 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
It isn't many books that totally disprove it's own central tenants as effectivly as this book does. When you think of what a problem communication was for Ms Keller, the more stupid this book becomes. This is a ludicrious love story that despite it's biblography couldn't have been well researched. How can the immediate attraction presented here have happened? Since communication for Helen was so difficult could she really have been talking in such zinging punchy dialouge? It is a shame that this ...more
Jackie
I've been fascinated by Helen Keller my whole life, reading bio after bio after bio about her. While this book is a work of historical fiction, there is a historical base to it--Helen Keller did indeed have a short love affair in the fall of 1916 with Peter Fagan , a failed reporter who was hired to be Keller's assistant when Anne Sullivan became too ill with what was suspected to be tuberculosis. Keller was still relentlessly touring, a proud Socialist and against the war, donating money to bli ...more
Wendy
Jun 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. I've been fascinated with Helen Keller since I was a kid and had never heard that she had had a lover...or heard ANY stories beyond her carefully managed public persona. I'm sad to report that this book does not accomplish what it set out to do - present Helen Keller as a real person, with desires and hopes and wishes like any ordinary person would have.

First the good things - the book does a good job of painting a picture of Helen as a constructed public being
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Tara Chevrestt
As a deaf woman, I've always idolized Helen Keller or my idea of her. A woman that overcame not just deafness but also blindness. If Helen Keller could learn to do for herself, then so could I. This novel dashes to absolute Hell, my good opinion, my idolizing of Helen Keller. I had to keep telling myself it's a fiction...it's a novel. Though, I worry some of it may be true.

Helen Keller was NOT independent at all in this. She can't do anything without Annie and Annie set up to be so. "You don't
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Lydia Laceby
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Reviewed at Novel Escapes

I really, really wanted to love this novel. Like many people, I knew some of Helen Keller's story before cracking open Helen Keller in Love, but I wasn't familiar with her entire life. The idea of a secret love intrigued me and I had looked forward to learning more about her life and the love she kept secret, but I unfortunately I really struggled with this novel.

This must have been an incredibly challenging novel to write and kudos to Sultan for tackling it. I couldn’t
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Barb
I recently read 'Twain's End' by Lynn Cullen, in it the author depicts a scene where Helen Keller, Annie Sullivan Macy and her husband John Macy visit Twain at his home. Cullen has Helen and John Macy appear to be emotionally involved with one another, which made me go, hmmmm?

That scene tipped off my memory of this book and its story about Helen having an affair and I knew I wanted to read it. I was curious to see how Rosie Sultan would depict the relationship between Helen and John Macy.

I was
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Nancy
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I learned about Helen Keller in school just like all kids my age. Did I see “The Miracle Worker” you bet I did! I was as awestruck by Anne Sullivan’s teaching methods and Helen’s “AHA” moment as you all were. Did a bit of research on dogs and Helen Keller because we were raising Akitas at the time and she brought the first one to America.
What I had no clue about were the restrictions placed on Helen Keller the person. She was never allowed to go anywhere alone (probably a good idea considering….
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Ruth
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
It's obvious that Ms. Sultan has done vast amounts of research, and for that I commend her. It's too bad that in reality the love letters between Helen and Peter were burned, because I have a feeling that the real story of their relationship--however deeply it may or may not have gone--was most likely quite different from the one Ms. Sultan has chosen to imagine. Helen Keller may have been a radical and a progressive woman for her time, but she was also a barely-post-Victorian woman who lived an ...more
Sandy Pothier
Sep 07, 2012 rated it liked it


I truly wanted to LOVE this book, but I came away feeling an immense sadness for Helen Keller. She wanted so much to be loved, thought she found it with Peter Fagan. He was a scoundrel(as others have written in their reviews)yet he opened up the desire in Helen that she needed. Because of her vision loss and hearing loss , Helen was totally dependent on others. Annie devoted her entire life to Helen. Without Anne Sullivan, Helen would never had gone to college. I hope Annie got a college degre
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Marialyce
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: june-2012
According to the author, there is evidence of a love affair between Helen Keller and Peter Fagan., a helper sent from the Perkins Institute when Annie Sullivan is diagnosed with tuberculosis. Of course everyone knows Helen's story, so tragic and yet so illuminating as to the places a human spirit can and does travel. Also, I would like to hope that Helen did have this chance at love and romance and that for a brief period of time she found it.

Unfortunately, as history tells us, Helen never marri
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Besides the obvious, I really know very little about Helen Keller. What little else I know comes solely from a book report I did on The Miracle Worker in third grade. So yeah, I'm not exactly a font of knowledge on Helen Keller. The book appealed to me largely because of the historical fiction aspects. Historical fiction, when well done, is a beautiful thing, and one of my favorite genres.

Thankfully, Helen Keller in Love has been quite well done, or so I feel. I did some very limited research on
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Steph Hundt
May 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was a very interesting take on Helen Keller and her life including the prospect that she found love. Although it is a work of fiction, Peter Fagan who she was engaged to marry in the book was her real personal secretary after Annie Sullivan fell ill with TB. I find Helen Keller to be an extremely intriguing person and love to read all I can about her and her life so I did enjoy this novel but wanted to enjoy it even more. Sultan does a great job of depicting Helen as a woman who "sees" the ...more
Angela Holland
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book from the first page. The writing style made it very quick to read and easy to follow. I have been a fan of Helen Keller's for a long time so I was not sure if I would like a book written about here that is not 100% fact. But I have to say I did enjoy it and thought it very interesting to see a different side of Helen then what you usually hear about. I felt bad at times for Helen when Anne and her mother kept trying to push Peter away and tell Helen that he was not good for h ...more
Quiltgranny
May 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
So the premise was a good one...a real piece of history that Helen Keller had a brief "affair". It is really a shame that the story was then a hodge podge of Helen's activism, Annie Sullivan's bad marriage, and most of all the "arrested " development " descriptions of a very implausible love story. I felt as if I was a young child sneaking a read on an erotic book .... He pressed himself against my thighs.....he filled me up...i felt that this was not welll developed or researched (contrary to t ...more
Colleen
Aug 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
Based on true facts about Helen Keller and her relationship with Peter Fagan, to whom she was briefly engaged but they were forced apart by her family. A bit irritating to read; I find it rather unbelievable that Helen was ready to jump in the sack with him literally from the moment she met him. And was he really that fast with fingerspelling that they had such sparkling conversations? For a deaf/blind person, she seems far too aware of colours and sounds (ie there was a flock of Canada geese ho ...more
Naomi
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I must say that I found this book fascinating. There are parts of the book which I would love to know where the author gatherered her information from or was it based on artistic liberties, but this book forced me to look at Helen Keller's later life (I had studied alot about her earlier life) so this really "wrapped" things up for me. I also liked that the author listed resources for a fiction book.
Amanda
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I would love a copy of this book. I enjoy reading about Helen Keller's life. In school she was my favorite person to read about and she still is. I enjoyed the auto bio's I found on her & other little books, I would love to read this, I didn't know she had a love romance with this guy.
Emily
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, first-read
Melissa
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Yeah, that’s right. Helen Keller was once in love.

And let’s cut right to the chase: there are a few steamy scenes in this book.

If you have an issue with that (the idea of Helen Keller being intimate with someone), read another book.

Apparently the notion of Helen Keller in a compromising position bothers a few folks, judging from several reviews I’ve read.

Which is exactly why this historical fiction novel is so important.

Well, one of the reasons, anyway.

“The blind are idolized for the wrong thin
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Marcy prager
As a young girl, I read The Story of My Life by Helen Keller. I learned about her struggle as a young deaf, dumb, blind and wild girl who lived in a total world of darkness and frustration, only to enter a world of understanding when Annie Sullivan entered her life and taught her how to communicate, giving her solid rules to live by. Helen went to the Perkins' School for the Blind, then on to Radcliffe, where she was revered by millions of people for overcoming her handicaps. At only 24 years ol ...more
Heather
“Helen Keller in Love” by Rosie Sultan is a story about Helen Keller when she was 36 years old and her love affair with her secretary, Peter Fagan. It is told through the voice of Helen Keller. The target audience for this book is young adults/adults.

Reading the synopsis of this book really intrigued me. Helen Keller really was an amazing woman who overcame incredible obstacles and her story deserves to be told. Usually we are only told the story of the childhood of Helen Keller, but this book t
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Holly Weiss
Helen Keller the miracle or Helen Keller the Human Being?

Article first published as Book Review: Helen Keller in Love by Rosie Sultan on Blogcritics

What happened to Helen Keller after The Miracle Worker? History records her graduating from college in 1904 and helping to found the ACLU in 1920. A devoted humanitarian, Helen constantly worked on behalf of those with disabilities. She learned several means of communication: lip touching, finger spelling, Braille, speech, typing. The historical rec
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Mandolin
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Since acting in the play, "The Miracle Worker," I have long admired Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan for overcoming the barriers of Helen's deaf and blind state through perseverance and determination. I was so excited and a bit apprehensive to see this book hit the shelves. It takes a strong writer to spin a fictionalized account of any historic figure, but especially one that is so revered as Ms. Keller. Though I was a bit saddened by some of her portrayal of the relationships Helen had with Ann ...more
Melissa Lee
Rating: 2.5/5

Known for being a strong minded political activist, this World War I setting gave a great backdrop to this love story. Especially due in part to Peter Fagan being an outspoken journalist himself. Despite the seriousness of the time and the threat of contagious disease, the tone of this novel was lighthearted. The devotion Helen and Annie shared for each other was quite touching and I enjoyed listening to their interactions.

Although Helen Keller in Love is a work of fiction, the au
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Lisa
Mar 17, 2014 rated it liked it
I had to read it for book group, but might not have finished it otherwise. I found it kind of insipid and in need of better editing; there was a lot of repetition and a few mistakes: places where Helen, the blind and deaf narrator, could not have perceived what she claimed.

However, we met the author at our meeting, and she was so engaging and smart and funny and full of passion for her subject that I warmed to it. I couldn't' decide whether the story felt so silly because Helen had been so chil
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Tonya
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Ward
'Helen in Love' is a fascinating and enlightening novel that speaks of a side of Helen Keller that the majority of the world has never seen or heard about. We read of Helen's one and only love affair with a man named Peter Fagan - how they met, how their relationship developed, and how it eventually came to an end. Helen had to keep her relationship with Peter a secret because her mother and her teacher, Annie, forbid her to marry. Through Helen's own point of view, we get to see a side of her t ...more
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