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Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  3,807 ratings  ·  629 reviews
Mary Todd Lincoln is one of history’s most misunderstood and enigmatic women. The first president’s wife to be called First Lady, she was a political strategist, a supporter of emancipation, and a mother who survived the loss of three children and the assassination of her beloved husband. Yet she also ran her family into debt, held seances in the White House, and was commi ...more
Paperback, 621 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Holly I would consider a fiction telling based on fact...kind of like a movie that is based on true events.
Chieftb I think he is finally ready to accept passion and give up his lifelong depression and resistance to Mary’s love. Coming the day of his assassination m…moreI think he is finally ready to accept passion and give up his lifelong depression and resistance to Mary’s love. Coming the day of his assassination makes it heartbreaking as he withheld so much from her. (less)

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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Chrissie
Jan 07, 2010 rated it liked it
What I think this book does better than the non-fiction books which I have previously read about Abraham Lincoln is to look at the personalities of Mary and Abraham, their relationship and Mary's relationship with her first son Robert. Another subject that is scarcely covered in the books below, but extensively covered here, is Mary's and Abraham's belief in the occult. Most of the names and events dealing with this subject seem to be true. I did a check on internet. The book focuses on Mary. It ...more
Tara Chevrestt
Wow. I have so much to say about this book. It was wonderful, engrossing, and hard to put down. It starts with Mary as a child who loses her mother and it is obvious from the get go that Mary has a problem with death, like many other people then and now. She tends to replace death with inanimate objects that give her comfort. She is a passionate woman. When she meets Mr. Lincoln (Indeed my only complaint is he is called Mr. Lincoln throughout the entire book..Never once did she refer to him or c ...more
Stephanie Anze
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I cannot say if it is this tally of words which decides me. Or if it is only the unfilled hours of my sleeplessness. Whichever it is, I somehow decided. I shall spend my nights at Bellevue Place writing my true story."

As Mary finds herself confined at Bellevue Place, an asylum for the insane, she begins to reminisce about her life and all the incidents that brought her to this point. Mary Ann Todd grew up in a Southern household, in Kentucky. The fourth of seven children, she adored her mother
...more
Sammy
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-the-good
Yeah, I enjoyed this book, but when I think back on it not a lot sticks with me. I found it an interesting tale of a first lady we've heard of so much due to being wife to one of the most influential and great president's the U.S. has seen today, but yet we don't know much about. There are many things that made this book a unique and fun read.

One thing was that we got a new view on the Civil War. Many books are written about either soldiers or slaves, occasionally family members of those fightin
...more
MAP
Anyone ever have a book they have SO much they want to write about/review that they end up writing nothing at all?
Stephanie Fitzgerald
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adult readers of historical fiction
Was Mary Lincoln really insane, as her oldest son declared her to be? Or had the many depressing events of her lifetime, understandably, caused her not to be able to face reality because of its horrors?
Janis Cooke Newman has written a historical fiction novel about this most controversial woman, alternating between Mary’s experiences at the insane asylum in 1875 and her “flashbacks” to the happy and tragic memories of her life before.
Time-travel with this extremely complicated but intensely lovi
...more
Orsolya
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
...more
Chris
Feb 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
This was an odd one for me. Although I plowed through 700+ pages in two weeks, as I was finishing it up this morning it dawned on me, I don't really like Mary! The story is the tale of Mary Todd Lincoln as she was committed in an insane asylum by her son, Robert Todd. Then there were stories looking back at her life. A sad, sad life she led: the loss of her husband and three sons; her only living son was absolutely horrible to her; she was a shopoholic and got herself in terrible debt, more than ...more
Alicia Bayer
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading a 620+ page book takes a toll on your Goodreads book goals for the year! ;) That said, I really liked this book.

I have to admit that there were times reading this book that I just wanted it to end. Parts of Mary Lincoln's life were depressing to say the least and you know it's not going to end well. In the book, Mary Lincoln tells her story from the insane asylum that her son had her committed to (yes, really) and it weaves back to her childhood and through her entire life, while also t
...more
Gina
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mary Lincoln was a study in contrasts and books based on her are among my favorites - this one included.

A woman who suffered terribly, including the loss of 3 children and the assasination of her dearly beloved husband, she is the woman that the term "First Lady" was first applied to. She was also, however, committed to an insane asylum later in her life, and it is well known that she conducted seances in the White House. She was a complusive shopper who drove the Lincoln family deep into debt.

A
...more
Madelon
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was devastating. I know that it's fictional, but many facts of her life support the author's characterization. I really want to talk to somebody about this book. The fact that she was given laudanum and chloral hydrate - and told to drink as much as she wanted to "help her sleep" - because of "feminine" problems - clearly originated by the loss of 3 sons and the assassination of her husband as she sat by him - it just makes me sick. To think that women were so carelessly treated this w ...more
Julie
Mar 12, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am glad I got this book from the library instead of buying it.
Christine
Aug 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Read about 1/3 of this today just so I could get on to greener passages, BUT this book was not all bad. It is about Mary Lincoln, wife of Honest Abe, both about her eldest son committing her to an assylum as a lunatic and her looking back over her life. Mary turns out to be quite colorful, but as the book is historical fiction, you don't know what exactly is true and what is not.

From what I have read online and heard from book club members also reading the book, Mary is the most vilified First
...more
Missy
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Oh. My. Goodness. The author did a lot of research for this one. Everyone knows about Mary Todd Lincoln, all the heartache she went through in the late 1850's and into the 1870's, loosing children, her husband. But you aren't always told about how she dealt with that heartache, other than her famous seances to meet up with her departed children and husband. This book took you into the days after and how Mary exhibited her grief was the only way she knew how. You don't hear a lot about her after ...more
Marie Grassick
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Really well written and very moving in parts. Just interesting and I will never think of Abraham Lincoln in quite the same way again.
Theresa
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was captivated as I read this fictional biography of Abraham Lincoln's wife. My sympathy was deeply engaged with Mary as I read about her losing her mother at a young age and the lack of affection her new stepmother gave to her. I was most interested in the chapters describing their lives during and prior to the Civil War.

Mary Todd Lincoln had a tragic life. Eddie, at three years old, succumbs to illness and then a few years later, the Lincolns lose a second son, Willie, to typhoid. This disea
...more
Angie McCrae
Mary is a fictionalized memoir written from the perspective of Mary Todd Lincoln while she was committed at the Bellevue Place Sanitarium by her son, Robert Todd. While Mary is in the asylum she looks back on her life and tells her story from her past days of meeting Abraham Lincoln and raising a family, Lincoln's presidency, and his subsequent assassination, to the present day in the asylum and having to live with the truly insane. The book is well written and the author does an excellent job o ...more
Sara
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I can't decide how I feel about this book... It was definitely interesting, and I could NOT put it down. The life of Mary Todd Lincoln is fascinating-- she endured more in her lifetime than any person should have to. She lost 3 of her 4 sons as well as her husband to an assassin-- an event she witnessed. She was completely abused by the newspaper and other media of the time throughout her husband's presidency and for many, many years after, until her death. She was also committed against her wil ...more
Heather
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
My biggest thing with any historical fiction is that it must be factually correct! Especially if it's based on a real person's life, such as this one. I was very disappointed that in the author's note, Newman stated that this is not a factually correct account of Mrs. Lincoln's life, as I was hoping to learn more about her.
I don't know if Mary Lincoln was really a shopoholic who craved all and any kind of positive attention as she was written in this novel, but I found her to be incredibly anno
...more
Petra
Apr 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I had expected to enjoy this book but enjoyed it so much more than expected. It's a very readable book and Mary is portrayed as a woman of deep emotional feelings....in a time when feelings and emotions were normally kept subdued. Trying to repress her emotions caused outlets in other ways...such as obsessive shopping.
Mary lived through more pain and grief and tragedy than anyone ever should. It's not a wonder that her obsessions overcame her for periods of time.
She may not have been ment
...more
Shirley Brown
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found a greater sympathy for her than I have in other readings. She definitely had a difficult life, and the time she lived was not receptive of mentally ill people, and I think espceially women. Her son Robert, I think actually had some kind of mental illness as well. He did not treat or take care of his mother or wife in an acceptable manner. The book is well written.
Camille
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book for the incite and clarity Janis Newman brings to the very complicated personality of an historical figure previously portrayed as one dimensional. Not only do we get a nuanced look at Mary Lincoln, but the interactions between Mary and Abe. Janis also does an excellent job of portraying Abe Lincoln's brilliance as a strategist and politician while dealing with his many demons. Couldn't put it down. ...more
Cheryl
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
What a sad era for women, when having any sort of passion would put you in an institution. From her early years to that of being President Lincoln's widow, we read a "fictional" telling of her life. A frustrating read in that we have come so far and to know how much they suffered. A brave, vivacious and highly intelligent woman, she deserved so much, much more. ...more
Amanda
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I mistakenly picked this book up thinking it was a work of nonfiction and almost tossed it aside when I realized it was historical fiction. I'm glad I didn't give it up because all of the people and events in the story are based on fact. Mary's thoughts and feelings seem to be the only thing that is fictionalized.

The book is flashing back and forth between Mary's life story and the present where she is institutionalized by her son in a "lunatic asylum." Mary was a highly spirited, passionate wom
...more
Jillian (please spell it with an E)
➳ This is one of the saddest books I’ve ever read. It’s like THE MADWOMAN IN THE ATTIC. Literally, it’s a whole novel about that woman: the one locked up and hidden away for having inconvenient emotions and freedom of thought. Only it’s about Mary Todd Lincoln. Because she may have been that woman. (I think she was, personally.)

Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln is an imaginative exploration of the point of view of Mary Todd Lincoln, who was sent to an asylum by her son Robert (and the court) in the late 180
...more
LibraryCin
3.75 stars

Mary Todd was Abraham Lincoln’s wife. She grew up in a well-off family, but Abraham was poor. They had four sons, but only one, Robert the oldest, made it to adulthood. Although Mary loved her son with all her heart, Robert never returned that love, nor the affection she so craved.

Ten years after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Robert had Mary confined to an insane asylum, though she insisted she was sane and didn’t belong there. This book goes back and forth in time from when Mary
...more
Ellen
Apr 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of historical fiction
Recommended to Ellen by: read for book club.
I think this book was too long, 200 pgs could have been edited out. If you like historical fiction, you might like this book, it has Mary Todd Lincoln writing a diary/or letter to her surviving son while she is in the sanitarium. Her son Robert, put her in the sanitarium. The book really makes you think about how terrible it must have been to be a woman in that time period. The drugs they were using to "cure" Mary must certainly have added to her mental problems. Each entry to the letter starts ...more
Judy Packard
Dec 15, 2020 rated it liked it
I only had basic information about Mary Todd Lincoln before this book. It helped me understand Mary’s southern background better, examples of her temperament, why Robert was not as close to his father, how the death’s of her sons and husband may have affected her. It reminds us that Abe Lincoln had worked hard to come up from poverty and did not have the resources of southern established families. Both Abe and Mary were driven and I can see the possibilities of her help in his political life as ...more
Bonnie Bluebonnet
I recommend Mary A Lincoln during the fall/ winter months. The storytelling is spectacular with a mysterious somber setting. I would agree Mary’s life was a tumultuous upheaval from childhood through adulthood. I struggled to argue insanity because her voice seemed precisely clear. Mary used the best coping mechanisms within her reach. I do understand her desire to fill a void. She is not entirely wrong. She is not entirely right either. Her son Robert is a character that I love to hate. In the ...more
Maren Lundgren
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nook
I am a fan of historical fiction, so I was excited at the idea of this book. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The writing is passable I suppose, but that's the best I can say. It's so overlong - 150 pages could have easily been cut from this book and with good editing and better writing and not lose a thing from the plot. Finishing this book felt like a chore. Two stars because it wasn't a COMPLETE train-wreck, but I would not recommend this to anyone. ...more
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Janis Cooke Newman is the author of A Master Plan for Rescue , a magical novel about the surprising acts of heroism that can be inspired by love. She is also the author of Mary , a historical novel about Mary Todd Lincoln. Mary was chosen by USA Today as the best historical fiction of 2006 and was a finalist for the LA Times First Fiction award. She is also the author of The Russian Word for ...more

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