By Lynn Cullen
(Gallery Books, Hardcover, 9781476702919, 336pp.)
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
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A vivid and compelling novel about a woman who becomes entangled in an affair with Edgar Allan Poe—at the same time she becomes the unwilling confidante of his much-younger wife.
It is 1845, and Frances Osgood is desperately trying to make a living as a writer in New York; not an easy task for a woman—especially one with two children and a philandering portrait painter as her husband. As Frances tries to sell her work, she finds that editors are only interested in writing similar to that of the new renegade literary sensation Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, “The Raven” has struck a public nerve.
She meets the handsome and mysterious Poe at a literary party, and the two have an immediate connection. Poe wants Frances to meet with his wife since she claims to be an admirer of her poems, and Frances is curious to see the woman whom Edgar married.
As Frances spends more and more time with the intriguing couple, her intense attraction for Edgar brings her into dangerous territory. And Mrs. Poe, who acts like an innocent child, is actually more manipulative and threatening than she appears. As Frances and Edgar’s passionate affair escalates, Frances must decide whether she can walk away before it’s too late...
Set amidst the fascinating world of New York’s literati, this smart and sexy novel offers a unique view into the life of one of history’s most unforgettable literary figures.
Lynn Cullen grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and is the author of Reign of Madness, a 2011 Best of the South selection by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and 2012 Townsend Prize finalist, and The Creation of Eve, named among the best fiction books of 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and an Indie Next selection. She is also the author of numerous award-winning books for children, including the young adult novel I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, which was a 2007 Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection and an ALA Best Book of 2008. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, their dog, and two unscrupulous cats.
- Cullen begins Mrs. Poe with two epigraphs. In the first, Osgood is recounting her first meeting with Poe to Reverend Griswold. In the second, Poe describes Frances Osgood. How do these two quotes set up the novel? Were Cullen’s representations of Osgood and Poe as you expected after reading the epigraphs?
?eoeDanger, sensuality, mystery and passion fill the pages of this bewitching novel set in the crowded cobbled streets, alleyways, cheap boardinghouses and literary gatherings of mid-nineteenth century New York City. Everyone warns the lovely, near penniless poet Mrs. Osgood, a deserted wife with two young children, to stay away from the dark-eyed writer Edgar Allen Poe who has fallen in love with her. She writes tender verses; he creates blood-curdling tales and is himself still darker, carrying secrets he does not dare reveal of his frail much younger wife and his own heinous past. Even when she understands that someone is trying to kill her because of him, they cannot put aside their passion for each other until it is almost too late. A compelling novel, bringing history to vivid life.?e
-Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude and Camille
"Lynn Cullen seems to have transported herself to Old New York?e"Mrs. Poe feels that authentic.? Without a doubt, this is one of the best historical fiction novels I've read in a long time. Evocative, compassionate, intelligent, sexy and utterly addictive. The passion between Frances Osgood and Edgar Allen Poe burns up the pages while at the same time her relationship with Mrs. Poe makes your heart ache. Truly a book to savor!"
-M.J. Rose, International Bestselling Author
"Mrs. Poe?is a compelling tale of ill-fated love, passion, and the writing life in antebellum New York, rich with period detail and suspense."
-Jennifer Chiaverini,?New York Times?bestselling author?of?Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker
"In Mrs. Poe, Lynn Cullen conjures a darkly atmospheric 19th century New York with a masterful hand. Rich with period detail and compelling characters, Mrs. Poe weaves a thread of creeping menace into the true story of Edgar Allan Poe?e(TM)s obsessive liaison with Frances Osgood for a thoroughly unforgettable and chilling read. Enthralling."
-Deanna Raybourn, author of A Spear of Summer Grass
"The fierce ambitions and dangerous rivalries of literary New York in the 1840s come vividly alive in Lynn Cullen's riveting novel Mrs.Poe. With masterful skill, Cullen tells the story of the real-life fatal attraction between the toast-of-the-town Gothic storyteller Edgar Allan Poe and vulnerable poet Frances Sargent Osgood.The fact that both are unhappily married did not sanction any sort of romance in this judgmental society, and Cullen skillfully charts the course of a fraught and forbidden love affair. As the lonely Mrs. Osgood is pulled further and further into Mr. Poe's dark world, the tensions in the Poes' bizarre marriage explode. Full of longing, this is a story both poignant and shocking?e"and not easily forgotten."
-Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Chalice
"When struggling poet and betrayed wife Frances Osgood meets Edgar Allen Poe, she is hoping only for a boost in her literary career?e"certainly not what came next. Swept into an illicit love affair with the complicated, magnetic, and married Poe, Osgood and Poe must together face the consequences, which are no less horrific or revenge-filled than his best loved horror stories?e"and quite possibly as deadly. Mrs. Poe had my heart racing...Don't miss it!"
-Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants
"Layered with the atmosphere and intensity of Poe's prose, Cullen's Mrs. Poe infuses a tale of tragedy and loss with a spirit of passion and vitality. Fans of historical fiction and Poe will devour this novel."
-Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Call Me Zelda