You Have To Read this Book:
Mrs Poe by Lynn Cullen
The one quote which crossed my mind after reading Miss Poe by Lynn Cullen was from Sir Walter Raleigh, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” This book is full of deliciously dark deceptions and surprises that kept me reading to the very last page.
Mrs Poe, although historical fiction, is based on a love affair which many historians believe took place between the poets, Edgar Allen Poe and Frances Osgood. From the opening page, the readers feels totally immersed in the New York City of 1845 and the power of the connection between these two poets.
When we first meet Osgood, she is struggling to support herself and her two daughters through her poetry, whilst her philandering husband has deserted the trio. Poe meanwhile is struggling with poverty, despite his taste of fame due to the popularity of his poem The Raven. Poe too is married to his cousin, who is ill with consumption and also has his aunt/mother-in-law to support.
The attraction between Osgood and Poe from their first meeting is undeniable although both try to deny it, knowing their affair would never be possible due to their other entanglements. Still despite their protests, throughout the novel, they are drawn together again and again. First through chance meetings, then through a request by Poe’s wife to receive visits from Osgood and finally through the very poems both Osgood and Poe write. With each event, the spark between the two poets grows, with the two eventually giving into this doomed relationship. Soon rumors begin to fly and Osgood suspects that Mrs. Poe knows more of the two poets affair than she is saying. Through a series of ‘accidents’ it appears the ill woman seems to be determined to exact her revenge.
Despite the overriding Poeish feeling to this story I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. For anyone who loves Poe’s writing or is fascinated with the power of a magnetic love, despite people’s protests against it, this book is a must.
This book and more can be found at your local library, where I find all the books I just have to read!