Mr. Poe is one of my favorite authors. So much so that every year I take my extremely thick and heavy copy of his complete works ([b:The Complete Tales and Poems|837021|The Complete Tales and Poems|Edgar Allan Poe|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327942553s/837021.jpg|30431]) from the shelf and read various stories. I just open it up and whatever story or poem lays before me, I go back to the start and read it. I usually do this during October for effect. After 2 or 3 weeks, I put the book back on the shelf and look forward to our next annual meeting. He was a master of words and I never get tired of reading his tales.
So, when I saw this on the goodreads giveaway list, I really really really wanted to win it because even though I love Edgar's writing, I have never done much reading about his background and life. I was so excited when I won the book
and hoped that it would be full of interesting details. This book did not disappoint me in the least.
I never knew of the 'scandalous' relationship between Poe and the beautiful poet Frances Osgood, and I never thought much of his marriage to his cousin. I somehow remembered that they were related, but I certainly did not remember how young Virginia Poe was when she married him. Throw an absent Mr. Osgood into the mix, and you have the recipe for a juicy novel.
Cullen did an excellent job of bringing mid 19th century New York to life. I felt as if I was walking down the streets with Frances and Edgar. Her accounts of the famous personalities of the day were also very vivid and interesting. The story of Virginia and Frances' "friendship" was extremely well done. I read this book very quickly because I wanted to know what Virginia had planned for Frances, what Poe had planned for Virginia, and what Frances planned to do about ALL of it!
There is a certain amount of tragedy and darkness lurking at the edges of this story. Living at that time in history, it would be almost a miracle for anyone to avoid it. Illness and death were constant companions of the populace, so no wonder a writer like Poe emerged.
For the most part, this story focuses on two soul mates who struggle to keep their relationship from destroying them and those around them. It is very bittersweet and I loved every page of it.