Category: Edgar Allan Poe

+Blog Book Tour+ Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Posted Thursday, 12 June, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Mrs. Poe Virtual Tour via HFVBT

Published By: Gallery Books ()
(an imprint of
Simon & Schuster: ), 1 April, 2014 (paperback edition)
Official Author Websites: Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Available Formats:  Hardback, Paperback, E-Book
Page Count: 352

Accomplishments Thus Far:

Great Reads of 2013 –NPR
Books That Make Time Stand Still –Oprah.com
Editor’s Pick—The Historical Novels Review
Best Books of 2013—Atlanta Magazine
Indie Next List Pick

Converse on Twitter: #MrsPoeBlogTour  OR #MrsPoe

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Mrs. Poe” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from publisher Gallery Books, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Curiosity Inspired Me to Read:

I actually requested to be placed on this blog tour originally, as I had heard of this book previously and was always fascinated by the premise! I wasn’t into Edgar growing up, but then, I sort of became curious about him in my twenties!? And, of course I adore *biographical fiction*! I even devoted an entire A to Z challenge post all about it! (Jorie’s Letter B) I am also finding creative new ways to blog about the books I am reviewing to garnish new interest in my book reviews! Not to mention I undertook the A to Z to be a bit of an ‘introduction’ to who I am as a book blogger! A project that I am still keen to continue writing once I sort out how to convey my thoughts for F through Z!

On the level of Poe, I think I spoke rather well about where my curiosity arose on the Interview for this blog tour:

When I first saw the blog tour for “Mrs. Poe” arrive on the dockets for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I was quite hopeful that I might secure a spot on the blog tour! And, I knew if I had, I would be more than compelled to enquiry a bit into the back-story of the novel itself as well as ask questions that would go a bit into the disparaging differences between the Edgar Allan Poe I grew up knowing as the true ‘Poe’, and the Poe, of whom is only recently (after apparently 150+ years of ill-begotten truths tainted our minds) has emerged as quite the dapper Dan (in appearance) and a wholly new Poe by personality! His measurement as a writer and of a man, have completely changed in my eyes and that was *before!* I ever breathed one word of the novel by Ms. Cullen! 

– quoted from the Interview I gave on behalf of Ms. Cullen author of Mrs. Poe

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Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen (excerpt) by Simon and Schuster

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Book Synopsis:

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.

Author Biography:Lynn Cullen

Lynn Cullen grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the fifth girl in a family of seven children. She learned to love history combined with traveling while visiting historic sites across the U.S. on annual family camping trips. She attended Indiana University in Bloomington and Fort Wayne, and took writing classes with Tom McHaney at Georgia State. She wrote children’s books as her three daughters were growing up, while working in a pediatric office and later, at Emory University on the editorial staff of a psychoanalytic journal. While her camping expeditions across the States have become fact-finding missions across Europe, she still loves digging into the past. She does not miss, however, sleeping in musty sleeping bags. Or eating canned fruit cocktail. She now lives in Atlanta with her husband, their dog, and two unscrupulous cats.

Lynn Cullen is the author of The Creation of Eve, named among the best fiction books of 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as an April 2010 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. Her novel, Reign of Madness, about Juana the Mad, daughter of the Spanish Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand, was chosen as a 2011 Best of the South selection by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and was a 2012 Townsend Prize finalist. Her newest novel, MRS. POE, examines the fall of Edgar Allan Poe through the eyes of poet Francis Osgood.

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New York in 1845:

The blackened viewing of New York City in the mid-19th Century does not surprise me, because most of the larger metro cities during the same era were full of wretched realities for the working class. I am not even sure how anyone fared well living amongst the filth and the grit of what would be visible on the streets, much less what could be smelt in the air. Cullen paints a true black picture of a reality that can be seen as it shines out of her narrative, giving New York City’s backdrop a character narrative it its own.

I was delighted how the everyday muck and interesting bits of ordinary life were spun into life by the pen of Cullen, who had a true knack for descriptive narrative to propel the reader directly into the light of the scenes. Even if the scene was featured in the background rather than the foreground, as a sweeping arc of giving the narrative depth, what I appreciated was the level of realism stitched into those words whose paragraphs held bewitching choices of word and phrase. She had a way of saying something Osgood might be thinking, but in a way which conveyed the scene of which was before Osgood’s own eyes as she traversed through her everyday environment. In this, we are given a closer pull and tug towards this specific bracket of elapsed time between Poe and Osgood, almost as though our time travel experience was set on a singular slice of time and not a second more.

Fly in the Ointment: The bit that surprised me the most is the art on the cover art of the novel itself: where I had first felt the woman was either Mrs. Poe directly (as to being Edgar’s actual wife) or Frances Osgood, I was a bit disappointed to have learnt through the disclosure of its materials that the frame and the woman were stock images used to compile the theme of the novel. I felt for sure that perhaps historical photographs might have been found through research and then, used to paint a realism of who the story unfolds to encompass. However, I sadly am finding there is a shift with publishers to use more stock images and less original sources of art. Even if an illustrator could have created a likeness to Osgood, I think I might have preferred that over a stock image of a woman who could seemingly ‘fit’ inside the era of the story’s heart.

Perhaps I am simply a reader who is growing tired of being tricked and fooled by cover art that may or may not have a connection to the story underneath the pages it is attached.

My Review of Mrs. Poe:

I found myself betwixt and at ease whilst setting into the atmosphere of Mrs. Poe, due to the beguiling bent of mischievous intrigue woven into the fabric of the opening chapters. Here, I am lamenting on the level of stepping inside the folds of where time intersects with Edgar Allan Poe and Frances Osgood, at a point of a place in New York where the two writers would become ill-fated to draw a close match of wills towards each other. Their story envelopes you into their innermost nooks of thought and sanctum of writerly enclave to broach a dialogue of thought which extends out of history’s timeline.

The finger pulse of Osgood outing Poe on behalf of The Raven was quite fetching of her character, because it is Osgood who comes out strong and viable in this story, moreso than Poe, of whom is a counterpart compliment of her own search for literary freedom. The choices she had to contend with as a married woman with a louse of a husband would make any modern woman shudder – for her was not a choice of will, but one of propriety which determined her worth. Worth which could only be bartered against her willingness to pen what her heart was not always willing to concede. I liked the conversation she had with her daughters about the poem, because it etched alive in my own mind what I found so vexing about the poem myself! It was surely not what I had forethought it would be! How clever the full scope of its measure is included in the opening bits of the novel! It takes on a lifeblood of its own as the story progresses, and if anything becomes a measuring stick for Osgood to assert her own voice in ink to compete with Poe himself.

Osgood comes across as a woman who is determined to right her own sails and make her way in the world on her own means. She was given a hand that dealt her against her society’s provisions of acceptability when her husband walked out and left her in the wake of two small girls and the edge of propriety’s mirror peering into her soul. Rallying a force from inside she knew not the strength, she continued to chin up the courage to draw a breath of creativity through her pen, and ink stories which would sell a handsome income. Likewise, Poe on the other hand is an affable bloke of whom you are endeared due to his cautious and conscience nature towards his young bride-wife, who is afflicted and sickly. His loving kindness towards her and his awkward way of acknowledging Osgood paint a different portrait than the one of a writer I was most determined not to read during my own lifetime.

Having read and learnt of the literary salons of Paris whilst reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, I was pleasantly surprised by the tone of the private salon mentioned in this story, where Osgood would garnish her ability to learn without notice of others, and buckle down in strength to write what needed to be writ in order to survive on a wage that would allow her and her girls a bit of independence. Her friendship with Poe was by a strange fate of interlocking souls who creatively were equal to the other. She was attracted to Poe for the same reasons he was keen on her, to sense a recognition of understanding and of clarity of thought behind the outward appearance they each upheld to keep their place in society. A mask to allow each of them the grace of moving within the circles of their peers, yet always striving to step out of their circumstances. Neither willing to falter the illusion for the real connection they each shared, as their friendship blossomed during a crossroads they were each walking alone.

I enjoyed watching her mind draw a knitted brow of confliction, in wondering if the course she were to pursue would be worth any anguish in the long-term. Cullen writes a breadth of reflection and echoes Osgood vividly through her nuances of her character’s thoughtful mind, and culling process of teetering on which side of the line of right and wrong she wants to cross. I could have languished inside this ebb of life bubbling to the surface of the text, because inside the pages where Poe is interacting with Osgood, you start to notice a bit of a dance. A dance with two partners not always willing to keep distance, and yet, partners who appear to notice the shocking truth of where their feet wish to lead.

The hint and inclusion of other writers of the century’s prolific achievers were stitched into the backdrop, especially on behalf of the literary salon, which gained an element of joy for me. I enjoyed seeing which authors would intermingle with each other and the atmosphere of taking such different personalities and placing them aside one another. Although the story has a heart of depth, it is truly centered in its telling tale of two hearts betwixt with each other during a point in their lives where neither was free to be entwined. The subtle notions of their lives, the small attachments of their spirits, and their uncanny way of understanding before words were broached aloud is what drew me instantly into their story. This is a story that warms itself into your mind’s eye, for favour of reading the subtleties of life and how within those hidden moments, we all must decide which way our next course of action is meant to be.

My thoughts on Edgar Allan Poe:

Being this is the first time I have allowed myself to drink in the words of “The Raven” by Poe, I must confess, that what I was thinking I’d find inside the poem was most amiss of my attention and what laid bare inside took me by quite a happy surprise? Could I have been lead to believe one variation of Poe’s legacy over the truer nature of his gifts leading towards another ending of museful thoughts? I find that the Poe in which I was taught to know throughout the years I spent in lower grades at school did a most disserviceable disfavour towards allowing me to perceive Poe as he were rather than the Poe of whom everyone broached an acquaintance of. In this way, I think the impressions of how we perceive those of the literary past and those of whom are of the literary past can blur and blind us from the truth, if we were only given a marginal opening perception of who they were whilst they lived. In this particular instance, having found through the interview of Ms. Cullen I previously posted that Poe was marginalised and erased from an authentic true reality of his living years from the annals of history, I find myself besotted with a sorrow for the years in whence I could have spent knowing of his other writings. Giving myself the joy of knowing his truer self and revealing the legacy he would have preferred to have left behind in earnest.

Poe is most certainly not the first bloke whose memory has been asconed and defaced by a person who’d rather have control over the populist perception of their living reality, but to what disadvantage is served by not to bring forward the information which upturnt the prior legacy with the truth of the what scholars have unearthed? And, why then does it take such a long grievous of time to rectify what was already a blight on one man’s soulful truth? I was processing the 150+ mentioning of time elapsed between the Poe who lived and the Poe of whom we were tainted to be appalled and abhorred. Whole generations of readers were befuddled and bemuddled by one man’s ghastly take on another man’s dreams. That is the greater interest of mine. Of rectifying my own perception of a writer I truly never knew and allowing myself the grace in knowing there is still time in the clock-piece to visit with Poe.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Book Review is courtesy of:

Mrs. Poe Virtual Tour via HFVBT

Monday, May 19
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, May 20
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, May 21
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, May 22
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Friday, May 23
Review at A Bookish Affair

Monday, May 26
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, May 27
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, May 28
Review at Turning the Pages

Friday, May 30
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Monday, June 2
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, June 3
Review at Kelsey’s Book Corner
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, June 4
Review & Giveaway at Reading Lark

Thursday, June 5
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, June 6
postponed due to illness*Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, June 9
Review at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, June 11
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Thursday, June 12
Interview & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, June 13
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, June 16
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Tuesday, June 17
Review & Interview at Layered Pages
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, June 18
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comas I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTPlease visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

Previously I interviewed Ms. Cullen on this blog tour & enjoyed what I learnt on Poe!

As this book has been released for awhile now, what was the greatest takeaway you learnt whilst reading about Edgar Allan Poe & Frances Osgood!? What surprised you the most about the nature of their characters and of how the story revealed itself within the narrative? Were you a dedicated appreciator of Poe OR did you come into the story completely without prior knowledge such as I had?

{SOURCES: Book cover for “Mrs. Poe”, Author Biography and Book Synopsis  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Buy links on Scribd excerpt are not affiliated with Jorie Loves A Story. Book Excerpt was able to be embedded due to codes provided by Scribd.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Thursday, 12 June, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Edgar Allan Poe, Fly in the Ointment, Frances Osgood, Geographically Specific, Gothic Literature, Gothic Poetry, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, New York City, Scribd