Friday, November 29, 2013

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini

Elizabeth Keckley was a free black woman who sought to make a living in Washington D.C. working as a seamstress.  She quickly became known as one of the best dressmakers in the city, and through her other clients, was introduced to Mary Todd Lincoln, the new First Lady.  She begins working as a dressmaker for Mrs. Lincoln, but ends up becoming one of her dearest friends.

I so wanted to love this book.  I really adore historical fiction, and I am fascinated by the Civil War, so I thought this would be right up my alley.  Sadly, the book failed to hold my interest.  I found the writing to be very dry, more along the lines of a history text as opposed to a historical novel.  I never felt like we really learned much about Elizabeth, or the Lincolns.  It was if the entire story were being relayed by a disinterested third party.  

I have heard that the book is very similar to Elizabeth Keckley's memoir.  As in, shockingly similar.  As in word for word.  I cannot attest to the validity of this, as I have not read Keckley's book.  However, this book seemed to lack a certain creative spark for me.  I am not even sure I would classify this as a historical novel, as it seems more like non-fiction.  There was clearly a lot of research done for the book, but the presentation of the facts seems too straightforward.  There just is not enough story here, and it is not due to lack of material.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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