Monday, June 14, 2010

Books by Theme: Revolutionary Mothers


Founding mother Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams is revealed in Irving Stone's sprawling historical novel Those Who Love, which traces Abigail's relationship with her husband, John, and the time frame of American history from when the two famous lovers met until the end of the Adams's tenure in the White House. Stone details the heartbreaking loneliness that dogged Abigail when John had to be away, her steadfast and competent management of their Massachusetts farm, and the role she played as John's most important political advisor. Thick with details, Stone's well-researched work is dense but rewarding.

For a heroine just as feisty as the women in Founding Mothers but not as high in society, Karen Swee's Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Murder: A Revolutionary War Mystery features accidental detective and tavern mistress Abigail Lawrence, who finds a man skewered to her tavern floor with a British officer's sword. When her uncle stands accused of the murder, Abigail becomes embroiled in Revolutionary espionage as she tries to clear his name. 


Perhaps the defining look at the women behind the men of the American Revolution is Cokie Roberts's Founding Mothers. Covering the 1770s through the 1790s, this group biography focuses on the links among women such as Abigail Adams and Martha Washington as well as a wide variety of lesser-known historical figures like the lively Kitty Green. With amusing asides and an engaging, conversational tone, Roberts brings the bravery and sacrifice of these amazing women to sparkling life.

For a fictionalized look at some of the same women, readers should try Patriot Hearts: A Novel of the Founding Mothers by Barbara Hambly. Here, the focus is on the three wives and one lover of our first four presidents: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, and Sally Hemings. Hambly deftly shifts back and forth through time, employing a slowly unfolding narrative that depicts both the everyday details of the Federalist period and the looming social issues, particularly slavery, that overshadowed American life. Paired with Founding Mothers, it is a sure bet for a lively book discussion session. 




~ For more themed book lists, check out Listless by One Librarian's Book Reviews and Listed by Once Upon a Bookshelf ~

~ All summaries from Library Journal ~

6 comments:

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

We've missed you -- where have you been??!!

Hannah Stoneham said...

I love this theme - and what interesting sounding books!

Carin said...

I loved Founding Mothers! Another example of a book I thought I'd hate and was luckily forced to read by Book Club. One that's a little bit later that I highly recommend is A Perfect Union by Catherine Allgor about Dolley Madison.

melissa @ 1lbr said...

This is a great list! I've been meaning to get Founding Mothers read for a while...

Lisa said...

Love this theme--Abigail Adams was such an incredible woman. And this reminds me of a book about first ladies that I need to read and get back to my mom!

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Love this list! I've got Founding Mothers, but I'm really interested in the one about Abigail Adams.

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