Friday, March 11, 2011

Historical Fiction Friday: A Review

This was in the spotlight a few weeks ago. I finally was able to read the book The Raven's Bride.

While the book is an "adult" novel the main character is very young. A good chunk of the book takes place in her early and late teens and into early adult hood(twenties) so this could appeal to teens.

Virginia lives in a poor family and she is first cousins with Edgar Allen Poe. She finds him worldly and handsome and has a crush on Mr. Poe. However, Edgar is much older that his fair cousin who hasn't reached her teens yet.

Poverty comes and stays within the family. Deaths happens as well. Virginia starts to grow up and she realizes her love for Edgar is becoming stronger. To her amazement he asks her to be his wife, and she gladly accepts. Married life isn't filled with happiness though and Virginia struggles with her husband and her failing health.

Overall, I liked this book but it wasn't one that is going to linger with the readers after you close it. I had issues with how the author tried to make seem Poe less perverted. For instance, she writes that Virginia's mother refuses to allow Poe and his new bride to have sexual relations until she is 16. I believe he is in his 20s or maybe 30ish. Many people maybe disturbed by the idea that cousins married, but this was a fairly common practice in the Victorian Era. After all, they didn't understand about genetics.

This novel is about a young nineteenth century woman who lived her life in the domestic sphere. Therefore her life may not be exciting to teens who are looking for a little more excitement. I enjoyed Virginia's story, but I can see how teens may not enjoy it as much.

As a side note, Poe isn't in the novel a lot. This has been brought up in other reviews. However, the book isn't about Poe, its about his young bride. So, I didn't expect him to be on every page stealing the spotlight.


Undine said...

On top of everything else, parts of this book are a rehash of a 1956 novel which was also told from Virginia's viewpoint, "The Very Young Mrs. Poe" by Cothburn O'Neal. There are similarities between the two books that are so explicit shall I put it? It can't be coincidental.

Kate Evangelista said...


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