The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Mrs. Poe






My dry spell is over! I just finished Mrs. Poe (A) by Lynn Cullen. I read this book with an open mind since I knew very little about Edgar Allan Poe.


Poe’s famous poem “The Raven” was published in 1845. Instantaneously he became the most sought after poet in the country. Literary groups wanted him to speak and recite his poem at all their meetings. Women wanted to be in his presence, children played games of “nevermore” and other poets wanted their poems to reflect this “macabre” trend.


Her husband has abandoned Frances Osgood, the author of “Puss in Boots”. She has three young daughters that she must provide for. The money she receives from her writing is barely enough to get by. Luckily, she has been invited to live with her friend Eliza Bartlett in New York City the center for publishing and literary contacts. While there, she meets Edgar Allan Poe and falls under his spell. He is attracted to this very beautiful woman. The fact that she is a poet makes her more the prize. Even though he is married, she becomes everything he wants and needs.


Though Poe experts have never been able to confirm a romantic relationship between Poe and Osgood, it has always been much hinted at. Cullen has taken liberties and fabricated an all-consuming love affair. To the usual secrecy surrounding an affair, the author has added a dimension of mystery and intrigue.


After finishing the book, I decided to do some research of my own. I confirmed that most of the people mentioned in the book are indeed personalities of that time. They all had some contact with Poe. Many of the events she mentions did occur. Poe himself was mostly as he appears. He suffered from a lack of confidence; he was extremely poor and did have a drug and alcohol problem. He did marry his cousin Virginia when she was 13 and she was stricken and died from consumption.


For me, an historical fiction fan, this book ticked all my boxes. It was extremely well written and delivered accurate information about Edgar Allan Poe. I sincerely hope that you read this marvelous book. I know you will not be disappointed. Honestly, I think you will be surprised and entertained.





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