First ladies in fiction

Last year I wrote about two memoirs of First Ladies – by Michelle Obama and Laura Bush. Today, in honor of our upcoming election, I would like to share two books I’ve recently read about First Ladies who appear in fictional accounts of their lives.

“Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters,” by Jennifer Chiaverini, who seems to be finding a niche writing novels about Mary Todd Lincoln (see Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckley, Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival), presents Mrs. Lincoln as a somewhat unpleasant and unlikeable First Lady, although she did seem to adore her husband, Abraham. I didn’t find the book to be very interesting, but I did learn a lot about Mary Todd Lincoln and her family, especially her sisters, who didn’t seem to be overly patient or kind to their famous sister.

In contrast, Curtis Sittenfeld writes a brilliant and engaging novel about Hillary Rodman, “Rodman,” which surmises what would happen if Hillary turned down Bill Clinton’s third offer of marriage, and went on to live her own life. While at times the politics of the book made it drag, overall this is a tour de force, written with some wonderful humor. I loved how this book turned out, and found Hillary Rodman quite an endearing character. I was really cheering her on throughout the book.

Regardless of how the election on Tuesday turns out, I can see foresee that a novel about Melania would be quite fascinating, don’t you?

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