If like me you have ever wondered what it would go back in time and meet a famous writer before he became famous – then wonder no more. This novel about Edgar Allan Poe and Mr Poe is as unique as it is intriguing. I was not only a reader when I read this book – I stepped into the parlour, to one of the private gatherings that Mr Poe attends where he reads his poem The Raven to a select group –
The language of the book not to mention the painstaking research that the author Lynn Cullen has carried out shines from every page. Yet this book has a surprise up behind its sleeve –
The title is misleading for a very good reason –
It’s not a simple love story
It’s not just about the writing of Mr Poe but his life and times
It’s a complicated in nature yet easy to read insight into the life of a great writer
The novel takes place over the winter of 1845 to the winter of 1846 in New York’s Greenwich Village. Not only does the author keep true to Poe’s life in terms of his poems and stories but she writes about the wider setting of the world of newspapers and publishing at that time.
What is particularly interesting in this novel is the fact that it is written from the perspective of Frances Osgood and not Mrs. Poe, Virginia Poe, as would be expected. I didn’t know a lot about any of these truelife characters and had only read one book of Edgar Allan Poe. However this made the book more intriguing as it made me want to find out about him and the women in his life.
Frances Osgood was a poet at the time Edgar Allan Poe was indeed having success. Frances Osgood had published children’s books including the mention in the novel of ‘Puss in Boots’. She and Edgar get on well and although it is not known whether they really did have an affair – I discover this is somewhat of a literary mystery in itself – there are many twists and turns and obstacles in their way as they meet up in secret.
This novel is so multilayered however that as your become immersed in the story, you will find yourself sneaking around in the dark and you turn the page and find that there is a literary knock on the door….
There are lots of snippets of Poe’s and Osgood’s poetry sprinkled throughout which adds to the literary setting brilliantly. Speaking of which, the changing seasons of Greenwich Village are stunning and rich in texture and you can see the changes running across every page.
Wander the dark, dank streets of 19th century New York
Walk in the footsteps of Edgar Allan Poe
Meet the women in his life
Experience the history of how Poe and Osgood’s work lives on today…
with a journey back in time to the beginning