Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Raven's Bride by Lenore Hart

First of all, this is one of the best covers I have seen this year. Absolutely gorgeous.

This is a historical novel about Edgar Allan Poe and his wife, Virginia aka Sissy. It is told from Sissy's POV and begins in Baltimore with her as a child playing with dolls and ends with her "haunting" Edgar in a way.

Sissy and Edgar are cousins. She loves him from the moment she sees him and they agree to marry and he promises to always care for her and her mother. They marry when she is a mere 13 years of age, almost 14 and he is 26. (They don't do it for a while though.. she's 16 before they get it on...)

Basically, they move from place to place while Edgar writes, succumbs to the drink here and there, quits his editing jobs, and uproots them all over again. Sissy's mother pretty much becomes their maid, follows them everywhere, cooks, cleans, does laundry, takes care of them when they are sick. I liked the mother despite the fact she pretty much runs the show. She says something thought evoking at one point, "People have often needed me, but-no one ever wanted me before to, to ... just be with them."

Sissy just sings, plays music, gardens, walks to the market, and eventually ends up coughing a lot. She gets consumption. This is what I didn't like... Sissy feels.. worthless.. always has mommy to do everything for her.

The novel is well written and a superb look at the life of Edgar Allan Poe and what was behind his dark musings, poetry, and writing, but by the time I reached the 70 % mark, it grew repetitive and I grew bored.

Favorite quote, again from the mother: "you can't complain of things to a man, for you see, it only irritates and makes them angry. At least when it's not something they can quickly remedy."

Three stars. I bought this on Amazon Kindle.


  1. This one interests me, will patiently wait for the library copies to arrive. I believe this is going to be a Book of the Month discussion at HFO. March I think but don't quote me.

  2. This book is much more than its plot, its actions proper. Rarely will you find in today's first-person narratives a story-teller who renders her subjective vision so well.
    Never trust a first-person narrator; look for what the narrator does not understand and you will find in good work a richer, deeper story of an archetypal action--as you do here.
    As someone commented elsewhere, it takes a novel to get to the soul--in this case of Poe, albeit it indirectly, which in itself is a neat trick, a great feat of craft and vision--of a historical character. As a great commentator on the ILIAD, said, a story is a higher truth than what actually happened. RAVEN'S BRIDE is a fully imagined narrative by a young, impressionable girl totally dedicated to Poe.

  3. It is too bad it is nearly a word for word "copy" of a book called The Very Young Mrs. Poe by Cothburn O'Neal

  4. maudelynn, I read your insightful post thanks to a friend's link on GR. I am shocked, utterly shocked. I read this book before I was aware of the issue, however. Had I known, I most likely never would have purchased it or read it. I have not read the older one to compare myself, but I do not like what others have pointed out to me. Truly, I am surprised.

  5. Tara,
    That isn't my post! I was linked to it, as well. I am an avid Poe buff and was directed to the articles earlier, myself!
    But yes, it is startling!