Spotlight/US Giveaway: Courting Mr. Lincoln by Louis Bayard

Courting Mr. Lincoln by Louis Bayard

Paperback Published:  February 2020 – Algonquin

Book provided by the publisher

Description:  When Mary Todd meets Abraham Lincoln in Springfield in the winter of 1840, he is on no one’s short list to be president. A country lawyer living above a dry goods shop, he is lacking both money and manners, and his gift for oratory surprises those who meet him. Mary, a quick, self-possessed debutante with an interest in debates and elections, at first finds him an enigma. “I can only hope,” she tells his roommate, the handsome, charming Joshua Speed, “that his waters being so very still, they also run deep.”

It’s not long, though, before she sees the Lincoln that Speed knows: an amiable, profound man who, despite his awkwardness, has a gentle wit to match his genius, and who respects her keen political mind. But as her relationship with Lincoln deepens, she must confront his inseparable friendship with Speed, who has taught his roommate how to dance, dress, and navigate the polite society of Springfield.

Told in the alternating voices of Mary Todd and Joshua Speed, and inspired by historical events, Courting Mr. Lincoln creates a sympathetic and complex portrait of Mary unlike any that has come before; a moving portrayal of the deep and very real connection between the two men; and most of all, an evocation of the unformed man who would grow into one of the nation’s most beloved presidents. Louis Bayard, a master storyteller, delivers here a page-turning tale of love, longing, and forbidden possibilities. (publisher)

My take: I guess I’ve been living under a rock because until this novel I’ve never heard any mention that Abraham Lincoln was rumored to be gay. Courting Mr. Lincoln is about his early years in Illinois – where he met Mary Todd and where he lived with his good friend Joshua Speed and two other boarders above Speed’s shop. The novel is told from the perspectives of Mary and Joshua which served to give depth to the characters and added to my empathy for both. I’ve always thought Lincoln seemed like a sad man, consumed with melancholy – and that feeling continues with Bayard’s Lincoln. In contrast I was intrigued by Speed’s magnetic personality. No one could escape his pull. I’d want to sit next to him at a dinner party. For me this was an enjoyable read with sparkling dialogue that kept me turning the pages. Courting Mr. Lincoln is a different look at our 16th President and I’m glad I read it. I feel compelled to read more about Joshua Speed. I love when that happens.


Praise for Courting Mr. Lincoln

“An exquisite novel about how Lincoln’s courtship of the brilliant, complicated Mary Todd intersected with his long and very (possibly VERY) close friendship with Joshua Speed. Courting Mr. Lincoln is so subtle and human and heartbreaking, infused with sly wit. I loved every word of it, and the end is note perfect. My heart broke for both Joshua and Mary, and at the same time, they were the lenses that let me think about my favorite president in new ways.” 

—Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Never Have I Ever

 

“[W]ith a richly imagined setting and complex characters…a worthy addition to the fiction about-Lincoln bookshelf.”

Booklist

 

“Bayard fictionalizes the early days of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln’s relationship in this delightful embellishment of American history. This charming love story delicately reveals the emotional roller coaster of two inexperienced adults traversing the unknown realm of love while trying to meet the demands and expectations of society.”

Publishers Weekly

A gripping historical thriller … an entertaining novel by a gifted storyteller.”

The Washington Book Review

 

“[An] acute and passionate portrait…[I]n Bayard’s skilled hands, three complicated people groping toward a new phase in their lives is all the plot you need.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

“Bayard does an exceptional job of keeping readers engrossed as he weaves fact and fiction in this intriguing tale of intimacy between Lincoln and his two closest confidantes.”

BookPage

 

“ What Bayard has accomplished is to take popular figures in U.S. history and not only make them more real — if that is possible — but humanize them to a level where we all can relate to them. Courting Mr. Lincoln is engaging because Bayard has such a fine way with words. The result is a triumph of a novel and an unforgettable read that is a true page turner.”

Bookreporter.com


About the author:

Louis Bayard is a New York Times Notable Book author and has been shortlisted for both the Edgar and Dagger awards for his historical thrillers, which include The Pale Blue Eye and Mr. Timothy. His most recent novel was the critically acclaimed young-adult title Lucky Strikes. He lives in Washington, DC, and teaches at George Washington University. Visit him online at www.louisbayard.com

Photo credit: Tim Coburn


US Giveaway

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5 thoughts on “Spotlight/US Giveaway: Courting Mr. Lincoln by Louis Bayard

  1. Hi Mary,

    I know that I am not eligible to enter the giveaway for this book, and unfortunately, whilst a couple of the authors other books feature on NetGalley, this one doesn’t!

    Whilst, as a Brit, I never studied the US Presidents in any great detail at school, I have always enjoyed historical research and this story is oddly intriguing, without seemingly being too heavy going for the casual reader.

    It seems as though this giveaway comes highly recommended by yourself, so Good Luck to everyone who enters 🙂

    Yvonne
    xx

    Like

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