“Through meticulously researched historical detail and sympathetic portrayal of each character, including Mary herself, Chiaverini provides a fascinating glimpse into the women of an influential family on the front lines of some of the most important moments of that indelible time.” —Booklist
The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker returns to her most famous heroine, Mary Todd Lincoln, in this compelling story of love, loss, and sisterhood.
One bright morning in May 1875, Elizabeth Todd Edwards is shocked to learn that her younger sister, Mary Lincoln, the former First Lady and widow of President Abraham Lincoln, has tried to poison herself.
Although they have been estranged for years, Elizabeth knows how tenuous Mary’s mental health has been after losing three sons and witnessing her husband’s murder. Robert, her eldest and only surviving child, has become convinced that his mother is a danger to herself and has begun legal proceedings to have her committed.
Is Mary’s attempt to take her own life truly the impulse of a deranged mind, or the desperate act of a traumatized but sane woman terrified of being locked away in an asylum? Searching for answers, Elizabeth looks back at Mary’s fraught history with her closest sisters—Ann, Frances, Emilie, and herself—and the divergent paths of their lives.
In this stunning novel, Jennifer Chiaverini reveals how the fortunes of these sisters, born into wealth and privilege in a genteel Southern family, become forever bound to their husbands’ choices, tested by war, the loss of children, husbands, and siblings. The bonds uniting them are frayed by grief, distance, and discord. Is sisterly love powerful enough to save Mary, who had risen higher than any of them but endured far more suffering?