In a letter to her husband, dated March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams admonished her husband to remind the Continental Congress that in their quest for independence they “remember the ladies.” Always good advice! There are new books about and by ladies who are well worth remembering.
There was never a woman more reviled and more fascinating than Wallis Simpson. The Queen Mother called her THAT WOMAN; distinguished biographer Anne Sebba presents the first full scale biography written by a woman. She’s really done her homework to find the true story about this enigmatic Baltimore native. Sebba had access to previously undisclosed correspondence, as well as a treasure trove of historical documents, which she utilized to try to answer the questions that have persisted down through the decades. What was it about this divorcee that was so irresistible, it made a king renounce his throne for her? How could a female who was neither beautiful nor brilliant, from a modest background, cause such an upheaval in the venerable British monarchy? Was she a Nazi sympathizer? Did she truly learn taboo sexual techniques in the Orient? Did Wallis and “David” really have the love affair of the century?
Bay Buchanan has never been accused of being a shrinking violet. In BAY AND HER BOYS, she recounts how she coped when she learned that her husband was divorcing her, while she was pregnant. This former Treasurer of the United States and conservative icon boldly took on the challenge of raising three boys herself, while maintaining her career. She offers step by step rules to live by, including the need to take charge, establish family traditions, and strip parenting down to the basics.
Isabel Gillies was also taken by surprise when her marriage fell apart. A YEAR AND SIX SECONDS begins with the author being broke and jobless, and moving into her parent’s Manhattan apartment with her two young children. Bit by bit, she pulled herself together and worked to establish a viable routine for her family. She determined to have a civil relationship with her ex-husband for the sake of the kids; she started dating; and finally, she fell in love again.
Whatever could have possessed Shakespearean professor Eloisa James to uproot her family, sell her house, and make up her mind to discover PARIS IN LOVE? What would it be like to have leisure time to explore the City of Light, walking, discovering little tourist-free museums? Can all this be the antidote to the experience of losing a mother, and coping with a cancer diagnosis? Can fine chocolate, luxurious lingerie, and delectable cheese really make a difference? Well, couldn’t hurt!
The “lady” in the title of SOPHIE, by Emma Pearse, is a beloved Australian Cattle Dog who, amazingly, was lost at sea, and swan six miles through shark invested water to reach an island where she survived on her own for five months. Raised as a pampered household pet, Sophie was especially close to Bridget, the young daughter of the Griffith household. And once she survived her ordeal, Sophie was once again the little girl’s devoted companion.
We all have the spirit of adventure within us, but we can’t all marry the king of England, move to France, or survive on feral instinct. But isn’t great that we can read about those who can?
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com