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Edgar Allan Poe died in 1849 at the age of 40, a man who lived only a short time but left a long impression.  He was orphaned as a young child and disowned as a young man but managed to turn his internal terrors into literary work that has endured.

Set in a time when women were chattels, Mrs. Poe takes place in the 1840s, a few decades after the death of Jane Austen.  The romantic tone  is similar, stolen glances and hidden desire.   What held my interest in this story were the cameo appearances of Edgar Allan Poe's contemporaries . The list is long; Louisa May Alcott, Walt Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emmerson, John Bartlett of Bartletts Quotations, Clement Clarke Moore and composer Franz Liszt.

Politicians of the day were debating the creation of Central Park, turning 700 acres of Manhattan into recreational land, displacing over a thousand poor farmers and gardeners in the process. It would have been a contentious plan, I'm sure.

The storyline is a little dark, Booklist says  "It's enough to make the teacups rattle."  By today's standards only the fine china would be affected.


Image: Mrs. Poe

Mrs. Poe

By Cullen, Lynn