Undiscovered Country: A Novel Inspired by the Lives of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok (Hardcover)

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I was skeptical going in, and I’m here to tell you, this is not some sensationalized historical fiction story. McNees is a research powerhouse who has done the painstaking work of pouring through over 300 letters of correspondence between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickock that began early in the 1930s. Just before Franklin D. was sworn into office, the country had a burning desire to know what his wife was like. The story was too soft for Lorena Hickock, “Hick” to all who knew her, a journalist with a rough background that led her into the male-dominate New York reporter scene. And yet, the paper need a woman reporter. How else would the country get to know the future first lady? Surely a man didn’t have the finesse to talk with Eleanor about women’s interests like redecorating and cooking tips. Well. The country hadn’t met this kind of first lady. Nor had it met this kind of reporter. The two were destined to have a beautiful relationship from the start. I knew virtually nothing about Hick and Eleanor Roosevelt’s companionship before reading the book, but by the time I was finished, I recognized that not only had I been given a history lesson in the early stages of Roosevelt’s New Deal, but I had also been given the lovely narrative of a relationship that required sacrifice, courtesy, and respect of the highest level. This novel was a graceful reminder to stop and appreciate how far our country has come (and of course, how far we still have to go) in regard to all intimate affairs of the heart.

— Jessilynn

 

I was skeptical going in, and I’m here to tell you, this is not some sensationalized historical fiction story. McNees is a research powerhouse who has done the painstaking work of pouring through over 300 letters of correspondence between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickock that began early in the 1930s. Just before Franklin D. was sworn into office, the country had a burning desire to know what his wife was like. The story was too soft for Lorena Hickock, “Hick” to all who knew her, a journalist with a rough background that led her into the male-dominate New York reporter scene. And yet, the paper need a woman reporter. How else would the country get to know the future first lady? Surely a man didn’t have the finesse to talk with Eleanor about women’s interests like redecorating and cooking tips. Well. The country hadn’t met this kind of first lady. Nor had it met this kind of reporter. The two were destined to have a beautiful relationship from the start. I knew virtually nothing about Hick and Eleanor Roosevelt’s companionship before reading the book, but by the time I was finished, I recognized that not only had I been given a history lesson in the early stages of Roosevelt’s New Deal, but I had also been given the lovely narrative of a relationship that required sacrifice, courtesy, and respect of the highest level. This novel was a graceful reminder to stop and appreciate how far our country has come (and of course, how far we still have to go) in regard to all intimate affairs of the heart.

— From Jessilynn

Description


InUndiscovered Country, Kelly O'Connor McNees adroitly mixes fact and fiction to present an intimate portrait of the love that bloomed between these two women, hidden in plain sight. Using historical records (including the more than three thousand letters the pair exchanged over a span of thirty years), McNees portrays their relationship from their introduction as reporter and subject through their intense first meetings, their burgeoning affair, and the conflicts that arose as journalist Hick's ethics were hopelessly compromised by her affection for the woman she was supposed to be covering. A remarkable portrait of Depression-era America (including Hick and Eleanor's work on the founding of Arthurdale, the federal housing project in West Virginia for homeless ex-miners), Undiscovered Country is thoroughly researched, highly readable, and beautifully subtle--an extraordinary portrayal of one of the greatest unknown love stories in American politics.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781681776798
ISBN-10: 1681776790
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
Pages: 336
Language: English
 

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