Courting Mr. Lincoln (Bayard) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Bayard has written eight other novels, and he’s extraordinarily gifted at blending provocative fiction with history. The details of [Mary Todd and Lincoln’s] courtship are lovely to read, but Lincoln’s time with Speed is much more riveting. At book’s end, who’s courting Lincoln remains an enticing mystery.
Washington Post

A rich, fascinating and romantic union of fact and imagination about young Lincoln, the woman he would marry and his beloved best friend. Bayard’s compelling take on this question is not academic, nor is it a polemic; Courting Mr. Lincoln is intimate, warm and, above all, compassionate. Bayard is concerned with the possibilities of the human heart, and he presents an enigmatic Lincoln seen—and loved—from two other points of a romantic triangle…. [T]he greatest triumph of Courting Mr. Lincoln is how effectively Bayard creates suspense, even when we know how the story ends. Love is love is love, after all, and he invests us deeply in the moving journey of three extraordinary people.

Thoroughly researched and thrillingly plotted…. Filled with rich historical detail and compulsively readable, Courting Mr. Lincoln is a story of a best friend, a future wife, and the political legend that they came together to create, each leaving an indelible mark on the man that would one day become president. Fans of historical fiction will be up late into the night to uncover the next chapter of this fascinating time in history.
New York Journal of Books

A wildly clever imagining of Honest Abe's complicated personal life. In Courting Mr. Lincoln, Louis Bayard, an accomplished historical novelist, breathes life into the massive cultural icon whom we know so well, but really don’t have much of a clue about. Read the book. You’ll thank me.
Washington Independent Review of Books

[T]he early days of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln’s relationship [is a] delightful embellishment of American history.… This charming love story delicately reveals the emotional roller coaster of two inexperienced adults… trying to meet the… expectations of society.
Publishers Weekly

Mary falls for an ungainly young lawyer with a golden tongue, and their interest in politics cements the deal. In the background is Joshua Speed, Abraham Lincoln's friend, roommate, and possible lover, and he shares narration responsibilities with Mary.
Library Journal

With a richly imagined setting and complex characters…this [is] a worthy addition to the fiction-about-Lincoln bookshelf.

(Starred review)  Mary Todd… gets a welcome contemporary reappraisal as a woman of spirit and will… rather than [a] needy hysteric…. Not a lot of action, but in Bayard’s skilled hands, three complicated people groping toward a new phase in their lives is all the plot you need.
Kirkus Reviews

[E]nchants and thrills… [Bayard's] meticulous, almost otherworldly, understanding of his historical subject awes and inspires.… He offers more reasons to love one of the most admired presidents in U.S. history and proves yet again why he is one of the nation's greatest literary gems.
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