@READ DOWNLOAD ⚢ Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker ⚝ eBook or E-pub free

The long and the short of itThe short of itMrs Lincoln s Dressmaker was well written, kept my interest and introduced me to a period of history I knew very little about For that reason, I am not in a position to comment on its historical authenticity I found the book well researched and the author, Jennifer Chiaverini, provided an interesting and pretty extensive list of reference materials and books some of which I hope to read at a later date Where I thought the book really shone was in its character development There were two principals in the story both women and the author s descriptions of each elicited strong feelings from me demonstrating the author s ability to provide human, in depth and very much alive very alive character development It doesn t get much better and there is the added bonus of a period setting during an important period in North American and Black history.The writing also sparkles She would almost prefer to fold her arms and sink into an eternal slumber, so that the great longing of her soul for peaceful rest would at last be gratified Page 246 Mrs Lincoln s Dressmaker is an historical fiction well worth reading The long of itI found the most impressive character in the book to be Elizabeth Keckley Mrs Lincoln s Dressmaker She is portrayed as a very self reliant and formidable woman blessed with creative talents as well as entrepreneurial and business skills She was also described as a woman of caring character at most times fair, thoughtful, kind and loyal She was a former slave who worked hard and saved to pay for her own freedom and the freedom of her son Despite the fact that her estranged husband provided no support, either monetarily or emotionally for herself or her son, Elizabeth Keckley never spoke ill about him to anyone Hers was a tough life but she didn t complain and seemed content She spent what little free time she had with close friends and in service to others.The Civil War background permeated the story north versus south, friends versus friends, and families versus families As described, the war took huge economic, physical and emotional tolls on both sides Many lives were lost Many relationships and buildings were destroyed.This book however is not a Civil War story It just took place during this time period Nor is it a story about Abraham Lincoln He just happened to be married to one of the principal characters The primary focus of the book is on the relationship between Elizabeth Keckley and Mary Todd Lincoln.While Elizabeth Keckley is described as Mary Todd Lincoln s dressmaker, the book suggests she was muchthan that It seems that Elizabeth Keckley was Mrs Lincoln s closest confidante and possibly her only friend, although my sense of Mrs Lincoln was that despite Elizabeth fulfilling all the roles and unselfish acts that a true friend would, Mrs Lincoln seemed a bit too pre occupied with herself and her position to actually recognize or acknowledge this While Mary often speaks kindly and sends positive notes to Elizabeth saying you re the only one I can talk too, you re the only one who has stood by me etc., I don t recollect Mrs Lincoln ever once using the f word as in friend Of the two women, I quite preferred Elizabeth Keckley You can chalk it up to my biases or whatever you wish I do feel a great deal of empathy for a woman in the role of presidential wife and mother, particularly one who seemed to be in a marriage with an absentee physical and emotional husband and father I also recognize that this added a lot of strain to Mrs Lincoln s life and that she seemed to be living like a widow, long before her husband was fatally shot Additionally, the author presents Mary Todd Lincoln as a fairly fragile and emotional woman Despite, taking all of the above into account, I absolutely could not connect with Mary Todd Lincoln I found her to be self centred, whiny, demanding and so bereft of self esteem that it was painful Her shopping sprees and extravagances only reinforced this impression I don t doubt that she felt she was protecting and advancing her husband s causes I also sensed that she was truly dedicated to whatever would be the best for her husband and her sons, and would commit to helping them no matter what personal sacrifices were required Nonetheless, in the continuum of things, my overall impression based on the author s story was that Mary Todd Lincoln was unfortunately very shallow and interested primarily in appearances, overly fragile to the point of veering on the edge of a nervous breakdown, and unfortunately suffering emotionally from lack of attention from her husband and lack of self esteem and isolation I sensed from her mood swings and spending sprees, and frequent very high highs and extremely low lows that she perhaps was exhibiting symptoms of bipolar disorder Don t get me wrong I am not trashing Mary Todd Lincoln Her strong love of her husband and family were evident but often bordering on ethereal love versus demonstrable love by doing Mrs Lincoln seems to have been someone who very often lived in her mind and imagination and seemed prone to paranoia She seemed to really lack grounding That is perhaps why she relied so heavily on Elizabeth Keckley whose nature was almost the exact opposite a grounded, let s get started doing things and let s get them done kind of a person.I found the story of the two women s relationship to be fascinating It was almost like they were co dependant Mary Todd Lincoln couldn t or perhapsaccurately, wouldn t stand up on her own two feet and Elizabeth Keckley couldn t or wouldn t leave Mary Todd Lincoln when it seemed to be in her own best interest to do so There are also examples and discussion in the book about systemic racism, fairness and not judging a book by its cover or people by the colour of their skin Then it occurred to her Elizabeth Keckley that if Tad Lincoln s son had been a colored boy rather than the son of a president, and a teacher had found him so difficult to instruct, he would have been ridiculed as a dunce and held up as evidence of the inferiority of the entire race Tad was bright Elizabeth knew that well, and she was sure that with proper instruction and hard work, a glimmer of his father s genius would show in him too But Elizabeth knew many black boys Tad s age who could read and write beautifully, and yet the myth of inferiority persisted The unfairness of the assumptions stung If a white child appeared dull, the entire race was deemed unintelligent It seemed to Elizabeth that if one race should not judged by a single example, then neither should any other Page 249If you enjoy historical fiction and character development and are at all interested in the American Civil War or Black History, give Mrs Lincoln s Dressmaker a try Be forewarned however that this is primarily a story about the relationship of two women rather than The American Civil War and Black History. I found it interesting to read the reviews of this book on Goodreads many say this book was too dry, and too unlike Jennifer Chiaverini s other books This is exactly why I liked it The book wasabout history than dress making And I love reading history books, thetrue to history, the better The first half was almost like watching the movie Lincoln This is how I visualized Mrs Lincoln as Sally Fields played her in the movie I ve not read other biographies of Mrs Lincoln, and I don t really care to readShe sounds like a very unpleasant and unstable woman I figured the book would end with the assassination of President Lincoln, but his death happened about halfway through the book I didn t know a thing about Mrs Lincoln s life after President Lincoln died It was a rather tragic life, and sad to read But the book is a good read and interesting commentary on race perceptions during this era as well as a fictionalized biography of Mary Todd Lincoln. @READ DOWNLOAD õ Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker á In Mrs Lincoln S Dressmaker, Novelist Jennifer Chiaverini Presents A Stunning Account Of The Friendship That Blossomed Between Mary Todd Lincoln And Her Seamstress, Elizabeth Lizzie Keckley, A Former Slave Who Gained Her Professional Reputation In Washington, DC By Outfitting The City S Elite Keckley Made History By Sewing For First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln Within The White House, A Trusted Witness To Many Private Moments Between The President And His Wife, Two Of The Most Compelling Figures In American History In March , Mrs Lincoln Chose Keckley From Among A Number Of Applicants To Be Her Personal Modiste, Responsible Not Only For Creating The First Lady S Gowns, But Also For Dressing Mrs Lincoln In The Beautiful Attire Keckley Had Fashioned The Relationship Between The Two Women Quickly Evolved, As Keckley Was Drawn Into The Intimate Life Of The Lincoln Family, Supporting Mary Todd Lincoln In The Loss Of First Her Son, And Then Her Husband To The Assassination That Stunned The Nation And The World Keckley Saved Scraps From The Dozens Of Gowns She Made For Mrs Lincoln, Eventually Piecing Together A Tribute Known As The Mary Todd Lincoln Quilt She Also Saved Memories, Which She Fashioned Into A Book, Behind The Scenes Thirty Years A Slave And Four Years In The White House Upon Its Publication, Keckley S Memoir Created A Scandal That Compelled Mary Todd Lincoln To Sever All Ties With Her, But In The Decades Since, Keckley S Story Has Languished In The Archives In This Impeccably Researched, Engrossing Novel, Chiaverini Brings History To Life In Rich, Moving Style I read this back in October for book club and while I appreciate learning about Elizabeth Keckley and her amazing accomplishments after buying her freedom from slavery, it wasn t enough save the book The writing style and the insertion of very long passages of the Civil War battles that read like a history textbook made it a slog.The character of Ms Keckley was written as saintly, with no nuances to her character I would have liked to have read about the prejudices she endured, yet, based on this book, there were none It was a lot of telling, very little showing.I think my time would have been better spent reading Ms Keckley s memoir I was so bored that would have DNF d if it had not been a book club selection However, we had a good discussion, mainly because we all looked up the true story of Elizabeth and Mary Todd Lincoln. I loved the idea of the book But I just didn t feel the characters I found it quite dull to read It would have been much better had it focused on Elzabeth s past and then took us to her successful days as a dressmaker. To me, historical fiction is like a Chinese buffet for the most part, I will devour it And sometimes it will be really, really enjoyable usually it will be satisfying And every once in a great while, it will leave not food poisoning, but at the very least a bad taste in my mouth, and a feeling of bloat, and a frustration of I wasted my calories time on this With grody Chinese food, it s usually lo mein noodles And with historical fiction, it s this book It has been a very long time since I have encountered historical fiction less riveting andflat than Mrs Lincoln s Dressmaker It s a shame, because there s such potential in the subject matter the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her dressmaker, one time slave Elizabeth Keckley But what could have been a great story about someone often overlooked by history, filled with historical details and emotional depth and opportunities for dialogue on race, is reduced to a story told passively and flatly, with little dialogue or interestingly rendered historical details, and which is littleinformative than a standard issue college textbook Honestly, for asatisfying read on similar subject matter, try Barbara Hambly s The Emancipator s Wife it s farengrossing, and a muchintelligent and three dimensional exploration of both Mrs Lincoln s mental and emotional troubles and her relations with African Americans, both freed and enslaved. I ve read nearly all of Jennifer Chiaverini s Elm Creek books so I was really looking forward to reading this new one, about Elizabeth Keckley, who was Mary Todd Lincoln s modiste or in other words, her dressmaker This book did not disappoint Jennifer has a real talent of bringing history alive Elizabeth was born into slavery but through sheer hard work and determination, she was able to buy, not only her own freedom, but also the freedom of her son I was very impressed by her and by her amazing loyalty to Mary Todd Lincoln, who I thought, did not deserve it at times, nay, much of the time Elizabeth stayed by her side through thick and thin, especially when Mrs Lincoln nearly went mad with grief with the loss of her young son, Willie The scene where Abraham Lincoln finally points out to her the insane asylum and tells her she may end up if she doesn t get a grip on herself, which she does, was rather foreboding, as she really ends up in an asylum towards the end of her days I really didn t know much about the wife of President Lincoln, but I had heard that she was rather a handful and the book proves this right I was amazed that she managed to amass over 70,000 worth of debt, which is huge now, but would have been even huger then, and over what dresses, boas, furniture, etc She was exceedingly foolish in that regard Poor Elizabeth put up so much with Mary and yet at the end of her days, when she is living in a small basement room and after being treated rather shabbily I thought, she still has a portrait of Mary on her wall No matter what I think, it is a testament to Elizabeth s undying devotion, loyalty and forgiveness. Well researched and it shows in the novel Unfortunately it was drier reading than Keckley s actual autobiography 2.5 stars rounded up Disclaimer This review is based on an ARC edition of the novel I received from NetGalley.Having never read Chiaverini before, I was free of most expectations but one I thought the story was going to be about Mrs Lincoln s dressmaker, Elizabeth Keckley And, while ostensibly she narrates the novel, her personality and experience are almost non existent.The novel could rightly have been named Mrs Lincoln s Story, as Told by Her Dressmaker The focus is so much on Mary Lincoln that Elizabeth s story gets subordinated We re almost always told about her reaction to something that has happened to Mrs Lincoln, rather than really shown it, but even in scenes where Chiaverini could have taken a bitlicense, it feels as if we re reading the somewhatexciting version of a textbook.There is a huge focus on detail battles and backgrounds are explained as if the reader might have little or no familiarity with the war but so much of this is extraneous to Elizabeth Instead, we re told how it affected her through the ways that those things affected the Lincolns I really longed for Elizabeth to have her own story I wanted to knowabout her interactions with her staff, her friends, and those she volunteered with on the contraband committee For a work of fiction, this one took the least amount of license to portray its lead character.When Chiaverini emphasizes Mrs Keckley s story her son s death, her trip back to the older plantation, her dealings with the publishers of her book the novel works best I only wish this was the majority of the very long, long book. Redundant and unnecessary book most of the content consists of verbatim quoting of Mrs Keckley s memoirs, with no new original research to expand her character Only the last 10% contains anything different from the memoirs, and it feels rushed and incomplete since the last thirty years of her life are condensed in the retelling Very disappointing As I read this book I kept thinking how much stronger the novel would be if it was written from the perspective of one of her apprentices As it is, with Keckley as the novel s focus vis a vis her own memoirs, there are noinsights into her character than what she herself gave I recommend going straight to the source and reading Keckley s memoir itself out of respect for a woman who was vilified in her time for what she wrote, versus reading this book which in the end profits off of Keckley s writing in a way she herself never could.ETA The following blog of Smithsonian Magazine givesinsight into Keckley than this entire book does