The Raven's Bride: A Novel

The Raven's Bride: A Novel - Lenore Hart NO SPOILERS!!!

One need not be a Poe aficionado to enjoy this novel. Take note, it is a novel. Edgar Allen Poe married his cousin Virginia, nicknamed Sissy, when she was thirteen. He was thirteen years her elder. They met when she was eight. The setting is Baltimore, Richmond and New York, the time period the first half of the 19th century. It was interesting to compare this book with the one I just finished about Hokusai and his daughter (The Printmaker's Daughter), since that too took place in the early 19th century, although in Edo, Japan. Two artists struggling to voice their own perception of the world around them. Two artists influenced by those they loved. Both struggled with illness and poverty. Yet each story is very, very different.

What I particularly enjoyed about this book was how Poe's world of impending doom, horror, eternal love, beauty and death are also present in Sissy's tale of her life with Eddy. She shares a life with him, but we see her separate identity and view on his actions and decisions. It is this, her personal views; hat makes this a novel, but a very intriguing one. Her death of consumption will draw you in just the horror present in Poe's imaginative writing does. There are elements of the supernatural that also fit Poe's writing style. Nevertheless she represents her side of their relationship and they are not always in accord. She is not merely a weak, child, but someone with her own desires and wishes and obligations toward her husband. The familial relationship is also complicated and similarly interesting. The prose style drew these bonds movingly.

The conclusion, with its imaginary ending, was a bit too cute for me. Otherwise, I have no specific complaints with the book. It transported me to another era. The story related was engagingly told. I learned about Poe's life. Please, a three star book means I enjoyed the reading experience. Maybe for others a three star rating means the book is not worth reading. This is not true for me.

P.S. Lenore Hart, the author of this novel, was named after the dead beauty portrayed in Poe's famous poem, "The Raven". Sissy, too, saw herself portrayed by Lenore and struggled with such a fate!