After finishing one of Robuck's books, I've found myself researching Ernest Hemingway, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Zelda Fitzgerald and now Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia. To take a fiction novel to the level that Robuck does - making me want to read more about these real people and the lives they led - is fantastic and unlike any other reading experience I've had before.
When I first opened the beautiful deckled-edge pages of The House of Hawthorne (the edges always deserve comment) I knew I was in for a treat. I had no prior knowledge of Nathaniel Hawthorne's life and I had never heard of his wife, Sophia. I'm in the minority of adults who has not had to read The Scarlett Letter at some point in my life and so, though I knew of Hawthorne, I did not have any info going in. And let me tell you, his adult life was a bit rough.
Overall, this is the love story of Nathaniel and Sophia. Their incredibly intense romance was fascinating to read about and the atmosphere Robuck created surrounding their relationship was complicated and beautiful. I could feel the passion and pain of the characters as I read the words and really just wanted to see their story have a happy ending. Life in the mid-19th century was difficult, to say the least.
I was completely transported to the time period and setting and after finishing the last page, found myself looking up information about Nathaniel Hawthorne. Well done, Erika Robuck. Another winner!
Review copy provided by publisher.