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Search tags: Abigail-Adams
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review 2018-03-12 01:55
Substantial cast, good historical fiction mystery
The Ninth Daughter - Barbara Hamilton

I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I would! It was a great mystery with a hefty set of characters (historical and otherwise) with an underlying theme of political tension playing throughout the plot.


I think that’s what made the book enjoyable, was despite the mystery being the main hook, the political tension and bickering between the patriots and the British was always in the forefront and mentioned when need be as it was central to the story. Every so often you had mention of Abigail’s refusal to drink tea for example, or minor scuffles happening between citizens and the Redcoats.


Despite the tensions however, Abigail puts her ideas and beliefs aside and works alongside the British to solve this mystery. I enjoyed reading her character. She’s strong willed and has a good retort every so often when she needs to speak out, which shocks other characters as it wasn’t considered “proper”. I enjoy Abigail’s unorthodox behavior and it may seem as if she gives an air of an annoying stubborn woman, but it’s because of her personality that things get done no matter whose side you’re on or who you support.


John and Abigail’s relationship was also nice to read. They’re both equals and you can see a subtle quiet strength between them and they compliment each other perfectly. There’s a mutual respect between the two and if they were alive now, they would probably be a political supercouple ;)


The mystery aspect of the book was good and the intrigue is definitely noted. The setting is superbly done and very descriptive. The list of suspects was substantial and revelation of the culprit isn’t much of a surprise but the execution of obtaining the criminal and his background story was excellent to read , and was very satisfying to see the bad guys get their dues. The supporting characters are also well done - although I have to admit, there are just a little too many for me. Even minor characters have their personality and details and although it’s good and makes the world building more detailed and rich, sometimes it’s a bit hard to follow as to who’s who. (Perhaps a section of cast of characters would help in this case - especially when some characters share the same last name)


I’ll be picking up the next book to read. It’s definitely worth looking into for those that love historical fiction mysteries. The tea has been dumped!!! So you have to figure out what sort of chaos is going to happen and what mystery Abigail will solve next.

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review 2016-01-18 23:12
First Ladies: The Life and Legacy of Abigail Adams - Charles River Editors
  This is a short history of Abigail Adams. She is interesting. She and John were committed to one another. He listened to her even if he did not always follow her advice. She was a strong woman who raised their children and ran their farm while John was away on business or politics. I am fascinated by her, the more so because she was largely home-schooled and self-taught. She was not the norm for those times.
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review 2015-01-08 01:08
Review of First Family by Joseph Ellis
First Family: Abigail and John Adams - Joseph J. Ellis

I very much enjoyed this book and give it closer to a 4.5 rating.  I love reading about John and Abigail Adams and their family and this book was obviously all about their personal and public lives.  There was nothing new in this book in terms of the role the Adams family played in the Revolutionary Period, but I loved the sections on their marriage, parenting, friendships, and all other aspects of their personal relationships.  I think Ellis was fair in his evaluations of their personal and political successes and failures.  Excellent book.  

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review 2014-06-16 13:02
The other Mrs. Adams
Louisa Catherine: The Other Mrs. Adams - Margery M. Heffron,David L. Michelmore

Intelligent, cultured, capable, fluent in several languages, and the only First Lady born outside the United States, Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams is less well known but, based on this biography, every bit as interesting as her mother-in-law Abigail. Louisa and her husband John Quincy Adams were devoted to each other, but not always happy together. Born to an American father and a British mother, Louisa married John Quincy when she was still very young and for years had to yield most decisions about their lives to her husband, a state of affairs that contributed to her bouts of ill health, but when called upon to act or make decisions she rose to the challenge showing initiative, insight, and determination, and when allowed more autonomy than conventions dictated her health always seemed to improve.


In the early years of their marriage John Quincy held diplomatic posts in Berlin, St. Petersburg, and London, posts that didn’t pay well since the United States was still in its infancy. With limited resources Louisa was forced to be resourceful and inventive in order to put together fashionable outfits suitable for court events, but no matter. With her wit, skill at dancing, and fluency in French she charmed everyone, including royals (except for George IV who ignored her, but the Regency Prince wasn’t necessarily someone a lady wanted to be chummy with.)  Louisa’s life circumstances give this book a unique angle on history, and the detailed, colorful picture of pre-Victorian nineteenth century life in some of Europe’s most exciting capitals is one of this book’s many pleasures. Just as fascinating are the book’s chapters set in the early, still rough and tumble Washington, DC, where ruts in the city streets were sometimes deep enough to overturn carriages. In Washington Louisa became John Quincy’s unofficial political strategist, throwing highly sought out parties that helped position him for his presidential run.


But the very most exciting part of the book for me is Louisa’s rushed and treacherous winter journey from St Petersburg to Paris, where she and her six-year-old son were to join John Quincy. Without her husband there to take charge, Louisa proved just how capable she could be on a trip that became more dangerous as it went along. First there was the early darkness and icy weather, then the battle scarred devastation and political chaos caused by Napoleon's army, and finally before she made it to Paris Napoleon himself escaped from Elba and crazed partisans overran Louisa's route, repeatedly halting her coach with threatening demands for proof of her loyalties.


Louisa Catherine: The Other Mrs. Adams captivated me and my only complaint is that at 356 pages it’s too short, ending just as John Quincy Adams became president after the very controversial election of 1825. Author Margery M. Heffron had planned a longer book but passed away before it could be finished. A joy to read anyway, Heffron’s book has whet my appetite for more about Louisa, and I’d also dearly love to read a book about Louisa’s lively and equally intriguing sisters who are introduced in this volume. There is already at least one other book about Louisa in print, Michael O’Brien’s Mrs. Adams in Winter, and since it covers the forty days Louisa was traveling from St. Petersburg to Paris it’s become a must-read for me.


Source: jaylia3.booklikes.com/post/906862/the-other-mrs-adams
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review 2014-03-08 14:55
First Family: Abigail and John Adams
First Family: Abigail and John Adams - Joseph J. Ellis

Before Bill and Hillary took to the White House, or Al and Tipper inspired Love Story, in a pre-Brangelina world (if one can imagine it), there was another power couple, John and Abigail Adams. 

This book is a portrait painted primarily through the letters between John and Abigail, with careful attention paid to the irony that we know the least about the times during which they were together. Luckily for us (not so much for the wife and kids), John's time was often dominated by his political duties and featured a lengthy (we're talking years) stint as a diplomat abroad. Thus, what Joseph J. Ellis calls the "paradox of proximity," isn't too much of a handicap. 


John and Abigail Adams

The tone and topics of their correspondence range from gag-worthy lovey-dovey lines during their courtship, to diatribes on the behind the scenes political dealings in France, and the occasional chastising word from Abigail re. John's shortcomings as a parent. Abigail's political and intellectual astuteness are of particular importance given John's resistance to party politics, and the tricky dynamics of internal governmental dealings when the position of vice president went to whoever came in second, and the appropriateness of the use of executive power to pick and choose and oust cabinet members was not yet clear. 

The trying melée and scandals of the young republic are all there. A line from Jim Butcher's Storm Front I came across seemed to fit well, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face." Maybe there weren't any face-eating demons, but there was more than enough paranoia and betrayal to go around. In his twilight years, it seemed all too appropriate that John envisioned debating Franklin in the hereafter. However, the one who he most hoped to encounter once more was, of course, Abigail. 
Ben Franklin and John Adams

Despite the abundance of good material out there, I am not all that familiar with the other Adams-centric works. What I can say, is that this told what felt like a reasonably full story of the American Revolution (the Spirit of '76 and whatnot) and of the life and times of one of the nation's founding families.

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