Hey, everybody, a great new book: Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker by Susan Campbell, published this year by Wesleyan University Press.
Because I heard Susan speak in St. Louis, I can almost hear her speaking as I read Tempest-Tossed. She jokes, embraces, and waxes eloquent at times.
I'm loving the book and Susan's voice and the historical person Isabella Beecher, who married John Hooker.
It reminds me of The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates, which I read last summer. That book is historical fiction set in Princeton around 1903-4. It's a Gothic romance, actually--lots of murders and scary houses but with a happy ending for the lovers.
The time frame overlaps a little with the life of Isabella, born in 1822 and dying in 1907.
Another similarity is the mixture of famous and nonfamous pre-modern characters, some of which feel modern.
Susan has chosen to stick to the facts, unlike Joyce, who romps through the historical people's lives with a free imagination.
But both authors have chosen a fascinating set of women and men to bring to our attention.