Courting Mr. Lincoln

Courting Mr. Lincoln

A Novel

Book - 2019
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"A miracle; an exquisite story exquisitely told . . . If you love Jane Austen, or Hamilton , or fiction--of any era--that transports and transforms in equal measure, look no further." --A.J. Finn, bestselling author of The Woman in the Window. From the prizewinning author of Mr. Timothy and The Pale Blue Eye comes Courting Mr. Lincoln, the page-turning and surprising story of a young Abraham Lincoln and the two people who loved him best: a young, marriageable Mary Todd and Lincoln's best friend, Joshua Speed. When sparky and independent Mary Todd arrives in Springfield, Illinois, in the 1840s to live with her sister, who is determined to find Mary a husband, she is astonished to find herself drawn to an awkward, melancholic lawyer with a gift for oratory. The two share ambition, an obsession with politics--and a need to be suitably married off. Always at Lincoln's side, however, is the charming Joshua Speed, a shopkeeper who became his mentor in society, loyal friend, roommate--and possible lover. Told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Todd and Speed, this witty, psychologically astute, and brilliantly plotted novel follows the threesome during Todd and Lincoln's tumultuous courtship, with all the suspense and delight of the best Jane Austen novels. Historians have long speculated that Lincoln and Speed had a romantic relationship, and here Bayard explores that forbidden possibility with deep empathy. Rich with both period detail and contemporary insight, Courting Mr. Lincoln offers smart storytelling at the highest level.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina :, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781616208479
Branch Call Number: FIC BAYA
Characteristics: 379 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Courting Mister Lincoln


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Jan 05, 2020

I will grant that this is a well-researched and very well-written book. But to be honest, I couldn’t manage any sympathy for the three main characters. They are all of them selfish and thoughtless of those they profess to care about or even love. Be aware that this is not a romance and you shouldn’t go in expecting genre-obligatory elements like protagonists willing to sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of the ones they love, or a HEA/HFN or that fundamental element of *hope*.

Dec 01, 2019

Fascinating view of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, with much about Lincoln's friendship with Joshua Speed, very worth-while read.

DCLadults Jun 25, 2019

A New & Noteworthy pick. There’s more to the Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln story. Enter Joshua Speed, Lincoln’s roommate and mentor. Inspired by historical events, here is an early and complex picture of a young Abraham Lincoln told by his closest friends.

Apr 14, 2019

Abraham Lincoln is a giant in American history. This book gives us the opportunity to examine the man early in his legislative and law career through the eyes of Mary Todd and Joshua Speed. Both of them loved Abe and were anxious for him to be successful. Unfortunately the two seemed unable to share Abraham's good will. Throughout the story, the advantage seems to seesaw back and forth until the Todd/Lincoln wedding occurs in late 1842. After that we get two glimpses of their future -- one from each. Proverbs 27:17 says, "Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another." In His divine providence, God used Joshua Speed to give Lincoln the polish needed to court Mary Todd. Then He used Mary Todd to hone Lincoln's political instincts. Thus our nation was blessed to have Lincoln in the White House when we needed him. I believe this book will most definitely give modern readers a better understanding of Mary Todd and the forces she was subjected to by history. Quite enlightening!


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