Awarded three stars on Goodreads but 3.5 stars is more accurate. An interesting read. I felt informed but I certainly wasn’t dazzled.
I did not know much about Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980) before reading this novel. Just that she was the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, a long-time social force in Washington DC, and known for speaking her mind. From this book, I certainly learned more about her and the ways she rebelled against the rules imposed (largely because of her gender) during the 20th century. I also came to admire her formidable talents.
Alice was independent, strong-willed, intelligent, and feisty. It is easy to understand why a WOMAN with these qualities would have so challenged the restrictive expectations of society, especially during her formative years.
The daughter of Teddy Roosevelt’s first wife (who died just after Alice’s birth), Alice grew up feeling like an outsider in his second family, with an uneasy relationship with Teddy’s second wife. Luckily, when Roosevelt became president, Alice became a darling of the American public — setting fashion trends and loving all the attention. Eager to establish life away from her father’s home, Alice soon marries Nicholas Longworth III, a promising member of the U.S. House of Representatives who later becomes Speaker of the House. But theirs is NO conventional marriage where she disappears into the background. Instead, Alice maintains her strong interest in national politics, exercises her sharp wit, and uses her public clout to support some politicians and derail others.
Referred to as “the OTHER Washington monument” for her decades of influence, Alice remains a force in the Capital for most of her life. (She didn’t die until 1980 at the age of 96.) She experiences losses, triumphs, and loves. She defies convention. All the while managing to be true to herself and her beliefs. A very interesting woman, way ahead of her time. I can’t help but wonder what she might have accomplished if she’d been born 50 years later.
More about the author Stephanie Marie Thornton.
You may be interested in my review of another book by Thornton, AND THEY CALLED IT CAMELOT.