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Publisher's Summary

"A fascinating glimpse into the women of an influential family on the front lines of some of the most important moments of that indelible time." (Booklist)

The New York Times best-selling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker returns to her most famous heroine, Mary Todd Lincoln, in this compelling story of love, loss, and sisterhood rich with history and suspense.

In May 1875, Elizabeth Todd Edwards reels from news that her younger sister Mary, former first lady and widow of President Abraham Lincoln, has attempted suicide. Mary’s shocking act followed legal proceedings arranged by her eldest and only surviving son that declared her legally insane. Although they have long been estranged, Elizabeth knows Mary’s tenuous mental health has deteriorated through decades of trauma and loss. Yet is her suicide attempt truly the impulse of a deranged mind or the desperate act of a sane woman terrified to be committed to an asylum? And - if her sisters can put past grievances aside - is their love powerful enough to save her? 

Maternal Elizabeth, peacemaker Frances, envious Ann, and much adored Emilie had always turned to one another in times of joy and heartache, first as children, and later as young wives and mothers. But when Civil War erupted, the conflict that divided a nation shattered their family. The Todd sisters’ fates were bound to their husbands’ choices as some joined the Lincoln administration, others the Confederate Army.

Now, though discord and tragedy have strained their bonds, Elizabeth knows they must come together as sisters to help Mary in her most desperate hour.  

©2020 Jennifer Chiaverini (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Mrs. Lincoln's Sisters

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Civil War didn't break sister's bond

Ms. Chiaverini's writings are intriguing and make me want to know more about her characters. She provides enough detail to create a vivid picture but not so much that the reader gets lost. I can believe that this piece of historical fiction based on the lives of the Todd sister's and the time surrounding the American Civil War portrays a very realistic view of life of families of that time split by sentiments for North or South. At a time when the Todd sisters could have been irreconcilably torn apart, family was stronger than politics.

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So So story

I usually like Jennifer chiaverini books but this one I just got through. it was like a gossip column. it lacked drama and a complex story. Basically, the whole story was Ms. Lincoln's sanity and how her sisters dealt with it. wouldn't recommend it.

3 people found this helpful

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solid and compelling

Would I recommend it? Yes, but not enthusiastically. There was nothing wrong with the book but at times it felt like a marathon. The story was exhausting!

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Wonderful book!

I have most of Jennifer Chiaverini’s books and have never been disappointed. This is an awesome historical fiction novel and would highly recommend. I once had the privilege of meeting the author at a book signing in Colorado.

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This book changed my view of Mary Todd Lincoln

In books and movies of President Lincoln, his wife was often portrayed as self centered, and often unfeeling towards others. I never really liked her. So I thought reading this book would give me more information about her. Although it is fiction, it is based on many facts and a truer picture of Mary Todd Lincoln is revealed showing how she grew up, and the events that shaped both her younger years and adult years. The story starts with the point in time when Mrs. Lincoln is confined to an insane asylum. The oldest sister asks the other sisters, closest in age to Mary to come and discuss what they should do. Should they not care for Mary themselves? I like the way the author went back and forth between the past and the present time the story was dealing with. The past would show events with a sister and how they had helped each other or what had divided them, then go back to their present time as that sister tried to decide what to do. Truly a fascinating story. It also shows how the Civil War divided the Todd family between the North and the South and the results that had on their family. Well worth listening to. It really changed my mind about Mary Todd Lincoln and gave me a better understanding of her actions. The narrator made you forget she was but one person reading a book to you, but made it sound like a group of performers. Well done.

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Good but somewhat repetitive

Although I enjoyed the book, the subject matter is repeated over and over throughout the novel.

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Another Excellent Historical Fiction Piece

Filled with facts, this look into the lives of Mrs. Lincoln and her sisters is very interesting and informative. I think it’s the author’s best yet! If you’re interested in the Lincoln’s, an interesting new look at Lincoln’s last photo sheds even more light on Mrs. Lincoln’s mental health. (The last photograph is a documentary.)
A great reminder of the patience needed when dealing with loved ones who struggle with mental health issues.

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Not my cup of tea

went to sleep..missed the ending.. couldn't stay interested. might just be me. Busy time of the year...

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Very enjoyable!

I originally downloaded this book for my Mom and I to listen to on a road trip because she had it on her list of books to read. We didn't end up listening to it together but I thought I'd give it a try anyway. I truly enjoyed it - the history and the perspectives. I also liked the narration. She did a great job! This was a surprise hit for me all around.