A while ago I posted a review of book I read back in 2007 but wanted to mention on this blog because it was a charming tale (and I was in the mood to write about something light). The book I mentioned was Becky by Lenore Hart. In recalling how much I enjoyed that book, I did a little web search of Ms. Hart and found she had released another book - also dealing with a fictionalized version of historic characters but this time focusing on Edgar Allan Poe. I secreted the title away in my mind to pick up in the future, so imagine my surprise when on my very next trip to the library, Hart's book was facing me from the front of the New Fiction shelf!
The Raven's Bride is the story of Virginia "Sissy" Clemm, first cousin to Edgar Allan Poe who later becomes his wife. The story follows young Sissy who is charmed by her cousin at a very early age and weds him when she was just 13 and he 27. As a reader it was odd to think about this relationship in modern context, but Hart writes in such a way that Sissy's feelings for Edgar and her intellectual attraction to him seem quite natural. Despite her youth, she comes across as very mature and her relationship with the moody writer makes for a very interesting story.
Hart ties Edgar's relationship to Sissy with the inspirations for his most famous works and paints a believable picture of what their life may have looked like. Granted, the story of Poe's life is a tragic one. Plagued with alcoholism and financial instability, Edgar and Sissy walk a rocky and troubled road. Sissy's health also fails and though she and Edgar don't have long together, Hart weaves in a bit of the supernatural in a way that is both a positive spin to the story and a tribute to Poe's darker tendencies.
In the author's note, Lenore Hart reveals that her own name is taken from Poe's most famous poem and her admiration for him is shown in her dedication to detail regarding the life of the master writer. The Raven's Bride is an unique and original story and acts as a great companion work to those seeking to learn more about the lives of Edgar Allan Poe and his lesser known wife.