Dolley: A Novel of Dolley Madison in Love and War

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Bantam, 1994 - Fiction - 382 pages
16 Reviews
"From the delightfully provocative pen of bestselling author Rita Mae Brown comes a fresh and fascinating new novel that breathes life into one of this country's best-loved legends..." "She's the wife of the fourth president of the United States; a woman with merry blue eyes and black curls, who adores parties, the latest French fashions, and the tender, brilliant man who is her husband. In the whole of this young nation, there are few people who don't like Dolley Madison and many who love her. Yet even as they succumb to her charm, scarcely any realize just how complex she is." "Only in the pages of her diary - as imagined by novelist Brown - can this courageous and impulsive woman fully reveal herself. And there we discover the real Dolley, exciting, human, and vibrantly modern. She is a woman whose Quaker upbringing has taught her to abhor violence and to think of others before herself. She is a contented wife whose long-ago loss of her handsome first husband and beloved child taught her to cherish the past - but live in the moment. And she is a shrewd political helpmate who has learned to curb her tongue in the presence of friend and foe alike." "All of these tough lessons have forged in Dolley a steely strength that serves her well when, in 1814, she faces her hardest trial: The fledgling United States is once more at war with arrogant, mighty Britain, and James Madison is the most hated man in public life." "We first meet Dolley in a Washington simmering with rumors - political, social, and sexual. The British navy menaces the coast while the pigheaded secretary of war refuses to believe the nation's capital could be their target. Warhawks such as the charismatic Henry Clay and the opposition, led by the silver-tongued Daniel Webster, maneuver in and out of Congress. Dolley's quick wit shines a light on all of their shenanigans, as well as on those closest to her: Anna, her outspoken sister and confidante...Lisel Serurier, beautiful wife to the French minister and cynical survivor of the French Revolution... Sukey, Dolley's maid, a sulky black Venus on her way from slave to courtesan..."French John," Dolley's majordomo - and her spy in all of the places prohibited to her sex." "As the year wears on, the frozen winter gives way to the heat and dust of a Washington summer. Politicians and fearful citizens alike slink out of town as everyone waits for the British to strike - where? When the attack comes, Dolley is the last to leave - saving George Washington's portrait as explosions rumble - and the first in the saddle, ready to search for her husband as the battle rages." "In Dolley, Rita Mae Brown reveals a love story that triumphed over the British threat, the powermongering of politicians, and the volatile loyalties of the American populace. Based on years of careful research and peopled only with true characters, this illuminating novel gives us history at its most exuberant and agonizing, and a heroine both tough and tender. For there has never been a first lady so tested...or one who came through the fire so brilliantly."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Review: Dolley

User Review  - Kerri - Goodreads

I gave up on reading this book. The writing was too dry for me. Read full review

Review: Dolley

User Review  - Ann - Goodreads

I enjoyed this! Didn't really know anything about Dolley Madison and learned quite a bit. Also learned about the War of 1812. Written in a very enjoyable and very readable manner. Read full review

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About the author (1994)

Rita Mae Brown was born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, on November 28, 1944. She received an associate's degree from Broward Junior College in 1965, a B.A. in English and classics from New York University in 1968, a Cinematography Degree from the School of the Visual Arts in 1968, and a Ph.D. in English and political science from the Institute for Policy Studies in 1976. She was the writer-in-residence at the Women's Writing Center of Cazenovi College and a visiting instructor teaching fiction writing at the University of Virginia. After publishing two books of poetry, she published her first novel, Rubyfruit Jungle, in 1973. Her works include The Hand that Cradles the Rock, Sudden Death, Venus Envy, Loose Lips, and Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser. She writes the Mrs. Murphy Mystery series and Foxhunting Mysteries series. She also writes screenplays and teleplays including Sweet Surrender, Room to Move, Table Dancing, and The Long Hot Summer. Her work on TV earned several Emmy nominations and she received the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Variety Show in 1982 for I Love Liberty.

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