In my mom's words, "I've read nearly all of Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek books so I was really looking forward to reading this new one, about Elizabeth Keckley, who was Mary Todd Lincoln's modiste or in other words, her dressmaker. This book did not disappoint. Jennifer has a real talent of bringing history alive. Elizabeth was born into slavery but through sheer hard work and determination, she was able to buy, not only her own freedom, but also the freedom of her son. I was very impressed by her and by her amazing loyalty to Mary Todd Lincoln, who I thought, did not deserve it at times, nay, much of the time. Elizabeth stayed by her side through thick and thin, especially when Mrs. Lincoln nearly went mad with grief with the loss of her young son, Willie. The scene where Abraham Lincoln finally points out to her the insane asylum and tells her she may end up if she doesn't get a grip on herself, which she does, was rather foreboding, as she really ends up in an asylum towards the end of her days. I really didn't know much about the wife of President Lincoln, but I had heard that she was rather a handful and the book proves this right. I was amazed that she managed to amass over $70,000 worth of debt, which is huge now, but would have been even huger then, and over what---dresses, boas, furniture, etc. She was exceedingly foolish in that regard. Poor Elizabeth put up so much with Mary and yet at the end of her days, when she is living in a small basement room and after being treated rather shabbily I thought, she still has a portrait of Mary on her wall. No matter what I think, it is a testament to Elizabeth's undying devotion, loyalty and forgiveness."
Check it out and have a good book day!