Book Review: Mrs. Lincoln's Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini
This one has taken me a long time to post, folks. It took a long time to read--and I only made it halfway. The idea of Mrs. Lincoln's Rival is great. It's the true story of Kate Chase, the daughter of Salmon P. Chase. Mr. Chase had hopes of receiving the Presidential nomination in the 1860 elections, but he lost to Abraham Lincoln. Kate was forced to lay aside her dream of becoming the First Lady, but when her father was nominated by President Lincoln as the Secretary of the Treasury she became the second most influential woman in Washington DC society. She and Mrs. Lincoln were enemies from the start and were in a competition for popularity.
This book sounded so interesting and I was excited to read it. The first chapter was great as Kate and Mrs. Lincoln had their first face-to-face meeting, and Kate royally dissed the First Lady. Then I was plunged into what felt like a history lesson for the next chapter. I thought this was just some background the story would resume, but it never did. I struggled to read it, but finally gave it up. I read and read, but Kate and Mrs. Lincoln still hadn't met again by the midway point. Even though I was honestly learning a lot of history that I somehow missed in school, it was just a little too tedious for me. I finally decided that a book that I have to force myself to read isn't worth reading at all.
This book seems to be really popular, so you may want to try it. I promise that you will know more about the Civil War when you're done, but maybe not much about the rivalry between Kate Chase and Mary Todd Lincoln. Jennifer Chiaverini is definitely a talented author, and does great historical research, but her style just isn't for me.
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for this review.