Lucy by Ellen Feldman

My book club hated this book. They were so busy scorning it, and the writing of Ellen Feldman, that I was almost embarrassed to say that I liked it. There’s something about illicit relationships that draws me to study them like a moth to a flame.
They rarely work out. Even with players as powerful as presidents, how can one leave his wife for his love? Certainly Franklin Delano Roosevelt wanted to leave Eleanor for Lucy Mercer. Or, so he said. But, how would he then have become president once he was divorced? The country could not have withstood such a disgrace from their leader-to-be in the 1920s.
That didn’t stop them from loving each other, though. Lucy went on to marry Winty Rutherford, and have six children of her own, while Franklin led America through the turbulent times of the Great Depression and WWII. After Winty died, she continued to see Franklin all the way up to his death at 63 years of age.
You can feel sorry for Eleanor. You can shake your head at the morals of men and their staff. But after reading Lucy you can’t deny the profound love she felt for Franklin from the time that she was 24 until the day she died.
Which, I believe, he also felt for her.

11 thoughts on “Lucy by Ellen Feldman”

  1. Human relationships are so complex, aren't they. My grandfather always said, "There are three sides to every divorce: his, hers, and the truth." I suppose that's the same for marriages that last, too! It seems only fair to let Lucy's side be told as well. Thanks for your review, Bellezza!


  2. Col, I love hearing the wise sayings from grandfathers. Yours certainly had a valid point! I could never be a marriage counselor, for trying to muddle through all the 'he said'/'she said' selfish muck. The author created living breathing characters in this work of historical fiction, so that it read far better than something purely factual would have read.Bermudonion, that's a great question I should have addressed more clearly in my post. They absolutely chortled at the phrasing and vocabulary, saying it almost sounded like Danielle Steele, to which I completely disagree. How can you make a woman in love, involved in an affair, not sound a bit overly romantic? It was part of what made the reader sympathetic to Lucy. Perhaps therein lies the problem: no one was feeling any pain for Lucy.


  3. It does sound interesting. I'll have to troll the library once I've finished Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan (about Frank Lloyd Wright and his illicit/love affair). I agree with you, Bellezza, that there is just something about these relationships, especially from long ago, that are inimitably fascinating. With all the terrible news about teachers and our futures these days, we might need a little more escapism. Take care!


  4. JoAnn, it is fascinating. Not only is it an insight into a love triangle, it's an insight into American history.Ms. George, how funny that you should mention Loving Frank because I so meant to make that connection in my post! I said at our book club how much their story reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright: a powerful/creative man with his mistress on the side. The writing styles of the two authors were similar as well as the story, in my opinion. As to the futures of teaching, don't get me started. There are changes I've never seen in my twenty six years on the horizon, from a national core curriculum to fragile pensions. I can't imagine what our future will be, but I sometimes suspect that public schools as we know them will be destroyed. And on some days, that might be a good thing.


  5. It's interesting to me that you and I are so often on parallel planes when it comes to what we're reading. Or, what interests us. I'll definitely look at the review link you gave me in your comment. xoxo


  6. Carrie, I've not heard of Scottsboro, but I found Lucy to be so well written and so well researched. I'm sure you'll like this, too, and now I'll have to look into Scottsboro (without telling my book club! ;).


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