Though I attended Baylor University and nearly daily walked past the beautiful library on campus dedicated to Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I knew little or nothing of either poet nor of their romance. Oh, I visited the Armstrong Browning library a few times—and it is gorgeous by the way, or it was way back when—and certainly I studied a sampling of their poetry at some point in my educational career, but as for Elizabeth and Robert themselves, I must admit to being ignorant.
So I was excited to discover that Nancy Moser continued her series of novels based on historical women with this next installment, How Do I Love Thee? A Novel of Elizabeth Barrett browning Poetic Romance. I read Just Jane (about, who else, Jane Austen) and loved it. I read Washington’s Lady and liked it (though, admittedly, not quite as well as Jane).
Knowing nothing of Elizabeth, I’m not sure my ignorance helped or hindered my enjoyment of the novel. It turns out Elizabeth Barrett is more or less an invalid and a recluse, partly due to her own frail health and partly due to her father’s tyrannical rule that keeps her and her siblings sequestered and forbids them to marry. Most of the first half of the novel is dedicated to Elizabeth’s confinement to her room, to her weak health and to her blind loyalty to her father’s oppressive demands. Though she did indeed suffer great loss, I have to say I found her to be an unsympathetic character. Her sickness seemed unreasonable; her weakness and lack of assertion was frustrating.
The emerging relationship with Robert Browning made the second half certainly the most interesting and intriguing portion of the novel—who doesn’t love a clandestine, secret romance? As her love for Robert grew, so did Elizabeth’s determination to be well, whole, and alive. In fact, the Elizabeth that falls in love with Robert is in great contrast to the Elizabeth who so frustrated me in the beginning of the book. She finally realizes her father’s unreasonable tyranny for what it was and even went so far to defy him in ways she would never even attempt before.
Though Moser readily admits to this being a work of fiction, her careful research is clear throughout How Do I Love Thee? and at the end of the book she notes what is true and where she employed dramatic license. Included in the novel are actual quotes from portions of Robert and Elizabeth’s many letters, making their true love story all the more compelling.
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….
If you’d like to win this novel from Bethany House, leave a comment here (U.S. and Canadian shipping addresses).
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Angela C. says
I would love to win a copy. Thanks for the giveaway.
accoupons at gmail dot com
Marla Taviano says
One of these days I’m going to win something. Can’t wait! 🙂
Mocha with Linda says
I was so excited to see she had written this. I’m anxiously awaiting my copy to review. Y’all always get your copies first! Hmmpff! 🙂
It sounds interesting. I need to look at her other books as well.
Just Mom says
This sounds like a great series – thanks for hosting the giveaway!
Kerry S. says
YES, I’d love to win this book!!! Thank you for the drawing.
I read Just Jane and enjoyed it, I’d love to read this one as well!
Anita Yancey says
This book sounds really good. Would love to win it. Please enter me.
This sounds fantastic! Sign me up!
Sounds great! Thanks!
I’ve love to win this book!
I would love to win this novel! I’m addicted to historical novels, especially biographical ones.
karen k says
I so enjoy your book reviews. Please add my name to this giveaway. Thanks.
Kipi (In My Own Little Corner) says
I hadn’t heard of these books, but they sound like ones that I would enjoy!
Barbara H. says
I’ve heard parts of the Brownings’ story, but I’d love to read this.
Certainly does sound intriguing. I haven’t read this author yet but know I’d probably like her books.
The book sounds great and like something my sister-in-law would love as well.
I love this romance! I had “How Do I Love Thee” (th poem) recited at my wedding and it still makes me cry. This is a must-read for me. Thanks for the opportunity.
Cheryl S. says
I love the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning but know very little about her as a person. I would really enjoy this book.
Please count me in – Thanks!
Martha C says
Sounds like a fun read!
Sounds wonderful! I’m totally intrigued. 🙂 Elizabeth and Robert Browning… what a great topic!
Please include me in your giveaway.
Daniel M says
been getting more into history lately, looks good!
I’ve enjoyed the historical fiction books I’d read, so I’d love to be entered in the giveaway for this one!
What a delightful book. Thanks
I’ve read one of Moser’s other books and liked it so would love a chance at another one!
Maria Delgado says
Yay! Thsi looks like a greart read! Oh pick me pick me!
emily L says
Would love to win this!
Thanks for the chance to win! Would love to own this.
Jenny Martin says
Oh…I love this poetry…I could subtly leave it out for my hubby to read.
Rebecca Cox says
Would love to win this book. These are my two favorite poets and reading their love story would be amazing!
This sounds like a book worth reading.
Pamela S says
Oh I would LOVE to win this!!! I love Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Although this is a fictionalized account of her life, it sounds like it’s very much based on true facts about her journey. I’d LOVE to win this. (Yep….I said it again!! LOL)
Thanks! This book sounds very interesting!
I would love to read this! Elizabeth Barrett Browning is one of my favorite authors and her life is fascinating!
Sounds like a lovely book! Thanks!
Sounds like a very good read!