House of Hawthorne By Erika Robuck
They say behind every great man there is a woman. For the past few years we’ve been given many novels about celebrated men and their behind the scenes wives. They make us not forget those of fame were just people who married women who complimented and complemented them. I’ve enjoyed a few of these novels. They made me stop and realize the human side of the name on the book cover.
This is the story of the life of novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne and artist Sophia Peabody. Sophia suffered from debilitating headaches her whole life and they seemed to manifest themselves the most when she painted. Her family all but gave up on Sophia ever having a full life. She was encouraged to sit this one out. Yet she couldn’t deny her gift and was a celebrated painter.
Sophia and Nathaniel first laid eyes on each other and then never took them off each other. This is the story of their love, their family, their passion for their own work, and the struggle to produce their works in their own right. Of course, Sophia is the one who encouraged her husband to do what he must do to build his reputation as a writer while her painting was put aside to care for him, their children and families across decades and continents. The story was a good one, and the references to other famous families (Hawthorne, Alcott, Thoreau, etc. )of the middle 1800’s sharing many scenes and put the times in context. If you enjoy the latest books of the women behind the men, this one won’t disappoint you. I promise.
Netgalley review copy