Saturday, September 12, 2009

How Do I Love Thee by Nancy Moser

I was given the chance to read How Do I Love Thee? by Nancy Moser though Bethany House's blogger review program. When I requested this book I had no idea what kind of life Elizabeth Barrett lived nor have I ever read her poems or any of Robert Browning's. This book is fiction but does pull actual events from Elizabeth's life as she lives all but a recluse.

The summary of the book from Bethany House: "Elizabeth Barrett is a published poet--and a virtual prisoner in her own home. Blind family loyalty ties her to a tyrannical father who forbids any of his children to marry. Bedridden by chronic illness, she has resigned herself to simply existing. That is, until the letter arrives... "I love your verses with all my heart," writes Robert Browning, an admiring fellow poet. As friendly correspondence gives way to something more, Elizabeth discovers that Robert's love is not for her poetry alone. Might God grant her more than mere existence? And will she risk defying her father in pursuit of true happiness?"

Having never read Nancy Moser's writing before I will say I was satisfied. Her writing in this book seems very deep and she captures the language of the period, which is very flowery with a depth to it that to some will have to be deciphered. This is not a book to read late at night when your eyes are drooping because of the language of the letters exchanged it can become confusing and you'll wonder what happened the next day. However, if you're a history buff and you like a lot of heavy more than fluff this book is right up your alley.

I liked the way Nancy Moser weaves history into the fiction, it makes it feel as if you are reading a non-fiction book even though you are not. She did include the historical facts surrounding Elizabeth Barrett's life and her 'illness' as well as her life after meeting Robert Browning. Also included is "Sonnets from the Portuguese", many of Elizabeth's sonnets were written for her eyes only but have been published.

So if you're a poem fan, fan of Elizabeth Barrett, or a fan of history then this book is a must read. Like above I would suggest you be fully awake while reading because the heavy letters of Barrett and Browning could have you dozing off instead of enraptured by the story. This is not your usual romance - no racy scenes are described, or at least not what I read, so even a young, unmarried woman can read this book without fear of where her mind will wander. If you have never read Nancy Moser's books before I suggest you begin with this one.

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