Book Review: The House of Hawthorne By Erika Robuck

THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE

By: Erika Robuck

Published: May 5, 2015

Publisher: NAL

Fiction/Historical Fiction

I feel very ignorant when it comes to knowledge about our most prolific and talented writers from history. Yes, I have heard of Thoreau, Hawthorne, Emerson, and Melville, but didn’t realize they were all friends. I didn’t realize some lived in poverty, with depression, or had vast political connections. Nathaniel Hawthorne, most famous for his book THE SCARLET LETTER, was such an odd man. He was passionate, secretive, and deeply in love with his wife Sophia. But he often acted selfishly and left Sophia to handle things without giving a thought to her needs. He would have drove most wives mad, but Sophia was always waiting patiently for him. She waited for him to decide to marry her, stayed with him through poverty and depression, and put aside her artistic talents to raise and mother their children. THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE tells their story, from her perspective.

Robuck details Nathaniel and Sophia’s passionate and intense relationship that was also full of disappointment and failures. Robuck begins by telling of Sophia’s younger years, detailing her debilitating headaches, her beautiful paintings, and how she eventually meets Nathaniel. Sophia Peabody Hawthorne was a captivating woman who was kept in Nathaniel’s shadow and often took a backseat to his notoriety when she was likely just as talented in her own right. He was a complex man and an irritating husband who often put his relationships with other authors and even presidents above his family’s needs. They lived with much discord between family and friends because of their political beliefs against slavery which also resulted in financial and job loss.  The publishing of THE SCARLET LETTER came at a impoverished time for the family and helped ease their difficulties but also thrust Hawthorne into the spotlight, which he didn’t like.

Photo taken from the pages of THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE

Robuck aptly offers a spotlight on women and their role (even if it was viewed as less important) in history. She gives an honest and revealing portrait of the lives of artists and writers in the 1800’s. This story shares a very intimate look at the lives of the Hawthorne’s and their families. It details the many different homes they lived in and especially Sophia’s deep connection to nature. The reader will appreciate the many descriptions of the country at that time and will feel the emotions along with the characters.

Photo taken from the pages of THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE

It took me a bit to get used to the writing style as Robuck used language befitting of the era and of course, of an artist. But Robuck definitely has a way with words that are delicate and deep. Her sentences are beautifully written. I can only assume she writes as Sophia herself would have written in her journals.

THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE is emotional, believable, and well-researched. Robuck is extremely talented at bringing historical literary figures back to life. If you would like to read my review of her book, FALLEN BEAUTY, click HERE.

Erika Robuck – Photo Credit Catsch Photography LLC

Erika Robuck is a contributor to the fiction blog Writer Unboxed, and she maintains her own blog, Muse. She is a member of the Hawthorne Society, the Hemingway Society, the Historical Hovel Society, and the Edna St vincent Millay Society. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and three sons. For more information, check her website, www.erikarobuck.com. You can also find her on Twitter, HERE, and Facebook, HERE.

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Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this novel. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase a copy of this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you paying a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 
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