Thursday, June 3, 2010

May's book thoughts

Rachel Donelson Jackson

My book for May was about the life of Rachel Jackson (President Andrew Jackson's wife). I remember my mom telling me about this book several years ago. She suggested it to me and I resisted I guess because of my feelings about Andrew Jackson. For years, in my mind I have related him to being the "Indian killer" of a President. Not so much a fan. I finally decided to give it a try. I recently finished it and it is still lingering in my mind. The book, though not extremely well written in terms of literary skill, was enjoyable. It was a historical fiction so you have to take it with a grain of salt that some of it is fabricated. However, even though it was an "easy read" I found I enjoyed it. For those of you who don't know much of her the time period was later 1700s and earlier 1800s. She married young to a dashing military man who turned out to be adulterous (with a slave he owned) and emotionally abusive to Rachel. She was forced out of his house several times and embarrassed/harrased on multiple occasions because of him. During this horrible on/off marriage she met Andrew Jackson. He was a lawyer that boarded with her family. In the end her husband becomes almost crazy and she has to escape to the South (still owned by Spain). She has to live there in hiding from her husband till Jackson finds out that her husband has asked for divorce from her. Jackson then goes South and marries Rachel. Sadly, the divorce somehow was never recognized by the law for two years (even her ex-husband didn't know that). Two years later Rachel is accused of committing adultery (HORRIBLE accusation then...still now I think). She is mortified by this and sadly this nasty title follows her the rest of her life. The book portrays the love of Rachel and Andrew so sweetly. Granted I don't know how exactly it was, but from the footnotes and research done it seems genuine. I just can't get over how hard it must have been to live with that accusation. I have a greater respect of her; when I knew very little of her before. (my opinion of Andrew has improved some, although still not really my favorite President) I can't wait to someday talk to these people and find out just what it was like and what really happened. Sorry for the history lesson. It's just been an interesting literary experience. I love history!

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