White Houses
by Amy Bloom

Overview - The unexpected and forbidden affair between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok unfolds in a triumph of historical fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of Away and Lucky Us .

"I never envied a wife or a husband, until I met Eleanor.  Read more...

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More About White Houses by Amy Bloom
The unexpected and forbidden affair between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok unfolds in a triumph of historical fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of Away and Lucky Us.

"I never envied a wife or a husband, until I met Eleanor. Then, I would have traded everything I ever had, every limo ride, every skinny dip, every byline and carefree stroll, for what Franklin had, polio and all."

Lorena Hickok meets Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt's first presidential campaign. Having grown up worse than poor in South Dakota and reinvented herself as the most prominent woman reporter in America, "Hick," as she's known to her friends and admirers, is not quite instantly charmed by the idealistic, patrician Eleanor. But then, as her connection with the future first lady deepens into intimacy, what begins as a powerful passion matures into a lasting love, and a life that Hick never expected to have. She moves into the White House, where her status as "first friend" is an open secret, as are FDR's own lovers. After she takes a job in the Roosevelt administration, promoting and protecting both Roosevelts, she comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend, capable of changing lives even after his death. Through it all, even as Hick's bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life.

From Washington, D.C. to Hyde Park, from a little white house on Long Island to an apartment on Manhattan's Washington Square, Amy Bloom's new novel moves elegantly through fascinating places and times, written in compelling prose and with emotional depth, wit, and acuity.

"Amy Bloom knows the urgency of love," wrote The Washington Post about Bloom's acclaimed bestseller Away. The same could be said of White Houses, an unforgettable novel about the power of passion and the endurance of love.

Advance praise for White Houses

"Amy Bloom illuminates one of the most intriguing relationships in history. Lorena Hickok is a woman who found love with another lost soul, Eleanor Roosevelt. And love is what this book is all about: It suffuses every page, so that by the time you reach the end, you are simply stunned by the beauty of the world these two carved out for themselves."--Melanie Benjamin, author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue

"It seems a minor miracle, what Amy Bloom has done in White Houses. In Lorena Hickok's unforgettable voice, she brings an untold slice of history so dazzlingly and devastatingly to life, it took my breath away. Easily, the most intimate, crackling, and expansive rendering of Eleanor Roosevelt in print, and, more than this, a dizzyingly beautiful tale of what it means to be human, and what it is to love."--Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

  • ISBN-13: 9780812995664
  • ISBN-10: 081299566X
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publish Date: February 2018
  • Page Count: 240
  • Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Biographical

BookPage Reviews

Love in the West Wing

The latest novel from Amy Bloom (Lucky Us) is an achingly beautiful love story that unfolds through the eyes of Lorena Hickok, known as Hick, a great journalist and author who lived in the White House with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as “her very special friend.” They were lovers, which was understood by family, the White House staff and even President Roosevelt.

Hick, who grew up amid poverty and abuse in South Dakota, stands by Eleanor’s side at events for many years, though she is cut out of most pictures. Like many relationships that are relegated to the shadows, Hick and Eleanor’s love exists in many incarnations over the decades. They part and come back together time and time again, sometimes as lovers, sometimes seeking the solace of familiarity, always trying to know each other completely.

Bloom brings incredible dimension to her historical figures, especially the wise and savvy Hick, who is apt to quote Emily Dickinson, Samuel Johnson or Shakespeare. Hick’s relationship with FDR is rendered with remarkable clarity, as she watches him give passionate speeches to inspire a nation during wartime, and as his withering body, ravaged by polio, is carried up the stairs at bedtime. Hick knows that Eleanor will never leave him, and despite her respect for the man, her jealousy can never be resolved.

White Houses is so gorgeously written that some passages need to be read more than once, or perhaps aloud, to fully appreciate their craftsmanship. A Roosevelt cousin describes Hick as erudite. To call this novel the same would be an understatement.


ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read a Behind the Book essay by Amy Bloom on White Houses.

This article was originally published in the February 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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