I will be honest in that I am not a huge biography fan. I rarely have enough interest to sit through an entire replay of a person's life who isn't in my direct family.
Lynn has found the magic touch to keep the interest of not only bio buffs, who love all the details, but also for people like me. She writes stories that contain more than enough factual information to make it an accounting of a life, but then throws in imagined tidbits to create a fictionalized version of that life for readers who just want a good story.
I have heard Lynn speak of the details behind Twain's End and there is more than enough spark and fire in her research to make all parts of her story plausible, if not probable.
This is the third Lynn book that I have reviewed and she maintains that magic balance in all of them. A perfect blend.
Simon & Schuster
Follow this Link for an Excerpt!
Follow this Link for a Video of Lynn speaking about the story.
From the bestselling and highly acclaimed author of the “page-turning tale” (Library Journal, starred review) Mrs. Poe comes a fictionalized imagining of the personal life of America’s most iconic writer: Mark Twain.
In March of 1909, Mark Twain cheerfully blessed the wedding of his private secretary, Isabel V. Lyon, and his business manager, Ralph Ashcroft. One month later, he fired both. He proceeded to write a ferocious 429-page rant about the pair, calling Isabel “a liar, a forger, a thief, a hypocrite, a drunkard, a sneak, a humbug, a traitor, a conspirator, a filthy-minded and salacious slut pining for seduction.” Twain and his daughter, Clara Clemens, then slandered Isabel in the newspapers, erasing her nearly seven years of devoted service to their family. How did Lyon go from being the beloved secretary who ran Twain’s life to a woman he was determined to destroy?
In Twain’s End, Lynn Cullen re-imagines the tangled relationships between Twain, Lyon, and Ashcroft, as well as the little-known love triangle between Helen Keller, her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy, and Anne’s husband, John Macy, which comes to light during their visit to Twain’s Connecticut home in 1909. Add to the party a furious Clara Clemens, smarting from her own failed love affair, and carefully kept veneers shatter.
Based on Isabel Lyon’s extant diary, Twain’s writings and letters, and events in Twain’s boyhood that may have altered his ability to love, Twain’s End explores this real-life tale of doomed love.