Leigh Newman, Oprah.com

Part romance, part mystery, part biography, this fictional reenactment of the mistress of Edgar Allan Poe escorts you into the glittering world of New York in the 1840s, when poets were celebrities and the admission of emotions—like silk gowns and glossy beaver hats—were a luxury. When we meet Frances Osgood, her husband has abandoned her. Day to day she tries to peddle her poetry to various editors, while struggling to keep up social pretenses and raise her two daughters. A chance meeting with Poe at a literary salon draws her into a not-so-healthy relationship with both him and his much younger, very ill wife—the latter of whom recognizes Frances as a credible threat to her marriage and tries to combat it with friendship. Enter a pompous, untalented editor name Griswold who sets his sights on Frances, and what you’ve got is a tale that boils down to the most universal yet riveting themes: affection and obligations versus the most profound kind of love, a meeting of the minds. Will things work out? Not to spoil the plot, but consider “The Raven.” The dark, ominous bird knocks at the door and the poet mutters, “On the morrow will he leave me, as my hopes have flown before.” A bewitching, vivid trip into the heyday of American literary society.

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