It’s all about the wife


Lately I’ve been pondering, who is my novel really about?  I thought it was about Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter. But conflicted Ada is only a player for the final half of the book. How about the petulant genius himself, George Gordon Byron?  Nope, he exits the visible stage in the first fifty pages and dies in Italy a third of the way through. His sister Augusta? No again. Although her affair with her half-brother certainly titillates, she’s a manipulated character, not strong enough to carry a novel.

Anne with curlsAnnabella older womanThat leaves me with the god-fearing scientist, Annabella Byron. The woman willing to club the world into goodness.The slandered wife who holds her sharp tongue until Byron attacks her parents. The mother who only cried once, at the news of her ex-husband’s death. And, conveniently, the matron who survived them all.

In parallel with my realization that Annabella is my protagonist, I’ve noticed a spate of books about famous men’s wives. When I’m not reading and critiquing a book-a-week for school, I’ll explore novels and selected non-fiction about famous men’s wives. Here’s my early short list:

New finds:

Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp  AKA Mrs.Wyatt Earp  reviewed in the NY Times June 2, 2013.

Please add your recommendations in the comments below. Many thanks!

11 thoughts on “It’s all about the wife

  1. Hi Jo: also, check out the 19th Wife, about
    Brigham Young’s wife, an interesting book. A more fictional piece is Ahab’s Wife, which is several years old. Victoria

  2. Paris Wife was a fast but not necessarily special piece of writing. I heard a piece this morning on NPR (yes, a closet listener) about the Astronaut’s wives and I think that will be my next read after I finish Calvin Coolidge.

  3. I thought of another one, “Ladies of Liberty” by Cokie Roberts. A collection of shorter stories about the wives of founding fathers. A few of them should have been elected instead of their husbands.

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