White Houses by Amy Bloom


My Review:

I haven’t stopped thinking about this gem of a book, the powerful telling of an unconventional love story by author Amy Bloom.  White Houses is historical fiction, based on research and letters exchanged between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok, a journalist who was invited to live in the White House in an adjoining bedroom to the first lady’s room during FDR’s presidency.  A story of soulmates – two, independent, bright and powerful women in a lesbian relationship – a hidden secret to the world yet happening right in front of everyone’s eyes and seemingly accepted, by Eleanor’s known to be philandering husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and their close social circle.

Lorena Hickok grew up in poverty in South Dakota and became a well known reporter.  She met Eleanor in the early 1930s while covering the Roosevelt campaign and the two women develop a friendship that flourished into a more intimate relationship.  Hick was a protector and admirer of both FDR and Eleanor and was forced to quit her high profile job at the Associated Press in order to stay true to them both.  The middle aged women’s relationship was challenging, complicated and on again off again, and with Eleanor in the public eye, there was pressure to withhold affection and then steal time away privately to be together.  FDR and Hickok had a friendship and an understanding, and Eleanor had loyalties to them both.

The complexities of this enduring love between this unlikely twosome is intriguing and author Amy Bloom has created a compelling story with a strong voice and beautiful writing.  Don’t miss this one!

Goodreads Summary


About the Author:

Author of two New York Times best-sellers and three collections of short stories, a children’s book and a ground-breaking collection of essays. She’s been a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, O Magazine and Vogue, among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award for Fiction. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages.

She has written many pilot scripts, for cable and network, and she created, wrote and ran the excellent, short-lived series State of Mind, starring Lili Taylor. She lives in Connecticut and is now Wesleyan University’s Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing.