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March 16, 2018 / Leslie

Review: White Houses by Amy Bloom

A Rapid Review

Publisher: Random House Audio | February 2018
Format: Audio Download | 6½ hours | Rating: 3 stars
Audio Listening Level: Intermediate

For readers of The Paris Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue comes a love story inspired by “one of the most intriguing relationships in history”*–between Eleanor Roosevelt and “first friend” Lorena Hickok.

What’s it about . . .
White Houses is a fictionalized account of Eleanor Roosevelt’s relationship with Lorena Hickok and is written from Lorena’s perspective.

What did I think . . .
I was intrigued by the possibilities of this book. However, as much as I enjoyed the writing, I couldn’t get into the relationship, couldn’t feel a connection to the characters, and felt I learned little about Eleanor. Before hearing about this book, I knew nothing about a relationship between Eleanor and Hicks, which is probably why I was having trouble separating fiction from fact. Much of the book is about Lornea and we do learn a lot about her, especially her abusive childhood. But I didn’t much care for her character. In the end, this was just OK for me.

Audio production . . .
The audio was performed by Tonya Cornelisse, a new-to-me narrator. Her rough, throaty voice was just what I imagined the worldly Hick would sound like. The novel is not written in linear style; it jumps around a lot making the story choppy at times. Attention to detail is needed to avoid confusion.

Audio Sample . . .

An Under My Apple Tree Rapid Review
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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Leave a Comment
  1. Diane / Mar 16 2018 5:19 pm

    I just finished the eGalley of this one and liked it but nowhere as much as I enjoyed the NF book, Eleanor and Hick. That book really was an eye opener and made me sad for Hick who died after Eleanor without anyone by her side.


    • Leslie / Mar 16 2018 6:40 pm

      I really wanted to like this one, but it just fell flat. Someone said the same thing in another review about the NF being much better, so I’m adding that to my TBR list.


  2. BermudaOnion / Mar 16 2018 8:51 pm

    I felt the same way about the book. The audio production and writing were fine but I felt no connection to the characters or their relationship.


  3. Suko / Mar 18 2018 11:04 pm

    Leslie, thank you for your honest review of this book. Have a good reading (and listening) week ahead!


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