NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A gorgeously written novel that weaves class, wealth, race, and fate into a brilliant portrait of a first lady—from the author of Rodham and Eligible
“Terrific . . . an intelligent, bighearted novel about a controversial political dynasty.”—Entertainment Weekly
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time • People • Entertainment Weekly
A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president. In her small Wisconsin hometown she learns the virtues of politeness, but a tragic accident when she is seventeen shatters her identity and changes the trajectory of her life. More than a decade later, when the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family sweeps her off her feet, she is surprised to find herself admitted into a world of privilege.
And when her husband unexpectedly becomes governor and then president, she discovers that she is married to a man she both loves and fundamentally disagrees with—and that her private beliefs increasingly run against her public persona. As her husband’s presidency enters its second term, Alice must confront contradictions years in the making and face questions nearly impossible to answer.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review • Chicago Tribune • NPR • Rocky Mountain News • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Washington Post Book World
Sittenfeld tracks, in her uneven third novel, the life of bookish, na ve Alice Lindgren and the trajectory that lands her in the White House as first lady. Charlie Blackwell, her boyishly charming rake of a husband, whose background of Ivy League privilege, penchant for booze and partying, contempt for the news and habit of making flubs when speaking off the cuff, bears more than a passing resemblance to the current president (though the Blackwells hail from Wisconsin, not Texas). Sittenfeld shines early in her portrayal of Alice's coming-of-age in Riley, Wis., living with her parents and her mildly eccentric grandmother. A car accident in her teens results in the death of her first crush, which haunts Alice even as she later falls for Charlie and becomes overwhelmed by his family's private summer compound and exclusive country club membership. Once the author leaves the realm of pure fiction, however, and has the first couple deal with his being ostracized as a president who favors an increasingly unpopular war, the book quickly loses its panache and sputters to a weak conclusion that doesn't live up to the fine storytelling that precedes it.
Great book! Loved it! They beginning just pulls you in and then you can't put it down!
Bad book club choice
Unnecessarily wordy and convoluted in the narrative
I didn’t like reading it , only stuck with it for my book club
Enjoyable until the end
I thoroughly enjoyed the first sections of this book - the story of Alice's life and her journey with Charlie. However, once they reach the White House things unravel. Rather than continuing their story, it becomes the story of the Bush administration. To spend an entire book telling a character's story and then end it with borrowed reality was a letdown.