Review: THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE by Erika Robuck


Title: The House of Hawthorne
Author: Erika Robuck
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
ISBN: 9780451418913
Number of Pages: 416
How I Got It: direct from publisher
Format: paperback
Goodreads Description:
Beset by crippling headaches from a young age and endowed with a talent for drawing, Sophia is discouraged by her well-known New England family from pursuing a woman’s traditional roles. But from their first meeting, Nathaniel and Sophia begin an intense romantic relationship that despite many setbacks leads to their marriage. Together, they will cross continents, raise children, and experience all the beauty and tragedy of an exceptional partnership. Sophia’s vivid journals and her masterful paintings kindle a fire in Nathaniel, inspiring his writing. But their children’s needs and the death of loved ones steal Sophia’s energy and time for her art, fueling in her a perennial tug-of-war between fulfilling her domestic duties and pursuing her own desires.


Spanning the years from the 1830s to the Civil War, and moving from Massachusetts to England, Portugal, and Italy, The House of Hawthorne explores the tension within a famous marriage of two soulful, strong-willed people, each devoted to the other but also driven by a powerful need to explore the far reaches of their creative impulses. It is the story of a forgotten woman in history, who inspired one of the greatest writers of American literature.…
My Review:
How wonderful to imagine what daily life was like for one of America's greatest writers! Then to look even further "behind the scenes" at the woman behind the man. As most historians acknowledge and almost any woman will tell you, some of the world's greatest works would never have come about if the (male) artist had to shop, prepare dinner, care for the children, and perform all the other necessary daily tasks. Their massive amounts of time to create were available because someone was taking care of these needs. So what if the artist is/was a woman? Where is her time to create? All too often, as the case with Sophia, it is forsaken, even with the most supportive and caring of husbands. Regardless of how much I dislike this tricky dynamic of life, I loved the exchanges between Sophia and Nathaniel in House of Hawthorne. Erika Robuck has created a small sphere of an artist's life that is full of admiration and love.
***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

4 comments

Nancy Bekofske said...

I thought this was one of the best historical fiction treatments of an author I have read. I read The Peabodys of Salem afterwards ( non fiction ) and was more impressed by how Robuck captured these personalities.

Judy Krueger said...

Another good one! You are having a wonderful reading month.

Carmen said...

This one sounds great too! It seems there was depth to the woman behind the man.

Rhiannon Johnson said...

Thanks for commenting Nancy! I haven't heard of The Peabodys of Salem. I'll have to look into it. Judy, I hope the good ones keep coming! It was really good Carmen!