Queen Dolley

Dorothy Clark Wilson, Author Doubleday Books $17.95 (373p) ISBN 978-0-385-19762-5
A ""biographical novel'' or ``fictionalized biography'' stands astride two distinct if not opposed genres and is likely to slump somewhere between. This one, by the prolific author of some 25 history-based novels, portrays postRevolutionary America in a pedestrian, reportorial style that gives it factual accuracy and smothers it in exhaustive detail but does nothing to provide the breath of life. President James Madison's regal lady Dolley is portrayed as a bustling, tireless whirlwind and sustaining force. We are told rather than convinced, that she is a charmer, an infinitely accomplished hostess and peacemaker. Stouthearted through the War of 1812, Dolley saves Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington from the burning White House, courageously enduring the crises and ordeals of the infant nation. While hardly a standout, the book is well timed in anticipation of next year's Constitution bicentennial celebration. Reader's Digest Condensed Books selection. (January 2)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1986
Release date: 12/01/1986
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