Mark Twain’s Other Woman: The Hidden Story of His Final Years
Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Author, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Illustrator
In this book on Twain’s last decade and his complicated relationship with his secretary, Isabel Lyon, Trombley is often too much the professor—quoting overlong passages when summary and interpretation would be better. An otherwise informative epilogue rambles. But when Trombley hits her stride, we learn quite a lot of the Twain household’s secrets. Lyon wormed her way into Twain’s life in the late 1880s as his favorite whist partner. Upon realizing the worth of Twain’s letters, she obtained full power of attorney. She feuded with his hot-tempered daughter Clara over who would be “in charge” of his affairs. But the manipulative Lyon also truly loved “the King,” and in his loneliness after his wife’s death, he was responsive. Twain’s ultimate falling out with Lyon, including Twain’s charges that she made unwanted sexual advances to him, make for painful reading and will be controversial. 43 photos.
Reviewed on: 12/14/2009