cover image The Raven's Bride

The Raven's Bride

Lenore Hart, St. Martin's Griffin, $14.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-312-56723-1

The strange romance of Edgar Allan Poe and his cousin Virginia Clemm, who was just 13 when they married, is described by the strong-willed Virginia in this rich, imaginative novel. Tragedy haunts Virginia's life from her first meeting with her brooding, romantic older cousin in 1830, when she was seven, to her death from consumption at age 25. Layer by layer, Hart (Becky) builds her characters and their impoverished yet hope-filled world, creating a memorable young heroine whose naïve dreams soon give way to the urgency of saving the troubled, brilliant Poe from his inner darkness. Hart also explores the sometimes underrated effects of Poe's genius on the early American literary scene and the professional jealousies and squabbles that held him back, never losing sight of Virginia as the fully realized character at the center of the story. This is an impressive, original work that illuminates its subject. (Feb.)