cover image Jill: A Biography of the First Lady

Jill: A Biography of the First Lady

Julia Pace and Darlene Superville, with Evelyn M. Duffy. Little, Brown, $29.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-37750-8

First Lady Jill Biden “stepped into the White House as a symbol of reliability and relatability—a woman fiercely protective of her family and her passions and ambitions,” according to this amiable if unenlightening biography. Associated Press reporters Pace and Superville move briskly from Jill’s childhood in 1950s and ’60s New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where she was the eldest of five sisters, through her first marriage at age 19 and divorce four years later, to her 1975 first date with Delaware senator Joe Biden, whose wife and daughter had died in a car accident three years earlier, leaving him with two young sons, Beau and Hunter. After marrying Joe in 1977, Jill pursued master’s and doctoral degrees while raising their daughter, Ashley, alongside Beau and Hunter, and taught in public high schools and community colleges. Pace and Superville draw a persuasive portrait of Jill Biden as a dedicated educator and protective wife and mother who “bemoans the corrosive nature of modern American politics, which has repeatedly put her family in the crosshairs,” though their subject remains a somewhat guarded and elusive figure throughout. This well-mannered biography has few surprises. Agent: Bridget Matzie, Aevitas Creative. (Apr.)