cover image And They Called It Camelot

And They Called It Camelot

Stephanie Marie Thornton. Berkley, $17 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-0-451-49092-6

Thornton follows up American Princess, a novel of Alice Roosevelt, with this engaging and meticulously researched take on Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. Thornton opens moments before President Kennedy’s assassination, exploring the complexity of the first couple’s relationship, along with Jackie’s own pretensions (“This simple pink pillbox hat put to shame those jowly Texas matrons with their overwrought concoctions of flowers and feathers”). Thornton then jumps back to 1952 and Jacqueline’s doomed relationship with stockbroker John Husted and her job as a photo girl for the Washington Times-Herald, which leads to her meeting then Congressman John F. Kennedy, whom she quickly falls for despite knowing he’s a womanizer. The novel expertly conveys the many painful episodes in Jackie’s life—Kennedy’s infidelity, the loss of two children, the violent death of her first husband, and the casual cruelty of her second—with grace and empathy. Students of history will appreciate Thornton’s exacting research and convincing portrayal of the first lady and style icon, and Kennedy aficionados will feel as if they have an unparalleled access to Camelot. Thornton’s magnificent portrayal of Onassis will delight fans of Kennedy-related fiction. [em](Mar.) [/em]