Thursday, March 10, 2016

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams

I love biographies, although I feel like I've read more memoirs than biographies in recent years. I also love reading about the presidents and their wives, but have typically read books about recent presidents and their families.

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams by Louisa Thomas gives an in depth account of the life of Louisa Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams.  I'll admit that prior to reading this book, I hadn't thought much about Louisa Adams. Yet, I was extremely interested in her life and did truly find her life fascinating.

Just a few tidbits I took away from this book:

  • Louisa's own early life is covered, including the fact that her parents were not married until she was ten herself.  

  • She had never been to the United States until after she is married to John Quincy Adams.  

  • She suffered from many miscarriages, although the exact number is never known since her diaries may only indicate that she had been sick, so it is speculation as to whether her illness was a miscarriage or a different sickness.

  • For a time she and John Quincy Adams and their youngest son lived in Russia.

  • Louisa knew Napoleon Bonaparte.

  • Louisa had a difficult time forming relationships with other wives in Washington, D.C.

  • Despite the fact that Louisa was frail and often sickly, she found some inner reserve of strength to endure the deaths of her own children and managed to live without the constant help of her husband during challenging situations.

Louisa is a comprehensive and researched look at this First Lady's life.  Although I hadn't much thought of Louisa Adams prior to reading this book, I thoroughly enjoyed this look at her life. I appreciated Thomas' easy to read writing style and her ability to create a biography that reads almost like fiction and kept me interested up until the last page.

1 comment:

Kay said...

I have always been fascinated with reading about the First Ladies. All of them. I'll keep this one in mind. About all I can remember regarding Louisa Adams is that she was very different from her mother-in-law, Abigail. LOL