White Houses, by Amy Bloom (Granta 2018)

Neil's picture

A fictionalised look at true events US in the 1930s, through the eyes of Lorena Hickok, a straight-talking journalist from South Dakota, this fascinating novel is full of White House intrigue. Hickok, known as Hick, apparently had a passionate relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt, the idealistic First Lady and wife of Franklin Roosevelt. It's unclear if the actual relationship was ever physical, although it's clear from their many letters that it was passionate, but Amy Bloom imagines it as being physical, which would have been controversial in the 1930s. The book chronicles the ups and downs of the relationship as Hick falls in and out of favour at the White House with the capricious Roosevelts. An unusual and exuberant book.