Please join me in congratulating Carlyle Johnson on the publication of Hidden Lives: Eleanor and Franklin! I had the pleasure of working with Carl in a developmental capacity on a couple of early drafts of this elegant novel of Eleanor and Franklin's complicated relationship and the other women in their lives. Here's the book description:
In the fall of 1918, when Assistant Secretary of Navy Franklin Roosevelt returned from a European inspection tour, his wife, Eleanor, found in his luggage a bundle of love letters from her own social secretary, Lucy Mercer. Eleanor offered a divorce, and Franklin wanted to take it, but there were obstacles: Franklin’s mother threatened to cut him off without a penny, and his political career would be ended by scandal. An agreement was reached: they would remain married in name only. Franklin would never see Lucy again.
In 1921, Franklin came down with polio in both legs. His heroic efforts to pursue his political goals, while keeping his paralysis a secret, would consume him for the rest of his life. (Privately, he always believed he would walk again.) About this time, he hired a secretary, Missy LeHand, who was—according to son Elliott—probably his mistress as long as she lived.
Eleanor, with five children and servants to look after them, involved herself in women’s politics and charitable causes. In the twenties, she enjoyed the friendship of many single women, some of whom were lesbian. She herself had a long, intimate relationship with Lorena Hickok, an AP reporter.
Franklin and Missy spent several winters in Florida for the warm waters and ultimately built the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia, where Franklin, in 1945, suffered a stroke while having his portrait painted.
Eleanor flew to Georgia, where she was to learn a secret which everyone in the White House knew—except her.
Hidden Lives: Eleanor and Franklin is available now in ebook and print editions on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and you can add it to your shelves on Goodreads!
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