Friday 10 June 2016

Twain's End by Lynn Cullen

Twain's End by Lynn Cullen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the bestselling and highly acclaimed author of the “page-turning tale” (Library Journal, starred review) Mrs. Poe comes a fictionalized imagining of the personal life of America’s most iconic writer: Mark Twain. In March of 1909, Mark Twain cheerfully blessed the wedding of his private secretary, Isabel V. Lyon, and his business manager, Ralph Ashcroft. One month later, he fired both. He proceeded to write a ferocious 429-page rant about the pair, calling Isabel “a liar, a forger, a thief, a hypocrite, a drunkard, a sneak, a humbug, a traitor, a conspirator, a filthy-minded and salacious slut pining for seduction.” Twain and his daughter, Clara Clemens, then slandered Isabel in the newspapers, erasing her nearly seven years of devoted service to their family. How did Lyon go from being the beloved secretary who ran Twain’s life to a woman he was determined to destroy?

In Twain’s End, Lynn Cullen “cleverly spins a mysterious, dark tale” (Booklist) about the tangled relationships between Twain, Lyon, and Ashcroft, as well as the little-known love triangle between Helen Keller, her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy, and Anne’s husband, John Macy, which comes to light during their visit to Twain’s Connecticut home in 1909. Add to the party a furious Clara Clemens, smarting from her own failed love affair, and carefully kept veneers shatter.


TWAIN'S END is a fictional account of the relationship between Mark Twain / Samuel Clemens and his secretary Isabel Lyon based on Isabel Lyon's diary, Twain's writings, and letters. The book starts off in 1909 with a visit from Helen Keller, her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy and husband John Macy at the home of Samuel Clemens. There seem to be a love-triangle between Helen, Anne and John going on and it's noticeable for the residents in the house. And, the harmony in the house isn't that good since Sam's relationship with Isabel is at a crossroad with Isabel having to choose between staying with Sam or moving forward in life with Sam's business manager Ralph Ashcroft who is in love with her. But, the story goes back in time to when Isabel first met Sam and how it came to be that she started to work as his secretary before the readers get to know what will happen next...


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