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White Houses: A Novel Audiobook, by Amy Bloom Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Amy Bloom Narrator: Tonya Cornelisse Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2018 ISBN: 9780525630463
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For readers of The Paris Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue comes a “sensuous, captivating account of a forbidden affair between two women” (People)—Eleanor Roosevelt and “first friend” Lorena Hickok.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Financial Times San Francisco Chronicle • New York Public Library • Refinery29 Real Simple

Lorena Hickok meets Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt’s first presidential campaign. Having grown up worse than poor in South Dakota and reinvented herself as the most prominent woman reporter in America, “Hick,” as she’s known to her friends and admirers, is not quite instantly charmed by the idealistic, patrician Eleanor. But then, as her connection with the future first lady deepens into intimacy, what begins as a powerful passion matures into a lasting love, and a life that Hick never expected to have. She moves into the White House, where her status as “first friend” is an open secret, as are FDR’s own lovers. After she takes a job in the Roosevelt administration, promoting and protecting both Roosevelts, she comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend, capable of changing lives even after his death. Through it all, even as Hick’s bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life. 

From Washington, D.C. to Hyde Park, from a little white house on Long Island to an apartment on Manhattan’s Washington Square, Amy Bloom’s new novel moves elegantly through fascinating places and times, written in compelling prose and with emotional depth, wit, and acuity.

Praise for White Houses

“Amy Bloom brings an untold slice of history so dazzlingly and devastatingly to life, it took my breath away.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

“Vivid and tender . . . Bloom—interweaving fact and fancy—lavishes attention on [Hickok], bringing Hick, the novel’s narrator and true subject, to radiant life.”O: The Oprah Magazine

“Radiant . . . an indelible love story, one propelled not by unlined youth and beauty but by the kind of soul-mate connection even distance, age, and impossible circumstances couldn’t dim . . . Bloom’s goal is less to relitigate history than to portray the blandly sexless figurehead of First Lady as something the job rarely allows those women to be—a loving, breathing human being. And she does it brilliantly.”Entertainment Weekly Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • [Amy] Bloom deftly explores what might have been in this novel about the real romance between Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena Hickok. . . . It’s a sensuous, captivating account of a forbidden affair between two women, one of them viewed by all the world as a saint. People
  • All fires go out,’ Hickok says, explaining her lingering feelings to Franklin. ‘It doesn’t mean that we don’t still want to sit by the fireplace, I guess.’ In White Houses, Bloom has built up exactly the sort of blaze that will draw readers to linger. Time
  • Vivid and tender . . . Bloom—interweaving fact and fancy—lavishes attention on [Lorena Hickok], bringing Hick, the novel’s narrator and true subject, to radiant life. O: The Oprah Magazine
  • [An] irresistibly audacious re-creation of the love affair between Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena ‘Hick’ Hickok . . . Bloom convincingly weaves tender romance with hard-boiled reality. . . . Bloom notes that the White House staff routinely cropped Hickok out of photos. In White Houses, she’s in the center of the frame, and nobody who reads this sad, funny, frisky novel is going to forget her. USA Today
  • Radiant . . . an indelible love story, one propelled not by unlined youth and beauty but by the kind of soul-mate connection even distance, age, and impossible circumstances couldn’t dim . . . Bloom’s goal is less to relitigate history than to portray the blandly sexless figurehead of First Lady as something the job rarely allows those women to be—a loving, breathing human being. And she does it brilliantly. Entertainment Weekly
  • Steeped with open secrets, intimate tension, and historical truths, [White Houses] expertly portrays the kaleidoscopic forms womanhood can take. New York
  • Profoundly affecting . . . Bloom’s Hick is frank, funny, and irreverent. . . . White Houses, by seeing the Roosevelt era through the most unlikely of outsiders-turned-insider, brings a hidden chapter of East Wing history to life. The Boston Globe
  • A remarkably intimate and yet informative novel of the secret, scandalous love of Eleanor Roosevelt and her longtime friend and companion Lorena Hickok, who relates the tale in her own, quite wonderful voice. Joyce Carol Oates
     
  • Amy Bloom illuminates one of the most intriguing relationships in history. Lorena Hickok is a woman who found love with another lost soul, Eleanor Roosevelt. And love is what this book is all about: It suffuses every page, so that by the time you reach the end, you are simply stunned by the beauty of the world these two carved out for themselves. Melanie Benjamin, author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue
  • “Easily, the most intimate, crackling, and expansive rendering of Eleanor Roosevelt in print.”

    Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author

  • “One of the most intriguing relationships in history…By the time you reach the end, you are simply stunned by the beauty of the world these two carved out for themselves.”

    Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author

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About the Author

Amy Bloom is the author of the bestselling and acclaimed Away; Come to Me, a National Book Award finalist; A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Love Invents Us; and Normal. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Short Stories, The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, and many other anthologies here and abroad. She has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Granta, and Slate, among other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award. Bloom teaches creative writing at Yale University.

About the Narrator

Tonya Cornelisse is an award-winning actress and voice-over artist. She has worked both on and Off-Broadway, in over thirty films big and small, and in television. She studied at New York City’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she double majored in theater and psychology and was lucky to have the opportunity to be mentored and perform alongside Alan Arkin.