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Review: And They Called it Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton

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My Interest

I’ve read so much on all of the Kennedys that I wasn’t sure I would go through with reading this one. I have a huge section in my personal library of Kennedy books–starting with the ones my paternal grandmother bought after the President’s assassination. Often knowing a subject so well makes reading historical fiction about them difficult. Happily, this book was way better than I thought it would be.

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The Story

The largely familiar lives of Jacqueline Bouvier and John Fitzgerald Kennedy are re-told by Jackie from January 1952 until after the President’s death and the death of Jackie’s second husband, Aristotle Onassis.  First-person worked well in this case–the story unfolding with a fairly accurate Jackie-like cadence. I could feel her emotions–that is what makes historical fiction work. I could feel her life as she was telling it. More than that, I could see why she loved Jack–flaws and all.

 

My Thoughts

Occasionally the dialogue got a bit over-the-top, such as when Jack says “I feel like I’ve birthed something monumental” (p. 91) after “writing” Profiles in Courage with his future speechwriter Ted Sorrenson. On the whole, the dialogue was fairly normal and believable and the story stayed to the familiar path so many Americans of my age or older know well.

One crucial scene was ruined for me though by the author getting a bit carried away with language–specifically with what I call “verbing.” No spoilers, but when you read the word “fauceting” you’ll figure out which scene it was used in. What a silly thing to do! It sucked the seriousness right out of that most hallowed scene.

And They Called it Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton

My Verdict

4.0

My mother, a die-hard Jackie fan still at 83, devoured this book in about one sitting. That’s a great recommendation in itself.

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For another novel about Jackie see The Editor by Steven Rowley

 

 

 

READING CHALLENGE

#2020HistFicReadingChallenge

8 thoughts on “Review: And They Called it Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton

  1. It’s my current read! I appreciate your review! For me, it’s interesting the way the author helps us understand Jackie’s motivations for staying with him and Jackie’s own grit, ambition, and fear of failure.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. If you read my review from earlier this week of Lady-in-Waiting it has a superb quote on the subject of not divorcing. JFK & Jackie would not have divorced–but like the Dowager Duchess said on Downton Abbey “they just wouldn’t get to see as much of each other as they’d like….” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. JFK was a bit of a shit on a personal level, but he was a good president. I’m unsure if I want to read this or not… I wanted to read The Editor, but was turned down for the ARC. I will be reading Jackie & Maria (about her and Callas) soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry you view it that way–that’s one of the iconic and enduring images of them. JFK’S great niece & gr-gr nephew were in a canoe, not sailing. Sorry it upset you. I’m also sure it was picked at least a year before the deaths

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