On the eve of World War I, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt, fiercely ambitious and still untouched by polio, falls in love with his wife's social secretary, Lucy Mercer. Eleanor stumbles on their letters and divorce is discussed, but honor and ambition win out. Franklin promises he will never see Lucy again.
But Franklin and Lucy do meet again, and again they fall in love. As he prepares to run for an unprecedented third term and lead America into war, Franklin turns to Lucy for the warmth and unconditional approval Eleanor is unable to give.
Ellen Feldman brings a novelist's insight to bear on the connection of these three compelling characters. Franklin and Lucy did finally meet, across the divide of his illness and political ascendancy, her marriage and widowhood. They fell in love again. As he prepared to run for an unprecedented third term and lead America into war, Franklin turned to Lucy for the warmth and unconditional approval Eleanor was unable to give.
Drawing on recently discovered materials to re-create the voice of a woman who played a crucial but silent role in the Roosevelt presidency, Lucy is a remarkably sensitive exploration of the private lives behind a public marriage. Reading group guide included.
Reviews and Praise
"Lyrical ... a gem." Baltimore Sun
"Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd is a wonderful creation." New York Times Book Review
"Feldman bases her novel on solid historical research.... But it is her imagination, at once creative and restrained, that informs Lucy with so much emotion." Richmond Times Dispatch
"Novels about the personal lives of public figures are tricky indeed, but Ellen Feldman pulls it off in her touching and sensitive re-imagination of the emotional entanglements of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd." Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.