Well-dressed person walking up an old wooden staircase.

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

The United States in the 19th century was a very different place than it is today. Though we still experience divides along class and gender lines, expected societal behaviors were far more prescripted, restrictive, and, well, stoic back then. There was a strong sense of things that were and were not done (unlike today’s modern U.S. political arena *cough* *cough*).

Today’s book is historical fiction that takes a peek into the lives of some of the well-to-do, the American elite, and important figures in literary history. So, let’s dive in.

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Dearest David, by Glen Ebisch, is a delightful read. The characters use modernized language that flows nicely without, in my opinion, becoming a distraction. The story follows a young, working-class woman who becomes a servant in the Emerson household. Along the way, several other notable American literary figures are inserted into the mix. At its heart, the novel is a love story. However, this book doesn’t follow the standard romance formula. If you’re fond of historical romances, you should really know this before reading because you may otherwise be disappointed.

If you’re an American literary history buff, don’t expect everything in this narrative to be 100% accurate. The main character doesn’t have a real-life counterpart, although most of the other characters in the book were real people. Also, several aspects of the timeline were shuffled around to fit the narrative tension. All of this is clearly explained in the backmatter, though, along with how and when events really transpired.

PS: Want to read a queer historical romance set in America after World War II? Click here.

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