Book Review: ‘Courting Mr. Lincoln’ Is A Great Historical Look At The Romance Of Abe Lincoln And Mary Todd

Three people, a love story and a future President collide in this fascinating story of Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd and their romance and eventual marriage. It begins in 1840 when Mary has moved their to live with her sister and to find a husband as she should have been married by now. Abe Lincoln also lives there now and is a lawyer. Abe is not as familiar with things in the world. His manners are not great, he cannot dance and he’s not very outgoing. He meets and lives with Joshua Speed. The quickly become best friends.

They both make an agreement that they will never get married. They both meet Mary at a ball and Abe and Mary click. They see each other at other balls and become friends. Mary becomes interested in politics an debates and Lincoln is interested in politics and holds office.

Soon Mary and Abe are together but not in public. They meet at a friend of Mary’s and spend time together. At the same time Lincoln and Speed spend a lot of time together with a bromance that could interfere with Abe and Mary. Speed finds out about their secret meetings and is hurt and upset about it and rats them out. So Mary and Abe go public with their relationship and things are moving forward. But not all is great and they talk marriage then break up.

Speed meanwhile knowing he’s losing Abe decides to move back to his families estate in Kentucky. Soon Abe and Mary get back together and get married and the rest is history.

This historical novel looks at what the relationship between the two might have been like. It’s told from the perspectives of Mary and Speed. The story looks at everything from the harsh winters, the political spectrum, how woman were portrayed at that time, how the country was expanding and at the heart of it the love of Abe and Mary and the friendship of Abe and Speed. And one has to wonder if Speed had more feelings for Lincoln than just friendship.

Just a beautifully written story. It’s the second historical novel I have read in the past few months as there was one put out about George Washington and his first love and their romance. These books are fascinating and teach us things we never knew before. Kudos to author Louis Bayard for a great job.

You can pick it up in stores on Tuesday, April 23 from Algonquin.

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