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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

For readers of the historical works of Robert K. Massie, David McCulough, and Alison Weir comes the first biography on the life of Abigail Adams and her sisters. “Never sisters loved each other better than we.”—Abigail Adams in a letter to her sister Mary, June 1776 Much has been written about the enduring marriage of President John Adams and his wife, Abigail. But few know of the equally strong bond Abigail shared with her sisters, Mary Cranch and Elizabeth Shaw Peabody, accomplished women in their own right. Now acclaimed biographer Diane Jacobs reveals their moving story, which unfolds against the stunning backdrop of America in its transformative colonial years. Abigail, Mary, and Elizabeth Smith grew up in Weymouth, Massachusetts, the close-knit daughters of a minister and his wife. When the sisters moved away from one another, they relied on near-constant letters—from what John Adams called their “elegant pen”—to buoy them through pregnancies, illnesses, grief, po…

Overall Book Review:

Dear Abigail: The Intimate Lives and Revolutionary Ideas of Abigail Adams and Her Two Remarkable Sisters is a fascinating biography written from a decade’s worth of research. Author Diane Jacobs chronicles former First Lady Abigail Adams’ life, as well as the activities of her two beloved sisters, Mary Cranch and Elizabeth Shaw Peabody. The book includes scores of captivating letters and journal entries from the trio.

Abigail had a front seat to many historical events and I loved reading about her experiences during the Revolutionary War, in Europe, and as the First Lady of the United States. The lives of her two sisters are interesting in their own right and provide detailed accounts of life during America’s Revolutionary Period. The women frequently shared their unique insights and views about politics, religion, and women’s rights. I recommend reading Dear Abigail because it is a well-written, comprehensive, and easy to follow biography.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Ballantine Books


Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation, 1 derogatory name.

Violence/Gore:  Second hand reports of violence involving the battles of the Revolutionary War, mobs and fights with Native Americans; a few non-detailed scenes of violent death involving the Boston Massacre, French Revolution and war battles. 

Sex/Nudity:  Several sexual references and implied incidents of sexual activity.

Mature Subject Matter:

War, death of family members, racism, politics, religion, slavery.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Several characters are alcoholics and perish from their excessive drinking; mention of characters smoking and drinking; mention of a man “smelling of rum”.

Overall Book Rating
Profanity/Language
Rating:
3
10
Violence/Gore
Rating:
3
10
Sex/Nudity
Rating:
3
10

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.