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Many years ago I read a book about Louisa Adams and was impressed with her courage in traveling alone with child and servant from St. Petersburg to Paris. She crossed Russia in winter through war zones on a troika. When I heard an interview with Louisa Thomas about her new book about Louisa Adams I bought it right away.
Louisa was born in England and educated in Catholic schools in both England and France. After marrying John Q. Adams they lived in Europe and she perfected the role of a diplomat’s wife. Louisa was unusual for a woman of that era as she was educated and spoke a number of languages. John Q. Adams spoke nine languages and she was not far behind him. She was fluent in French and English and passable in Latin, Greek, Dutch, Portuguese, German and Russian. She wrote music and played the harp and she became a writer. When she was First Lady her European manners made her exotic. She had four children but had many miscarriages. Louisa was a strong willed, intelligent and independent woman who chafed under the role of women in that era. She wrote “I cannot believe that there is any inferiority in the sexes as far as the mind and intellect are concerned.” I was impressed to learn from the book that Louisa met Napoleon Bonaparte.
The book is well written and researched. The author had access to all her correspondence as well as diaries, poetry, plays, fiction and non- fiction stories and two autobiographies. With access to all this information it is no wonder the author was able to write such an interesting book about Louisa. I wish the author would have included more information about Louisa’s thoughts and role in the antislavery movement and also in women’s rights. It must have been difficult having Abigail as a mother in law but Louisa was so intelligent she held her own in this intellectual family. Kirstein Potter did a good job narrating the book.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Gripping! Like the title says, Louisa Adams lived an extraordinary life! I am certain I will return to this story again which is not something I often do.