Love and Presidents are in the Air

by Paula Gail Benson

year, the two mid-February holidays–Valentine’s Day and Presidents’
Day–happen to border a long celebratory weekend. As part of the “love fest,” I’ve
been encouraging folks to consider a recent anthology to which I contributed.

Love in the Lowcountry features stories
that take place during the winter holidays, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s
Day, but the location of each story, Charleston, S. C., is well worth a virtual
vacation during any time of the year. The anthology includes stories from
experienced as well as debut authors, some sweet and others for mature
audiences, some present day while others take place in historical periods. My
story, “Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest,” allows two English graduate students to
time travel back to Charleston of 1936 to meet DuBose and Dorothy Heyward at the
new Dock Street Theater following the year that Porgy and Bess failed on Broadway. Some of the stories have paranormal
elements. All provide delightful couples finding their own happy endings.

you would like to do a little combination reading for the holidays, why not
check out some books about Presidential love stories? Here are a few you might want
to consider:

Mount Vernon Love Story (2002), first
issued as Aspire to the Heavens
(1969), was Mary Higgins Clark’s first novel. It was inspired by research she conducted for a radio program about George and Martha Washington’s

My Dearest Friend: the Letters of Abigail
and John Adams

(Harvard University Press, 2010) features correspondence from forty years
between the second President and his wife.

Stone’s The President’s Lady (1996)
and Patricia Brady’s A Being So Gentle
(2011) survey the romance between Rachel and Andrew Jackson.

Courting Mr. Lincoln (2019) is Louis
Bayard’s novel told in alternating voices by Mary Todd and Lincoln’s roommate Joshua
Speed to reveal the complex, often misunderstood relationship between the
President and his wife.

Miller’s Ellen and Edith (2014)
explores the lives of Woodrow Wilson’s wives and their influence on the
President and the country.

George and Barbara Bush: A Great American
Love Story

by Ellie LeBlond Sosa (the President and Mrs. Bush’s granddaughter) and Kelly
Anne Chase, with a Foreward by President George W. Bush, tells about the seventy-seven
year love story between the 41st President and his beautiful bride.

What are you reading for the Valentine’s Day/Presidents’ Day weekend?

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