Amy Bloom’s historical fiction White Houses follows Lorena “Hick” Hickock through her romantic relationship with then-first-lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. Based very much on fact, Bloom writes an imagined narrative from the perspective of Hickcock, the prize-winning war correspondent and close friend of both Eleanor and Franklin. It is a romance at times heartbreaking, nearly always frustrating, and continuously captivating. While short, the novel traces through decades of both Hick’s and Eleanor’s life, through tumultuous periods of distance and tender years together in the White House. Bloom’s voice transforms into Hick’s in a clipped, East Coast manner that uniquely evokes that of a hardscrabble newspaper woman of the forties. For those who enjoy historical fiction, women’s lives, and fictional memoirs, you’ll find something to enjoy about White Houses. Eleanor Roosevelt-as-lesbian is oft ignored in history: this is a great option for those looking to learn more about her life outside of FDR, and for anyone looking for an LGBTQ+ inclusive story.
I specifically recommend the audio book version for the narrator’s excellent portrayal of Hick’s voice, which you can borrow from Libby through your local library!