Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser
Ladies of History Series
Unabridged, 14 hr. 36 min.
Linda Stevens (Narrator)
October 28, 2008
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Personal Collection
“She dreams of a quiet life with her beloved George, but war looms... Though still a young woman, Martha Custis is a widow. But she is not without means and has no desire to remarry. Not, that is, until a striking war hero steps into her life and she realizes she is ready to love again. Yet she wonders whether this man, accustomed to courageous military exploits, can settle down to a simple life of farming and being a father to her children. Even as she longs for domestic bliss, Martha soon realizes she will have to risk everything dear to her and find the courage to get behind a dream much larger than her own. Known for moving first-person novels of Nannerl Mozart and Jane Austen, Nancy Moser now brings to life the loves and trials of the First First Lady of the United States.”
Martha is one of those Revolutionary women that has always intrigued me, but is one that I don’t know much about (I am much more well versed with Abigail Adams and Dolley Madison). The part of her life that I knew the most about was the Presidential years, so I was most interested in reading about her earlier life, especially her first husband, Daniel Custis. Interestingly, last summer while in Williamsburg, Virginia I accidentally happened upon the graves of Daniel Custis and two of their children, which intrigued me to know more.
A decent amount of time was spent on her marriage to Daniel Custis – comparable to the seven years in which they were married. While I didn’t get to know Daniel as well George Washington, I felt that Moser gave us enough to understand Martha’s relationship with him. On the other hand, Martha was portrayed well. She was given her own voice, in her own age. It is obvious that she was a strong and passionate woman – she held a lot of things together following Daniel’s death prior to her marriage to George. I was thrilled to see the family side of George Washington. He is typically portrayed as more reserved and stoic. Here we see him actually get mad as well as be very loving with his family.
The novel doesn’t spend much time on the actual Presidential years. The majority of the time spent on the Washington marriage is dedicated to the Revolutionary War years and then the retirement years following the presidency. I would have liked a little more about how Martha handled the years in the capital city. It almost glazed over this period, just barely touching upon certain aspects. As this is the aspect most people already know about, I can understand the desire to skip over it, but when the rest of her life was treated relatively chronologically, it stood out as an omission.
Overall Martha was done justice by Moser novel treatment. I felt that she really came alive within the pages. While there are some areas that I think could have been improved, it was overall an enjoyable novel.
The audio production was just OK. I didn’t love the narrator’s voice and there wasn’t great definition of characters.
Author Nancy Moser also has written the following biographical novels: Just Jane, An Unlikely Suitor, Mozart’s Sister, and How Do I Love Thee?. You can visit Moser’s website for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?
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