Member Reviews

I absolutely loved this book. What a great new and inventive way to tell Lincoln’s story. This book shows the rise of Lincoln through his assignation through the eyes of individuals that live in Springfield, including a young girl who was a maid for Mrs. Lincoln and a safe haven provider on the Underground Railway. It was interesting to see how the actions of one man affected so many people in such different ways, with not all the ways being a positive as one could think. I can’t wait for Nancy’s next book.

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Our book club read this Nancy Horan THE HOUSE OF LINCOLN. We had a good discussion. The research the author did was very good. I have been to Springfield and toured Lincoln's home and such. I found this to be an interesting story.

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My Thoughts:
In all honesty, I didn't even read the summary of this book before I checked it out from the library. I should have. In an effort to get it "read," I chose the audiobook version. I shouldn't have.

What Didn't Work For Me:
Sarah Welborn's narration so grated on my nerves that I raised the speed of the audiobook to get through it sooner. For me it felt so stilted.
The story telling felt disjointed to me and I was unclear much of the time as to whose story this is. Is it the Lincolns, as told through Ana's eyes? If so, why didn't Horan have her travel with them to Washington? Is it the blacks and how Lincoln ended up effecting their lives? If so, why wasn't the lead character Cal?
Once we really got into the story of political Lincoln, the book felt like it was racing along out of control as Horan got to her ending when things slowed back down to get to the part of the story most readers will be unfamiliar with. There wasn't much new material here for me, except that ending.
What I Liked:
The ending of the book and the look at the Springfield race riot of 1908. It was not only a great learning experience for me but a great reminder that the enslaved people may have been emancipated, but that didn't change the way all too many people felt about them. In fact, it may have made life worse for some as whites became fearful of what emancipation might mean for them.
Learning the immigrant experience of the Portuguese Protestants, through Ana's family.
Horan working in the Douglass/Lincoln debates which allowed for a comparison to present day politics.
While this wasn't necessarily the book for me (although reading it in print might have helped), I do still believe that there would be a lot here for book clubs to discuss. Horan's Loving Frank was one of my book clubs reads the year it came out and it led to one of our best ever discussions. Certainly, there are a lot of readers who might not read as much (or have been raised with history ever-present, as I was) and who might find a lot to learn from this book.

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I feel like there aren’t very many civil war era historical fiction books that come across main stream media. This was a refreshing work of historical fiction.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

One of my go-to genres in the summer is historical fiction. I’ve enjoyed the works of Nancy Horan such as Loving Frank and Under The Wide and Starry Sky. The House of Lincoln, Horan’s most recent release, caught my eye and I saved it for the right time. What are your go-to genres for summer reads?

Fourteen-year-old Ana Ferreira and her family are recent immigrants from Madeira, Portugal where they escaped religious intolerance. The Ferreira family arrives in Springfield, Illinois, after enduring many hardships. Ana is soon employed to work in the neighboring Lincoln household to assist a lonely and still bereft Mary. We are also introduced to Ana’s friend Cal, a young Black girl whose mother also sells her wares in the market square. It is through their eyes that we glimpse the evils of slavery and the Underground Railroad, the ever present prejudice and racism, Lincoln’s changing political views, his rise from a country lawyer to the Presidency, events leading up to the Civil War and his assassination. Over the course of Ana’s life, we also witness the societal tumult worsened by Lincoln’s absence, culminating in the Springfield race riot of 1908.

Horan successfully gives the reader a glimpse into this tumultuous era. We are given a sense of place and time, and a peek into the workings of Lincoln household and the controversial Mary Todd. Seeing these events from the perspective of two marginalized women was notable, as was their present day relevance. While it was an enjoyable read, it was not nearly as in-depth a view as her previous works, which will disappoint some readers.

Many thanks to the author, @BookMarked, and @NetGalley for the pleasure of reading this digital book in exchange for an honest review.

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Ana's family settles in Springfield, Illinios, after moving from Portugal. She must quickly acclimate to her new town or get lost in the shuffle. But her mom struggles to learn English and adapt to a new religion, Ana soon makes a friend in Cal. And she lands a job working for the Lincoln family. This novel follows Ana as she lives, works and loves in the town where Abraham Lincoln lived.
In my opinion, this book falls flat. It includes interesting tidbits about the Underground Railroad, Lincoln's pre-presidential journey, Mary Lincoln's time in the White House and her later grief, and life in the town of Springfield. But there is so much happening and it feels like a journalism article rather than a cohesive story.
I did appreciate reading a different perspective of the nation during this time period. For example, the division between families over the war and how one race riot could have gotten started.

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Nancy Horan's "The House of Lincoln" delves into the tumultuous world of Abraham Lincoln in the pre-Civil War United States, employing the perspective of an immigrant girl who becomes intertwined with the future president's family.

Set against the backdrop of escalating tensions between the North and South, Ana Ferreira and her Presbyterian family flee religious persecution in Catholic Portugal, seeking refuge in Springfield, Illinois. At the tender age of 14, Ana finds employment within the Lincoln household, assisting Mary Todd Lincoln with domestic tasks just as her husband's political influence burgeons.

The narrative spans Lincoln's election, the ravages of the Civil War, his tragic assassination, and the aftermath extending into the early 20th century. Alongside Ana's journey, the novel explores the experiences of other characters, including her Black friend Cal, providing a multifaceted view of the era.

While the evolution of Lincoln's stance on slavery adds depth to the narrative, the true strength lies in Horan's examination of racism in central Illinois. From Ana's discovery of the Underground Railroad to the harrowing 1908 Springfield race riot, Horan unearths the state's often overlooked history of racism, including the influence of White supremacist groups and discriminatory legislation. Though the narrative occasionally shifts focus between Ana's story and that of the Lincolns, Horan successfully sheds light on a lesser-known aspect of American history, enriching our understanding of the era's complexity and challenges.

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I’ve explored several historical novels featuring Abraham Lincoln, yet this book intrigued me with its fresh perspective on the Lincoln family. Set in 1851 Springfield, Illinois, it follows the journey of Ana, a young émigré from Madeira, Portugal, who fled religious intolerance and hardship with her family. In their new land, Ana finds employment as a helper for the Lincoln boys, witnessing Abraham Lincoln's ascent to the presidency and his advocacy for equality.

Alongside Ana's narrative, we follow Spencer Donnegan, a free black man and minister, and Mary Todd Lincoln. Together, they offer diverse viewpoints on the tumultuous era, including the horrors of slavery and the Underground Railroad in Springfield.

The novel is rich in historical detail, shedding light on lesser-known aspects such as the backstory of Madeira Island and the Springfield race riot of 1908. However, while informative, some parts of the storytelling rely too heavily on exposition rather than allowing characters to fully experience the events firsthand, which I found somewhat lacking.

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I have mixed feelings on this book. I enjoyed learning more about Lincoln, however m, I wish we got more of the side characters.

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I love historical fiction so I was very excited to read this.

This book gives us a glimpse of the Lincolns before he became president. That part of the story was interesting. However, that was a small part of the story. It was more about the city of Springfield at the time. The title of the book is misleading somewhat because the Lincolns don’t play a major role in the book.

I also did not like how Mrs. Lincoln was portrayed. I haven’t researched her enough to know if her personality was similar to that in the book, but she came off in not the most favorable light. I also thought the way her weight and appearance were mentioned many times was not necessary.

2.5 stars

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Don't go into this thinking it's just a book about Lincoln, because he's actually just a small part of it. It's more about Springfield and some of the people who crossed paths with him. We focus mainly on a young Portuguese immigrant who worked for the Lincoln family, along with a conductor for the Underground Railroad and Mary Lincoln, to a lesser extent.

I learned a lot from this book that I hadn't know before, such as about the Springfield race riots. I will say that this book definitely suffered a lot from telling and not showing though. There were many chapters that just felt like big info dumps of history, rather than having any of the characters experience these moments firsthand.

Overall, not a bad book and one I would recommend if you're into history, but not my favorite, either.

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Nancy Horan's latest literary venture dives into the heart of 1851 Springfield, Illinois, through the eyes of Ana Ferreira, a young immigrant from Madeira, Portugal. In a narrative rich with historical fabric, Horan weaves the tale of the Ferreira family, who, after a harrowing escape from religious persecution in Madeira, find themselves grappling with the harsh realities of life in a new world. Their journey from the sugar cane fields of Trinidad to the uncertain promise of the United States is portrayed with vivid detail and emotional depth. Ana, quickly adapting to her new environment, becomes a bridge between her family and their new community, learning English and navigating the complexities of their new home.

I enjoyed this book!

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Soft DNF around 12% Skimmed to full DNF around 20%

For something titled House of Lincoln, this wasn't what I was expecting. I felt there was too much background for a book that markets itself as a Lincoln-based novel.

Overall disappointed but glad I DNFd and didn't waste my time.

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The novel begins in 1909 where Ana Ferreira is attending a birthday celebration of Abraham Lincoln. This is just a year after the Springfield Race Riot in 1908, where mass racial violence was committed against African-Americans in Illinois. This riot was a catalyst for the formation of the NAACP, which organized to work on civil rights of African Americans. A white angry mob protesting the suspected assault on a white woman by a black man erupted into violence. The story proceeds to describe the journey of Ana Ferreira and her family from Madeira, Portugal to Springfield, Illinois in 1849.

Ana was only 9 years-old when her family escaped religious persecution in Madeira, Portugal. Emmanuel and Genoveva Ferreira settled in a small Portuguese refugee community in Springfield, IL with their children Beatriz, Ana and Joao. In Portugal, the Catholics terrorized the Presbyterian converts forcing them to flee. Ana makes friends with Callie Patterson, a free black girl who still endures prejudice in her daily life which Ana finds confusing. In 1851, Ana goes to work at the age of 14 to work for Mary Todd Lincoln helping to care for her children Tad and Willie since her husband Abe traveled a lot. He was a lawyer and politician who eventually became the 16th and first Republican President of the USA.

The author relies on historical facts to present her perspective of what it was like to work in the House of Lincoln. This is presented from the view of Ana experiencing everyday life during the tumultuous time before the American Civil War outbreak in 1861. Ana learned about slavery and racial prejudice from her friendship with Callie which wasn't too different from the religious prejudice from which her family fled. This is a good read for history fanatics looking for a more personal "view" of what it might have been like during this time period.

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Loving Frank is one of my all time favorite books so it’s possible to say that I had unrealistic expectations of The House of Lincoln. Unfortunately the story read incredibly dry and didn’t hold my attention.

The title itself also felt misleading as the story didn’t seem to include all that much about the Lincolns. Mary Lincoln’s character was quite interesting though.

I did love Ana as a character and loved the premise of the story. It unfortunately just never quite came together to resonate. Three stars.

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An amazing read about a period and characters that I have not read much about. Abraham Lincoln and his family! I have read so many WWII historical fiction books lately that this was very interesting and fresh. Seems that the author did a lot of research.

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This book was a delightful twist on historical fiction. I love historical fiction but have not read many set in this time period or around Lincoln. You can tell it was well researched. I enjoyed the characters and how well written it was.

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Nancy Horan does a masterful job of combining fictional and real characters to bring history to life for her readers. I never realized how many lives were lost during the battles of the Civil War. It's shameful that despite the major changes President Lincoln brought about so long ago, our country is still struggling with racial and immigration issues. Some things never seem to change. Thanks to NetGalley, Sourcebooks and the author for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! No spoilers. Beyond amazing I enjoyed this book so very much. The characters and storyline were fantastic. The ending I did not see coming Could not put down nor did I want to. Truly Amazing and appreciated the whole story. This is going to be a must read for many many readers. Maybe even a book club pick.

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Wow. Where do I start with this one? It has so very much to absorb. But it is worth it. A lot of characters to know and a lot of incidents to read about. For me it falls into the slower category as far as my reading goes. But was such a worthwhile read.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by NetGalley.

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