American Phonenix, John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence by Jane Hampton Cook is a weighty look at a first lady and president who are often forgotten. It is meticulously researched, includes a lot of interesting detail, and really fills you in on what it was like to live and travel abroad in the 1800s.
The part about this book that really bogged me down however, was the writing style. Cook seems to be emulating the flowery diction of the 19th century. I felt like I should play a drinking game every time she used the word “recreate”.
The author also put in a lot of unnecessary wondering. “Perhaps Louis was wearing…. She might have been thinking… She was probably familiar with….” Those aren’t direct quotes, but rather indications of the general gist of how the book goes.
There are a lot of history books that I love and then pass on to my father in law. This book isn’t one of them. Mainly because of the flowery style, but also because I kept wishing the author would get to the point.
But on the plus side, I 100% believe the author knows her stuff. Kudos to Jane Hampton Cook for the tremendous amount of research she put into this book.
P.S. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and review.