It’s been a while since I did a Beatles related review, but I just couldn’t resist buying and reading A Quiet Madness: A Biographical Novel of Edgar Allan Poe by John Isaac Jones when I heard about it! I had to put down my Beatles book and dive into this.
If I haven’t said it before (and I’m sure I have), I have a strange addiction to biographical fiction written about Edgar Allan Poe. At the end of this review, I’ll list the books I’ve read in case any of you are interested. And if any of you know of any good ones, I’d love to hear about them.
Unlike a lot of the novels about Poe, this one is more focused on Poe himself. The others have mostly been stories that fit his life into their fictitious story. But that’s not necessarily a good thing. While keeping 99% of the dates correct for major occurrences, it leaves the reader to guess what’s fact and what’s fiction. Obviously, the conversations are conjecture, but how about the characters?
Author John Isaac Jones portrays Virginia Poe as a healthy and happy girl while others have said she was a gangly, sickly girl. He kills off Edgar’s friend/colleague Rufus Griswold before Poe dies, even though history tells us that Rufus wrote a scathing obituary of after Edgar’s death. When you change history, misinformation and rumors are spread.
Note: this book is also self-published and could have used a really good editor to fix the typos!
Even though I couldn’t put this book down because I’m such a Poe addict, it did leave me scratching my head a bit. I’m all for historical fiction, until you change history. Then it becomes fan fiction…of which I’m no fan! And for that reason…
I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!
Edgar Allan Poe historical fiction books that I would recommend:
The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard
Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen
The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl
For Edgar by Sheldon Rusch