White Houses

White Houses


In 1933, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt moved into the White House and with them moved journalist Lorena Hickock. Known as Hick to her friends, Lorena tells the story of her passionate relationship with the First Lady, a relationship that shaped the rest of their lives.

Our Review

White Houses by Amy Bloom made it onto our list of New Books to Look Out For in May 2018 prior to me reading it because I had heard good things about it.

In 1933, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt moved into The White House and with them moved Lorena Hickock otherwise known as Hick. White Houses tells the story of the secret and enduring love between Eleanor and Hick.

The thing that appealed to me about White Houses was how little I know about this period in American history. In fact, I knew Franklin Roosevelt had polio and was married to Eleanor and that was the extent of my knowledge.

White Houses is written in first person narrative from the perspective of Hick and focuses on several time periods during her relationship with Eleanor.

The book begins shortly after the death of Franklin Roosevelt with Hick anxiously awaiting a visit from Eleanor after years of being apart.

“I hope that in the mix of her feelings for Franklin, sorrow at his death, and grief for her children and for the country, she’ll be glad to see me. I want her to feel that with me, she’s home, like it used to be. She sent me away eight years ago, and I left. Two days ago, she called me to come and I came.”

For me the relationship between Eleanor and Hick was not the most interesting part of White Houses. My favourite parts of the book were the parts directly related to Hick’s troubled upbringing and historical events.

In 1932 Lorena Alice Hickock was a newspaper woman and made a name for herself as one of the primary correspondents covering the Lindbergh boy’s kidnapping. Like many other people Hick felt that there was more to the story than met the eye, but she also knew that Lindbergh was untouchable, and she was unable to write the story she really wanted to.

After that story her boss asked her to cover Eleanor Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt’s move to The White House.

“Eleanor Roosevelt might be dull and pleasant, which is what I’d heard, but I was pretty sure she hadn’t killed her own baby and sent an innocent man to fry for it.”

Hick and Eleanor were good friends from the start and eventually more than friends. I like that the author didn’t go into gratuitous detail over the details of their relationship, but I also felt like the relationship was portrayed as very unequal with Hick always holding something of herself back, her past.

“Eleanor asked me to tell her a once-upon-a-time story from my childhood. I said, let me think.

People like when their griefs balance, when their sufferings can share the same stage. My heartache, your heartache. My illness, your illness. Not my broken arm, your mass murder.”

White Houses was difficult for me to read initially but at about 15% I started to get into it a bit more and ended up finishing it in a day.

I decided to give White Houses 3.1 stars because although it was an interesting read I didn’t really feel any interest in their relationship or its outcome, it was the other aspects of the book I enjoyed.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 3.1/5

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