Audiobook Review: MRS. POE by Lynn Cullen

Format: Audio; 12 hrs, 1 min
Narrator: Eliza Foss
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Released: October 1, 2013
Source: Review copy from the Publisher

A vivid and compelling novel about a woman who becomes entangled in an affair with Edgar Allan Poe—at the same time she becomes the unwilling confidante of his much-younger wife.

It is 1845, and Frances Osgood is desperately trying to make a living as a writer in New York; not an easy task for a woman—especially one with two children and a philandering portrait painter as her husband. As Frances tries to sell her work, she finds that editors are only interested in writing similar to that of the new renegade literary sensation Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, “The Raven” has struck a public nerve.

She meets the handsome and mysterious Poe at a literary party, and the two have an immediate connection. Poe wants Frances to meet with his wife since she claims to be an admirer of her poems, and Frances is curious to see the woman whom Edgar married.

As Frances spends more and more time with the intriguing couple, her intense attraction for Edgar brings her into dangerous territory. And Mrs. Poe, who acts like an innocent child, is actually more manipulative and threatening than she appears. As Frances and Edgar’s passionate affair escalates, Frances must decide whether she can walk away before it’s too late…

Set amidst the fascinating world of New York’s literati, this smart and sexy novel offers a unique view into the life of one of history’s most unforgettable literary figures.


Okay, here’s the strange thing about this book. I started reading the eBook in October, but I stopped after a few chapters because it just wasn’t clicking with me. Then I got the opportunity to review the audiobook and decided to give it another try. I’m so glad I did, because I ended up enjoying MRS. POE. Go figure! The characters and story were compelling, and Eliza Foss gave a brilliant audio performance.

MRS. POE was an intriguing blend of fact and fiction, telling the story of the doomed love affair between Edgar Allan Poe and Frances Osgood. Like Poe, Frances Osgood was a writer and poet (she wrote Puss in Boots), and she was a member of the New York literary society. Their paths first crossed at a literary conversazione hosted by a mutual acquaintance. Though Frances was less than impressed with Poe’s famous poem The Raven, he was smitten with Frances and her work. A flirtation began between them which grew into something stronger, but unfortunately they were both married to other people.

Oddly enough, it was Poe’s wife Virginia who first wanted Frances in their lives. Virginia was a curious character. She was Poe’s first cousin and child-bride (she was 13; he was 26), and even in her early 20s she had a child-like quality. Virginia took a liking to Frances that bordered on obsession. Even though she appeared frail and innocent, Virginia had a dark, ominous quality just under the surface that was so creepy. I had to wonder what she really wanted with her husband’s mistress.

I love 19th century historical fiction, and I thought Ms. Cullen did a marvelous job drawing me into 1840s New York City and the lives of Poe, Osgood, and the literary elite of the time. MRS. POE was an alluring tale of desire, devotion, and duty, and it made me want to learn more about the ill-fated lovers and poor Virginia.

Rating: 4.25 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.