Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lucy by Ellen Feldman

On Friday the morning book group will discuss Lucy, Ellen Feldman's fictionalization of the relationship between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lucy Mercer in the late 1910s. FDR was Assistant Secretary of the Navy at the time, and Lucy was Eleanor Roosevelt's social secretary. The affair went on a very long hiatus when FDR's political advisers convinced him that a divorce would put an end to his dream of becoming president.

Lucy went on to marry the widower Winthrop Rutherfurd, who as a young man had been secretly engaged Consuelo Vanderbilt. (Consuelo's mother Alva forced her to marry the Duke of Marlborough instead.) Amazing by today's standards, FDR's relationship with Lucy did not become publicly known until 1966. Ellen Feldman based the book in part on Franklin and Lucy's correspondence, including letters found as late as 2008.

Discussion questions for Lucy are available at ReadingGroupGuides.com. Ellen Feldman won a Guggenheim fellowship in 2009, 6 years after Lucy was published.

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