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100 Pages A Day...Stephanie's Book Reviews

I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way.  I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.

Twain's End

Twain's End - Lynn Cullen

Another Halloween Bingo Square, I stayed up late and read this next to the bonfire!


Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain was not only an amazing author, but quite the character.  Throughout his life he amassed quite a number of admirers, none more than those who were close to him- including many of his female staff.  In his later years, Samuel Clemens employed Isabel Lyon as a secretary for his ailing wife.  Soon, Isabel became Samuel’s constant companion and his own personal secretary.  It does not take much to see that the relationship between the two has grown.  However, a year before Samuel’s death, he blesses the marriage of Isabel and Ralph Ashcroft, his business manager only to besmirch their reputations one month later in an elongated written rant. 

I love learning more about the lives of authors that I admire.  I really didn’t know much about the man behind Mark Twain other than the fact that he piloted a riverboat and that he came in and went out along with Hailey’s comet.  Lynn Cullen has taken much of her account for Twain’s End from the diary of Isabel Lyon.  The writing creates a tense back and forth, cat and mouse game between Samuel and Isabel.   The overall feeling that is created is tense and a little uncomfortable, especially if you would prefer to keep Mark Twain in a positive light.  Isabel was quite intriguing, especially as she tried to do her best to keep herself distant from the man she knew she should not get involved with.  As she became more and more entwined with the family, this became more and more difficult and eventually led Samuel to believe different about her.   One of the things I found most interesting was Samuel’s relationship with his wife and daughters; I really knew nothing about Olivia, Jean, Clara and Susie.  Olivia is still a little of a mystery to me, she was ailing through most of her time throughout the book, but no one seemed to know why.  However, the mutual love between Samuel and Olivia was still evident even through his indiscretions.  One of the most colorful characters for me was Isabel’s mother, always scheming, always putting her nose in other’s business and terribly worried about Isabel’s marriage prospects, a perfect busybody.  Overall, a suspenseful, surprising and insightful tale about a different view of one of America’s greatest authors.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.