A young Abraham Lincoln sets off to the town of New Salem, Indiana in order to run a general store. Abe is poor, looking for work that is anything but farming and also hopes to run into a woman that he has briefly met before, Ann Rutledge. Ann's family run the Tavern in town and that is where Abe plans to stay, at least until his money runs out. During Abe's stay, he runs a store poorly and runs a militia well. All the while, he and Ann grow a well-guarded relationship centered around grammar, symbols and signs. When Ann becomes engaged and moves, Abe follows while taking the job of a surveyor while campaigning for legislature and finds out just how strong their relationship can be.
Abe & Ann is a look into Abraham Lincoln as a young man and not the formidable President that we usually think of him as. At this point in time, Abe is just starting out with no money and no education, but he does have a lot of confidence, personality and willingness to learn. His bravery shines through immediately when he decides to room at Ann's Tavern. It was interesting to see Abe in this light, where his confidence is still growing and he is constantly having to pull himself up in order to survive. I was intrigued to learn about Abe's early path to the Presidency and how this time of his life clearly influenced how he lead and policies he held. Ann was a force, a woman who deserved better than the time she lived in. Ann tried to re-write the rules favorably for herself and Abe. It was a delight to see how she was able to fit in jabs and innuendo when they spoke. Written in the third person with a lot of introspective thoughts for each character, we are really given a close look inside Abe & Ann's heads- this is good because a lot of what each character has to communicate to the other is unspoken and communicated through signals, signs and wordplay. However, for me the third person point of view failed to help me connect with a character. That being said, the point of view also led to a lyrical and poetic prose, tying in the themes of grammar, poetry and symbolism for the slow, steady and nurtured love that grew between Abe & Ann.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.