And They Called It Camelot: A Novel of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
By Stephanie Marie Thornton
Author’s Website: stephaniethorntonauthor.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Few of us can claim to be the authors of our fate. Jacqueline
Bouvier Kennedy knows no other choice. With the eyes of the world watching,
Jackie uses her effortless charm and keen intelligence to carve a place for
herself among the men of history and weave a fairy tale for the American
people, embodying a senator’s wife, a devoted mother, a First Lady—a queen in
her own right.
But all reigns must come to an end. Once JFK travels to Dallas and the clock ticks down those thousand days of magic in Camelot, Jackie is forced to pick up the ruined fragments of her life and forge herself into a new identity that is all her own, that of an American legend.
And They Called It Camelot is a wonderfully engaging and well written historical fiction written by Stephanie Marie Thornton. Ms. Thornton takes us from when Jacqueline and Jack first met, their wonderful (and at times tumultuous) life together, life with Onassis and to the dedication of the JFK Library in Boston with Jackie as the story teller.
I truly enjoyed this story. I will not go into great depth with respect to the content of the story for that is for you to find out when you pick up this book and read it for yourself.
While I realize this book is a fictionalized (but fact-based) story, it felt like an actual memoir. The details and accounts made me feel as I was there, experiencing the life and times of Jackie O as she would have actually told it. Of course, I do realize that Ms. Thornton did take license in some of the events (timing and details) to make this story flow and read as well as it does.
The actual events of Jacqueline’s life that was already in the public domain was well told (but of course, it was being told by Jackie!) and provided memories of an era gone by for this reader. The writer’s enhancements were clarified in the Author’s Note. So do read those note’s (I know – I usually don’t – but will from now on)! I also loved the smattering of French throughout the book.
We get a sense of the dichotomy of Jackie. She had the outward persona as a First Lady and her inward persona as a wife of a man who was unfaithful, powerful yet loved his family beyond a shadow of a doubt. As I continued to read the novel, I found myself sympathizing with Jackie and the frustrations and insecurities she must have felt while trying to be the wife of JFK. Above all else, I truly felt her passion and commitment as a mother to all her children, not just Caroline and John, but to the three that she also lost either prior to or just after birth. Also, how she tried to manage the pitfalls of being in a family – not just the Bouvier but the Kennedy clan as well. She was a strong woman, who set out goals (refurbishing the White House) and achieved them with what I like to call “gumption”, fortitude and resilience when met with obstacles.
The storytelling was a delight to read, so much so that I found it very hard to put the book down. I could not wait until life afforded me the time to read again. As a matter of fact, Ms. Thornton’s story telling has me putting on my TBR pile another book or two she has written.
*OBS would like to thank the author for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*