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If a chick-lit can be an intelligent and relevant read this is it! With the US elections in mind, 'American Wife' is the fictional reimagining of Laura Bush's life as she looks back at the unlikely path that led her to the White House.

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Den scores




640 pages

This was chosen as a lock-down read when we were all yearning for a taste of ‘normal’. At over 600 pages you need to invest some time to pick up Curtis Sittenfeld’s ‘American Wife’ but it was warmly received in the Den making it a perfect Missed Opportunity choice.

‘American Wife’ is a word-of-mouth bestseller about the marriage of an American First Lady whose early life is based on the story of Laura Bush, wife of Republican George W Bush.

'My favourite book of the year' - Kate Atkinson.

On one of the most important days of her husband's presidency, liberal leaning Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led them to the White House, and that has landed an ordinary girl from a small town into the most public of roles. Weaving race, class, wealth and fate into a brilliant literary reimagining of the life of a reserved woman not unlike Laura Bush, American Wife is a remarkable novel that lays bare the pressures and contradictions of a marriage exposed in the global spotlight.

The Den enjoyed comparing this fictional novel with Michelle Obama’s much acclaimed memoir ‘Becoming’. Some found the length wearisome, whilst others felt we really could reimagine a human face behind the First Lady’s back-story because we had invested in her narrative. The length was worth it!

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