I recently had the chance to read Forever and Forever – The Courtship of Henry Longfellow and Fanny Appleton by Josi S. Kilpack. If you have read and loved the Proper Romance Series, then you are going to love this one too! My favorite thing about this is that it’s a historical fiction! Henry Longfellow and Fanny Appleton were real people! Josi takes the biographies, letters, and journals that we have about the couple and then fills in the blanks and adds some of her own impressions from the love story.
A Historical Proper Romance
So I love a good historical fiction. I’ve been reading them since I was a kid. I loved the Dear America series. Did you ever read those? It’s a great way to tell a story about a time period or people and bring them to life. It helps you better appreciate the struggles, love, and passion of people who lived long before we did. I love that Josi wrote at the end of the book what really happened and what she created in each chapter. I read the chapter notes as I read the book, but I would suggest waiting until you’re done reading the book before referring to this section as it has some spoilers. LOVED the information, just read it at the very end.
Henry and Fanny Longfellow
Now who are Henry and Fanny Longfellow? I didn’t recognize the names at first, but Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this poem:
“Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.”
You recognize that right? Longfellow is one of America’s first writers and has quite an impressive list of publishings that are also given at the end of the book. This is a great story! So much grief and hardship that turns into something wonderful and beautiful.
A young Fanny Appleton meets Henry Longfellow while touring Europe. He is 10 years her senior and below her social class. Being a professor and writer wouldn’t bring her the comfort she was used to as the daughter of an industrialist. Henry is impressed by Fanny’s intellect and desire to learn, but she is not impressed with his quick pursuit of her love.
I love that Josi took what she knew about Henry and Fanny and filled in the blanks of what could have happened. That makes the story all the more enjoyable for me. The book is well written and keeps you engaged while also giving you a little history of American culture during the 1830s and 1840s. She does a great job including what was popular at the time and what it was like to live during that time period on the American east coast.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good love story and historical fiction.
Check out some of my other Proper Romance book reviews: