Top Graphic

Dear Abigail: Praise

“Offering a fascinating look at the personalities, strengths and foibles of these famous historical figures, the 499-page book details the progress of the Colonies toward eventual separation from British control and subsequent self-rule. . . . Most noteworthy is Jacobs’ literary skill in depicting these people and their times and drawing the reader irresistibly into their story. Daily life—usually arduous and often perilous—emotional connections, doubts and triumphs, and political viewpoints meld seamlessly to create a fascinating chronicle of Abigail’s adult life. . . . Dear Abigail trains the spotlight on a fascinating subject and on a gifted biographer, as well.”
The Free Lance–Star (Read full review)

Dear Abigail is the perfect pendant to McCullough's John Adams: the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of three of its Founding Mothers." ”
History In The Margins

“In this artful biography, Jacobs spotlights the friendship that existed between Abigail Adams ...and her sisters...The sisters' independence, integrity and spunk shine through Jacobs' expertly crafted narrative which also provides a fresh look at life in Colonial America." ”

“Crafting a narrative from correspondence that veers from bowel complaints to romantic attachments, from congressional debates to portraits of the beau monde, Jacobs effectively and engagingly re-creates everyday existence in the households of her subjects...It should be noted that they were women of their time. And so it seems appropriate for Jacobs to end her estimable book by urging readers, "Find these sisters in the history of their country and their sex." ”
Star Tribune

“Jacobs is a delightful, engaging writer who blows the dust off history, offers fresh insights and recalls these founding mothers who kept going when smallpox raged in Boston, Redcoats occupied their homeland and family tragedy struck. They worked with wet clay without models and helped make a nation." ”
Austin American Statesman

Dear Abigail goes beyond the minuets and petticoats to the harsher reality of life as Adams lived it and described it in letters to her sisters, husband and just about everyone else she knew. Diane Jacobs conveys how it must have felt, even how it smelled...Jacobs backs up every conversation, every event...the narrative never stalls. ”
Buffalo News

“This sympathetic and engaging treatment of Abigail Adams and her close-knit family will be valued by all readers. It will be of particular interest to devotees of women's studies and early American history.”
Library Journal

“In highlighting sorority, Diane Jacobs opens a new window on the familiar life of Abigail Adams, wife of American Revolution leader and second President of the United States, John…Deftly weaving military and political events of the Revolutionary period with the personal lives of these fascinating sisters, Jacobs has crafted a riveting curl-up-by-the-fireside story.”
Publishers Weekly

“[Abigail’s] feminist writing, both to husband and sisters, crackles off the page. Readers will cheer when she is finally goaded out of her enforced provincialism by the need to join her husband in his diplomatic mission to Paris in 1784. An intimate, deeply engaging method of following historic events.”

Though Abigail Adams is a perennially popular historical subject, little has been written about her two accomplished sisters, Mary Cranch and Elizabeth Shaw Peabody. This triple biography corrects that oversight …Colonial America, the Revolutionary War era, and the fledgling state of a new nation come to life via the pens of these remarkably prolific, loving, and observant sisters.”

“In a beautifully wrought narrative, Diane Jacobs has brought the high-spirited, hyper-articulate Smith sisters to luminous life; she delivers up their rich inner lives along with the early years of the American republic. A stunning, sensitive work of history.”
—Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra

“Diane Jacobs is a superb story-teller. In her sweeping narrative about family and friendship during the American Revolution, Abigail Adams emerges as one of the great political heroines of the 18th century. I fell in love with her all over again.”
—Amanda Foreman, New York Times bestselling author of A World on Fire

“Beauty, brains, and breeding--Elizabeth, Abigail, and Mary had all of these endowments. Now this absorbing history shows how the sisters' rare education, and the chemistry of their bond, empowered these daughters of colonial America, making them women of influence in the new-begotten United States. Jacobs' feel for the period is confident; so is her appreciation of the nuances of character.”
—Daniel Mark Epstein, author of The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage

“Diane Jacobs weaves a fascinating fabric from the correspondence of Abigail Smith Adams and her two gifted sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, in Dear Abigail.  The first book to trace the ties that bound, thrilled and sometimes frustrated  America’s most beloved Founding Mother to her siblings, Dear Abigail provides insights into the tenuous balance between love, empathy and occasional envy  expressed by the three sisters.   A must-read for those interested in the lives of Revolutionary-era women.”
—Nancy Rubin Stuart, author of Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women and the Radical Men They Married

“To turn the pages of this beautifully written biography is to reach back 250 years and step into the shoes of the three Smith sisters, Mary, Abigail, and Elizabeth, beloved friends always even when destiny takes Abigail to the courts of Paris and London, and ultimately to the White House itself. Dear Abigail is a brilliant reconstruction of women’s most intimate lives against the backdrop of American history: Revolution, war, and the dangerous, complicated times that gave birth to a new country. It’s not surprising that their triumphs and sorrows remain with you long after you’ve finished reading.”
—Marion Meade, author of Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?

“Diane Jacobs elegantly intertwines the personal with the political in Dear Abigail.  Jacobs’ intimate accounts of the lives and families of Abigail Adams and her two intellectual, passionately engaged sisters   illuminate the history of colonial Massachusetts, eighteenth century Enlightenment England, revolutionary Paris and, most importantly,  the earliest years of the nascent United States.”
—Sydney Ladensohn Stern, author of Gloria Steinem: Her Passions, Politics, and Mystique

“Wonder what it was like in British occupied Boston during the Revolutionary War and what women did while their men fought? The revolutionary lives of Abigail Adams and her two sisters come to life in a drama that shows how women, the generals in charge of their families, did so much to make America what it is today. Diane Jacobs transforms these three different stories into one magnificent epic in an astonishing feat of narrative history and biography.”
—Carl Rollyson, author of American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath and Amy Lowell Anew: A Biography

“The three Adams sisters were witnesses to and participants in some of the most important events of early American history, and their spritely letters attest to their indomitable public spirit as well as their familial devotion to each other.  In Diane Jacobs’ illuminating account of their remarkable lives, the personal is indeed the political as we gain insight into how our country came to be and how the Adams sisters helped to make us into the Americans we are today. “
—Deirdre Bair, National Book Award winner and prize-winning biographer of Simone de Beauvoir and Saul Steinberg

Christmas in July
...but we need the eggs
Hollywood Renaissance