Monday, March 18, 2024

Book Review for Becoming Madam Secretary by Stephanie Dray

 Becoming Madam Secretary by Stephanie Dray

Published March 12, 2024 by Berkley

Genre:  Historical Fiction


Taken from Goodreads:
  New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray returns with a captivating and richly dramatic novel about American heroine Frances Perkins, who pulled the nation out of the Great Depression.

Raised on tales of her revolutionary ancestors, Frances Perkins arrives in New York City at the turn of the century, armed with her trusty parasol and an unyielding determination to make a difference.

When she’s not working with children in the crowded tenements in Hell’s Kitchen, Frances throws herself into the social scene in Greenwich Village, befriending an eclectic group of politicians, artists, and activists, including the millionaire socialite Mary Harriman Rumsey, the flirtatious budding author Sinclair Lewis, and the brilliant but troubled reformer Paul Wilson, with whom she falls deeply in love.

But when Frances meets a young lawyer named Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a tea dance, sparks fly in all the wrong directions. She thinks he’s a rich, arrogant dilettante who gets by on a handsome face and a famous name. He thinks she’s a priggish bluestocking and insufferable do-gooder. Neither knows it yet, but over the next twenty years, they will form a historic partnership that will carry them both to the White House.

Frances is destined to rise in a political world dominated by men, facing down the Great Depression as FDR’s most trusted lieutenant—even as she struggles to balance the demands of a public career with marriage and motherhood. And when vicious political attacks mount and personal tragedies threaten to derail her ambitions, she must decide what she’s willing to do—and what she’s willing to sacrifice—to save a nation.


My Thoughts:   Stephanie Dray has a way of taking people in history, specifically women, that I did not know about and making them relevant to what I do know of history.   I finish a book and think, how did I miss this in history class, was I taught about her? 

Frances Perkins is a part of history from the Great Depression.  She is the driving force behind Social Security, and a voice that FDR listens to.   I love that even though she is a woman, she is a force to be listened to.   She fights her battles, knows how to push for what she believes in but also knows when to take a step back and reevaluate how to get it done.   Her connections help her get her projects done and she is not afraid to speak her mind.    

Stephanie Dray is a must-read historical fiction author.   I recommend all her books and look forward to more from her. 

Thank you Berkley Publishing for a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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