LOST LOVE by George Cooper


A True Story of Passion, Murder, and Justice, New York 1869
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 In a well-crafted compilation of letters, lurid newspaper accounts, legal documents, and photographs and drawings of the day, Cooper (a former Columbia law professor) tells a story of high aspirations, of a failed marriage and a scandalous divorce, and of a 1860's-style murder that might have been dreamed up by William Dean Howells. Abby Sage is a young schoolteacher from an old Massachusetts family when, in 1857, she meets and marries 39-year-old Irish immigrant Daniel McFarland and travels west with him to the frontier town of Madison, Wisconsin. There, McFarland's supposed land holding turns out to be chimerical--just as McFarland turns out to be a ``beastly'' alcoholic prone to fantasy and violence. Abby has to support their growing family by writing and acting, and soon the couple and their two children return east, to New York. Meanwhile, Albert Deane Richardson, youngest son of Massachusetts farmers, also heads west--to Kansas and Colorado, to pursue a journalism career that places him in a Confederate prison during the Civil War and then brings him to the top of his profession in the heyday of newspaper publishing in New York's Printing House Square. It's here, in the late 1860's, that Abby and Albert meet in the homes and offices of mutual friends, including New York Tribune publisher Horace Greeley. But when Abby decides to leave the increasingly brutal McFarland and to accept Albert's offer of marriage, all hell breaks loose--and when McFarland shoots Albert dead in the mail room of the Tribune, public sentiment sides with him because he's seen as the victim of the new tide of fearsome women's rights then sweeping the nation. In a show trial, McFarland is acquitted (he ends up drinking himself to death in Leadville, Colorado). Abby, undaunted, publishes in the Tribune an account of her marriage and Albert's murder, and goes on to distinguish herself as a journalist. Evocative and entertaining popular history. (Eight pages of photographs)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-55778-626-7
Page count: 288pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993