A long, rambling biography of the wife of Jefferson Davis reflects the author's painstaking research but marks the book for a specialized audience. Varina's personality posed something of a paradox in its sensitivity and strength. From the sheltered environment of Brierfield, she rose to a position of prominence in Washington through her talents as hostess and helpmate. How she weathered the storm of Civil War and the various personal tragedies in her life is thoroughly detailed. From her huge pile of letters, diaries and other firsthand sources, Miss Randall has documented as much fact as possible. Despite a certain overall disorganization in the story, this respect for accuracy in a subject (the Civil War era) which has been treated to countless interpretations should earn this serious consideration by the student of history.