"With profound reverence for the life and character of Abraham Lincoln." Those words, penned by James Garfield on July 2, 1880, best sum up the vision for Love
and Liberty. This historical novel is based on C. C. Carpenter's 1890 tribute, "Lincoln Memorial Album of Immortelles," a 600-page tome filled with speeches and writings by Abraham Lincoln himself as well as tales told by those who knew Lincoln personally. The result is an intimate, thorough biography tracing the life and death of America's sixteenth president.
The book is written in comfortable, casual language and is filled with detailed images and in-depth conversations. At the beginning of many chapters, the story is complemented with valuable material, such as quotes by Lincoln and regarding Lincoln, photographs and descriptions from the Lincoln Museum, copies of Lincoln's handwriting, and drawings of important places and events in his life. Love
and Liberty concludes with a chapter called "Aftermath," which gives us a peek into the mourning Lincoln family after the president's death. Finally, the author shares her interesting journey into the research necessary to write such a complete story. She started with one book but filled in gaps with other books, field trips, and the results of others' investigations.
Love and Liberty could be used as a read-aloud book for all but especially younger students or as a literature or history complement for independent readers. It lends itself to a book club setting, a co-op project or class, or a family time setting. The study questions supplement provides starting points for discussion or a means to have a student turn it into a book report or similar school project.
Pros: The author's enthusiasm and passion are contagious. To find myself in the room with Abraham Lincoln and hear his conversations was unlike anything I had ever read about him. The intimate portrayal made him even more real, relatable, and likeable. The included study booklet was a thoughtful addition to help deepen and solidify the reader's knowledge.
Cons: While I enjoyed the day-to-day events and conversations, it took a lot of words and was, at times, too dense. This certainly isn't a "quick read," and it is not for those who like to finish a book in one sitting.
Overall, Love and Liberty is a great resource for all history buffs and for those who don't even realize they are history buffs. President Lincoln's life is a splendid representation of America at her best, an example for all Americans, young and old, and a reminder of why we are so blessed to live in this land.