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And They Called It Camelot

A Novel of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

by Stephanie Marie Thornton

And They Called It Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton X
And They Called It Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton
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  • Valerie M. (Los Angeles, CA)
    Beautiful Jackie O.
    Before everything changed, before guilt, loneliness and suffering were daily companions, Jackie Kennedy was a young wife of privilege with impeccable taste and adorable children. A powerful man as her husband rounded out an image of perfection, absent Jack Kennedy's frequent dalliances with mistresses. Happy in her married life, the Kennedys of Jack and Jackie were planning a getaway to California but first they were in Dallas on a political trip. It was routine, mundane and partly annoying until ordinary shifted to tragic without warning.

    Essayist Joan Didion once remarked: Life changes. It changes in an instant. Upon Jackie Kennedy's hands and in her lap, in an instant, were shards of bone and blood belonging to her beloved husband.

    The death of a husband president is without peer. However one episode of horror doesn't a life make. The rest of it, the length and width of Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, as told by Stephanie Marie Thornton in And They Called It Camelot: A Novel of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, is entertaining, compelling, heartbreaking, tragic, uplifting and a damned good read. Jackie Kennedy Onassis' life was much bigger than one very bold assassination.

    There was the boyfriend she dumped before she began dating Jack Kennedy; she was bored to tears by stockbroker John Husted. There was Jackie's own ambition and love of books, adventure, photography, fashion and design. She didn't just want to be a wife. She wanted to matter creatively. When she fell in love with Jack Kennedy her world changed.

    The historical novel Stephanie Marie Thornton penned is a gem. It's the kind of novel you just can't put down but to call it a page turner somehow feels crass. It's much more than that. Thornton gracefully holds the life of Jackie Kennedy Onassis in her hands, exploring the pain of miscarriages and dead babies, infidelity, fear, joy, love and jealousy. Thornton includes details not often reported. Jackie called her father-in- law Poppy Doodle. Jack affectionately called her Kid. She had an intimate relationship with brother-in-law Bobby which felt peculiarly sexual and spiritual in nature.

    Thornton though mines the details like a neurosurgeon, carefully inserting the knife in sensitive membranes. She's talented at dramatizing the inner life of women and exposing what Jackie O. desperately wanted hidden, that she loved a man almost more than she loved herself which makes her a sympathetic and familiar woman. As a historical figure, she was protective, restless, sharp, witty, and unafraid to chart a course that had others shaking their head. Beauty is skin deep is an apt description of the woman who lived in the White House for 1,036 days. Beautiful Jackie.
  • Karen L. (Wilton, IA)
    Excellent Historical Fiction. Loved it!
    I have always loved reading about JFK and about Jackie. This book is excellent for fans of either JFK or Jackie. You feel like you are living Jackie life with her through her eyes. Her experiences were thrilling and heart breaking. This book brings history to life. I loved this book. I would recommend it to book clubs including the ones I belong to. It is a longer book but I read it quickly. I could not put it down. I know it is fiction but I think the author researched Jackie well. It stayed close to nonfiction sources that I have read about the Kennedys.
  • Becky S. (Springfield, MO)
    Couldn't put it down!!
    I loved this book from the beginning .. the tale of Camelot and so much more, through the eyes of the legend Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.. what an incredible life she lived.. fairytale and tragedy. Stephanie Marie Thornton has done a fantastic job of telling the story.. one that will stick with me forever. Love her writing style , I stayed up many nights reading.. not wanting to put this book down!
  • Wendy F. (Kalamazoo, MI)
    America's Queen
    Loved this book. Stephanie Marie Thornton is able to look into the souls of her characters to truly convey their hearts. We all know the story of Jacqueline Kennedy but this one brings her closer to us. Her strength and grace are incomparable. It helped a country and a world to get through horrible tragedies. But in this book we witness her vulnerability and devotion to her children throughout her struggles.
  • Betty T. (Warner Robins, GA)
    Portrait of the Real Jackie
    Over the years, I have read a lot of books on Jackie Kennedy, this being my first historical fiction offering. But I am a fan of Stephanie Marie Thornton's books so was eager to read it. I have to say that I absolutely loved this book. The story is told as Jackie might have told it and covers the time of her meeting Jack to the dedication of Jack's presidential library. While most books I have read previously focused only on her relationship with the men in her life – her father and her husbands – this book also discusses Jackie's relationship with her mother and her sister. I thought Thornton captured Jackie's voice so well I felt like I was reading Jackie's own personal memoir. Jackie has always been viewed as a cold, unemotional woman so I loved the expression of her thoughts and feelings throughout this book. Her struggles, her character, and her strength are beautifully expressed.
    Since it is told from Jackie's perspective there is a sense of intimacy throughout the book. I loved the magical moments between Jack and his children. My heart was torn as I read of how in spite of the affairs Jack came to understand the remarkable wife he had. I admired Jackie's determination to protect her children. An example of just one of many charming moments with the children: at a dedication ceremony at Runnymede - "and laughing until my sides ached when a uniformed Beefeater had to fish John from inside a cannon at the Tower of London."

    I loved the sensitivity given to her relationship with Bobby after her husband's death. Bobby was her strength, always there when she needed him. He really seemed to understand her. And I loved her relationship with the indomitable Joseph Kennedy, the patriarch of the family.

    I enjoyed reading of her interest in history and design through the retelling of her renovation of the White House and her fight to save New York City's Grand Central Station from demolition. And her love of books which seems to have never been addressed in any other book.

    I was only in the second grade when President Kennedy was shot, but I remember the time vividly. This book took me back to that time and allowed me a glimpse into the adult world. I remember my concern for Caroline and John as Caroline was only a year younger than me. I remember how Jackie was praised for her grace and strength. But I also remember several years later when she was vilified for marrying Onassis. Through this book I got a better understanding of why Jackie made the decisions she did. I feel like I got to see the real Jackie - with her flaws, her doubts, her fears – and cheered her on as she managed to move on.

    Thank you to Book Browse for an advance copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own.
  • Leslie R. (Lynchburg, VA)
    As If You Were There
    How challenging it must be for an author to write in first person about an iconic figure that many people in the reading audience will remember. Ms. Thornton emphasizes in her author notes that this is a book of fiction, and she goes on to explain how and when she took liberties with names and dates. The end result, however, is a captivating book of amazing scope but filled with intimate details. The intricate descriptions and dialogue pull the reader into the story and make the events of history feel like personal family lore. A poignant and mesmerizing read.
  • Melanie B. (Desoto, TX)
    Excellent Historical Fiction
    Stephanie Marie Thornton has written a captivating and historically accurate novel of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. I was enthralled by this book from start to finish. The first person narrative is convincing and not over the top. The many conversations between Jackie and her immediate family, the Kennedys, and the Onassis family seem entirely plausible. I highly recommend this interesting and well-developed book.
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