Originally published in Library Journal, March 2020.
Thornton’s novel is an intimate portrait of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis through the best and worst of her legendary life. A writer for the Times Herald at age 23, she marries war hero turned Congressman, Jack Kennedy, devoting herself fully to him through surgery and serious illness, years of infidelity, and the soul-crushing loss of 3 of their 5 children in utero and at birth. A fashion icon and a favorite to Jack’s father Joe and brother Bobby, her strength and poise captivated the nation. As First Lady to the 35th President, Jackie restored the White House to historical beauty. While in Dallas, Jack is assassinated, leaving her a 34-year-old widow of two small children. She then grieves with Bobby, loving him more than a brother-in-law, until the New York Senator is shot and killed. Fearing her children’s safety and to escape the “Kennedy curse,” she joins a loveless marriage to Aristotle Onassis, an older Greek playboy millionaire. After Ari’s passing, she finally finds contentment in a job as a book editor for Viking, while also opening a Presidential Library dedicated to Jack. VERDICT: Readers will enjoy this highly recommended, heartbreaking story of a wife’s fierce pride and loyalty to her President and country, despite years of marital loneliness and loss.