Dear Abigail: The Intimate Lives and Revolutionary Ideas of Abigail Adams and Her Two Remarkable Sisters
Readers familiar with Abigail Adams’ plea to her husband, John, to “remember the ladies” may suspect that she is a formidable historical figure in her own right. Such readers would be correct, as this non-fiction work attests. Jacobs veers from the focus every now and then, covering John Adams’ life and focusing on the early American government more than her title would imply, but the majority of the book hones in on Abigail and her sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, all of whom lived remarkable lives. Abigail herself goes from spunky to somewhat stodgy and back in the course of her life, as reflected through letters between the three sisters, their children, and other close family members. Fans of American history, women’s issues, and daily life in 18th-century America will greatly enjoy reading about Abigail’s relationship with her husband as well as her correspondence with a handsome spy, her friendship with Thomas Jefferson, the smallpox inoculations that may have saved the family, her dislike for a potential son-in-law, travels to France and England, John’s significant absences from her life, and the three sisters raising children together in a town that would come to bear their mother’s maiden name: Quincy, Massachusetts.