Loving Eleanor: The Intimate Friendship of
Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok
by Susan Wittig Albert
Persevero Press. 305 pages, $26.95
FOR NEARLY the last one hundred years, it has been rumored—and quite convincingly rumored, it must be stated—that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt had love affairs with other women and that she was, if not a lesbian, at least a bisexual woman. In her new novel Loving Eleanor, Susan Wittig Albert imagines how one of the more well-documented relationships might have started, progressed, and concluded.
In 1928, Lorena Hickok was an up-and-coming writer for the Associated Press at a time when high-level women journalists were rare. She had moved to New York City from Minneapolis, where she’d had a newspaper job and a long-term relationship with another woman. This connection was the stuff of gossip and was rarely discussed without smirking titillation; needless to say, a lesbian affair was quite scandalous at the time. In New York, Hickok was seeking to establish a reputation for her work on hard-hitting newswire investigations.