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How Do I Love Thee? [Kindle Edition]

Nancy Moser
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A shipwreck, an attic sanctum, an oppressive father, love letters, clandestine meetings, a secret marriage, an escape to Italy, the birth of a child, and happily ever after. So plays out the odd but mesmerizing life of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. . . . Christy Award winning author Nancy Moser has crafted a romantic, emotion-charged novel based on the true story of beloved poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. As a bonus, the novel includes the entire Sonnets from the Portuguese—Elizabeth’s love sonnets to Robert Browning.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The newest historical romance from Christy-winner Moser (Time Lottery) is an imaginative biography of the 19th-century Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett on her way to becoming the wife of fellow poet Robert Browning and the author of the sublimely romantic sonnets from the Portuguese, of which the titular poem is best known. After her brother died in a sailing accident, the grief-stricken, sickly Barrett became a recluse who was spirited from her attic hideaway by Browning; the two wed and fled to Italy, and Elizabeth's control freak of a father disinherited her. The outlines of her life make a great story, but Moser is really challenged to make dramatic hay out of Elizabeth's recluse period. As a guilt-stricken Victorian invalid, Elizabeth leads a highly interior life, so the reader awaiting a grand love story needs patience. The name of her future husband doesn't enter the action until more than a third of the way into the book. Moser has done wonderful homework and shares snippets of what she found in an appendix. The text of Barrett Browning's sonnets are a true bonus. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"[Moser's] careful research is clear ... making their true love story all the more compelling." --

While you read the novel you have the feeling that Elizabeth herself is speaking to you. I think this makes the reading more personal and bring you at a deeper level. I love it when I discover a novel that is like that. It makes me feel as though I am sharing the life of the character. -- Canadian Lady Bug Reviews

If a book can open your eyes to the past and make you think about the way that you live, then I think the book is worthy of some consideration...Moser's Women of History series is definitely worth some consideration. -- Reading to Know

A beautiful story. -- Alottabooks

Told in rich language, the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning is one of suffering, daring, longing, and tenderness. Nancy Moser's research and the depth of her characterization shine in "How Do I Love Thee?" Nobody does fictionalized biography better than Nancy Moser. -- On the Write Path Blog

Moser is a master at breathing life into historical figures. She is also meticulous in her research, including a "Fact or Fiction" section in the back of each book. What you end up with is a novel that is just about as factually accurate as any biography, but much more entertaining. --

This peek inside the private life of secluded poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a delight. The journey her heart takes to go against all she knows and embrace the unknown is suspenseful, sad, and very interesting. -- Romantic Times 4 star review

I was transported to another time - another place - into another life, and I came away happily sorting out fact from fiction, wanting to read more about this famous person from the past and savoring my experience! "How Do I Love Thee" is a beautiful tribute to a woman whose life was complex, colorful and filled with both dramatic tragedy and dramatic romance. If you are looking for compelling historical fiction, look no further! -- Kim Ford: Window to My World

Their poetic romance and the clandestine relationship that ensued provided us with some of the more remarkable love poetry ever written. This historical novel is a nicely written account of their story. -- Provo Library Staff Reviews

Product Details

  • File Size: 567 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Livingstone Books (October 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,633 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truth is stranger than fiction!! June 30, 2009
By Kimfurd
Okay. Quick confession: I know very little about Elizabeth Barrett Browning other than the poem after which this book is titled. That said, I came to this book, How Do I Love Thee? with no real expectations. Having already read all of Nancy Moser's other biographical fiction titles, I must say that she is an author truly gifted to bring people back to life in her fiction! Once again, I was transported to another time - another place - into another life, and I came away happily sorting out fact from fiction, wanting to read more about this famous person from the past and savoring my experience!

Truly, the life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning is better than fiction in places! This book focuses particularly on her romance and subsequent marriage to Robert Browning. Writers always dwell in an emotional realm far beyond that of every day existence. To bring these two poets together! Ah! What romance! And when you discover how nicely they complimented one another...well, it's just almost fictional!

I also learned some unsavory truths along the journey. Elizabeth was an opium addict as a result of an unspecified lung ailment. Having volunteered and worked with recovering addicts for more than two years now, this was a pretty disturbing fact to uncover. However, it seems that Robert did a great job discouraging her from the use of her drug, and that eventually she all but weaned herself from its use. My heart broke over the emotional enslavement that her father wielded over Elizabeth and all of her brothers and sisters. It was very sad that she lived the majority of her life not really understanding what love was all about.

It's quite easy to understand why Nancy Moser chose to write the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's romance! How Do I Love Thee is a beautiful tribute to a woman whose life was complex, colorful and filled with both dramatic tragedy and dramatic romance. If you are looking for compelling historical fiction, look no further!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
At age 36, Elizabeth Barrett has accepted her lot in life, the good and the bad. While she is extremely intelligent, creative and a woman of faith; she battles unknown illnesses that sends her into a secluded world that she doubts that she will ever escape. Her faith in God is one escape, her poetry is another. One major reason Ba (as she is known by those who love her best) remains in her self-created little world is her domineering father. Though he claims a deep abiding faith in Christ, his behavior suggests otherwise. In the Barrett household his word is law and none of the siblings dare cross him. That is until Robert Browning enters the picture. Ba's world is turned upside down as they strike up a close friendship which transforms into a whirlwind romance of a lifetime.
I was first introduced to Elizabeth Barret Browning's poetry when I was in high school, first in English lit and then again by a secret pal who gave me a book of her works. At that season of my life I didn't really enjoy the classics, but Elizabeth's poems were different. Though they weren't too complicated but they still contained a vast deal of passion. I didn't know much about the author's private life beside the author bio in the book. So when I heard that Nancy Moser was coming out with a book on Barret Browning's life, I was excited. I hadn't known what "Ba" went through as a writer and a woman trapped by illness. Most of all she had to follow the plan that God had for her, even though it contradicted the plan her father had for her. True love triumphs in the end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part biography, part romance June 21, 2009
By Idoart
We meet Barrett when she is already in her thirties and a well respected poet in her own rights. She has been sick with ill-defined physical problems since she was in her teens, and has spent the last two decades mostly confined to her room. Some of these illnesses seem to be self-perpetuating and to a certain extend self-serving - Elizabeth is not always a likable protagonist. Yet while there were times I wanted to slap "Ba" (as Elizabeth Barrett Browning is called by her nearest and dearest) upside the head, I enjoyed this book.

The family patriarch (her mother died after the birth of her 12th child) keeps Elizabeth and her many siblings under an iron rule. Her only escape is in her words. It isn't until she enters into a forbidden love with a younger man (the poet Robert Browning) that she finds the strength to escape her cage. Their romance eventually gives rise to Barrett Browning's beautiful sonnets.

I enjoyed the research that went into the books, and especially liked the "fact and fiction" section at the end, where the author (Nancy Moser) goes into which bits of each chapter are historical fact, and which were fudged or invented for storytelling purposes.

The author includes the "Sonnets from the Portuguese" at the end of the book, which I feel I enjoyed and understood much better after reading this story.

My main complaint would be that the story moves slowly at first and might be a little rough to get into, but I recommend this to anyone who likes historical chick lit and/or romantic biographies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What I Never Knew about Elizabeth Barrett Browning December 14, 2009
Biographies which bring out the story of historical figures are my favorite reads. How Do I Love Thee?-A novel of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Poetic Romance by Nancy Moser. Elizabeth Barrett was a sickly woman tied to her father's home by his overbearing attitude that his children should not marry. Her life is full of sorrow and then she receives a letter from fellow Robert Browning. Elizabeth keeps him at arm's length for a long time until she no longer can. He has fascinated her and they finally meet. Throughout their courtship she writes Sonnets From the Portuguese about her love for him, but does not give them to him until the perfect opportunity arises after they have been married for some time.

Nancy Moser says that the love story of Elizabeth and Robert is even stranger than fiction. She did take some liberties in her writing, but based most of it on actual evidence. At the end of the book is an epilogue of what happened to other characters in the book. She also gives examples that were so perfect she could not have made up information so romantic and fascinating. A "Fact or Fiction" section goes through each chapter and tells extra information about points in the chapter as well as what Nancy did not know so just took an educated guess. I especially appreciate her including Sonnets From the Portuguese which I referred to as Elizabeth and Robert's courtship progressed.

A negative of this book was how it dwelt so long on her infirmity and depression, but I understand this is realistic. I just was wanting the story to get on with the romance. Also her addiction to opium was sad, but something that happened in that age.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Like looking in a mirror...
I knew from the first moment I read the description of this book that Elizabeth Barrett Browning and I probably had more in common than I realized. Read more
Published 3 months ago by reviewsbyerin
5.0 out of 5 stars For Browning fans, this is great.
For Browning fams--and I'm a fan of both Brownings--this is a great book for learning about the background of these two poets, and for helping to understand their writings in the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by L.E.Y.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
I am frequently impressed by the quality of writing in a book from an unknown author (or an author without a large publishing company behind them).
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart warming romance! Loved it!
The story started off a little slow. Was difficult to get into the story, but after the second chapter, I couldn't put it down. Stayed up late several nights to finish a chapter. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Melly K
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This book moved me deeply. It describes Elisabeth Barrett Browning in a whole new light. It's a wonderful read. I loved it.
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth is stranger than fiction
Loved this book...based on written words left behind by the two poet sweethearts. Quite a fascinating analysis of a love story made public, but also a psychological dissection of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by grandma
2.0 out of 5 stars Way to slow a read
It was very different than most of what I have read. It was way to slow and after several chapters that never seemed to move the story along I gave up. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed learning more about "Ba" but this was my least favorite...
I'd already read Moser's other works about Martha Washington, Nannerl Mozart, and Jane Austen, so was looking forward to this novel. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Tah_Dah
4.0 out of 5 stars History in fiction makes learning fun.
I am so glad I read this book. It makes the reading of Browning's work far more meaningful. I like knowing the background and the author also included a section revealing the truth... Read more
Published 14 months ago by JoyfulatHome
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather boring
I only finished this book because I skimmed much of it trying to get to any interesting parts. I read the first 7or 8 chapters completely, and was so bored that I almost didn't... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Leslie Anderson
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More About the Author

Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty novels that focus on the characters discovering their unique purpose. Her genres include both contemporary and historical stories.

Nancy's newest book is "The Journey of Josephine Cain". It follows the adventures of a D.C. socialite as she gets involved with the building of the Transcontinental Railroad right after the Civil War. Prim and proper meets rough and rowdy.

Her 2011 release "An Unlikely Suitor" was named to Booklist's "Top 10 Romance Novels of 2011". Both "An Unlikely Suitor" and "Masquerade" are set in the Gilded Age of New York City (see a book trailer for "Masquerade" below.) Released last fall was a Christmas/Quilt antholgy,"A Patchwork Christmas", containing three novellas by Moser, Stephanie Grace Whitson, and Judith Miller.

Moser's contemporary books are known for their big-cast utilization of multiple points-of-view and intricate plotting. Some titles are "John 3: 16", "The Sister Circle", "The Good Nearby", and "The Invitation."

Her historical bio-novels allow real women-of-history to share their life stories: "Just Jane" (Jane Austen), "Mozart's Sister" (Nannerl Mozart), "Washington's Lady" (Martha Washington) and "How Do I Love Thee?" (Elizabeth Barrett Browning.)

Her time-travel novel, "Time Lottery", won a Christy Award and "Washington's Lady" was a finalist.

Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She's earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives "God's Gifts Workshops" around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She paints canes voraciously, kills all her houseplants, and can wire an electrical fixture without getting shocked. She is a fan of anything antique--humans included.

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