In an amazing feat of puzzle-working, Edward A. Martin has reconstructed the love affair between Marion Bloom, a struggling Washington writer, and H. L. Mencken
, the respected journalist. The affair transpired before Mencken's marriage to Sara Haardt and, as we learn, contained the tumult and intensity that that latter relationship didn't. Though Mencken burned the letters Bloom sent to him, Bloom kept the ones from Mencken. Martin uses those remaining letters plus Bloom's letters to her sister and various writings of Mencken to piece together the tale, which knocks some of the polish off Mencken's image.
Martin ... skillfully edited this disparate mass of material into a readable and illuminating chronicle of what was by far the most intense romantic relationship of Mencken's life. -- The New York Times Book Review, Terry Tachout