Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by chewybooks
Condition: Used: Like New
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Refinements of Love: A Novel About Clover and Henry Adams Hardcover – February 9, 1993

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$7.99 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 301 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (February 9, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679420509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679420507
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,233,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One of the most intriguing marriages in American history is explored in an absorbing, if somewhat improbable, first novel by Washington Post columnist Conroy. Henry and Clover Adams were a prominent couple in Washington's Gilded Age society, until her death by potassium cyanide poisoning--generally considered a suicide--shocked the nation's elite. Henry's attempts to obliterate his wife's memory by destroying her letters, diaries and photographs, and his total exclusion of her from his famed autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams , only served to intensify the mystery of why one of the most intelligent, accomplished and renowned women of her time (she is often cited as the inspiration for Henry James's Daisy Miller and Portrait of a Lady ) chose to end her life. Using the device of a secret journal, Conroy recreates the five weeks prior to Clover's death in December 1885. Through Clover's acutely observant eye we gain descriptions of White House dinners and afternoon tea parties, as well as reflections on the frustrating limits imposed on women in a highly ritualized society. Clover's voice is authentic without being anachronistic, and the expertly researched plot is quite compelling until the book's final pages, when Conroy deviates from historical explanations of Clover's death. The sensational ending, while skillfully paced and undeniably original, verges on melodrama, reminding the reader that only in fiction may the tangle of human events be explained so ingenuously.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this fictional account of Clover Adams's unfortunate marriage to Henry, a descendant of both Adams presidents, longtime Washington Post columnist Conroy painstakingly describes the social life and daily rituals of the select La Fayette Square residents. Henry, who is cold-hearted and vain, forces Clover to conceal her literary and artistic talents and to demonstrate servile deference to his every word and deed. When Clover rebels, Henry swiftly retaliates, and events soon lead to Clover's mysterious demise. To the author's credit, she conducted in-depth historical research to produce this hybrid tale of fact and fiction. Indeed, Clover's death makes a fine topic for intrigue. However, the reader is shortchanged by the author's tedious descriptions of social customs. Failure to develop the intriguing plot earlier in the novel detracts from what should have been an exciting work of historical fiction.
- Mary El len Elsbernd, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Voves on November 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is well written and I read it though , I'll say that. When I started it I could not understand why it had no other reviews before this...then I realized : It's neither bad enough or good enough to warren them easily.

This could have been really good. That's the thorn in the side


Having Henry Adams be an unrelieved monster though out is such a missed opportunity...there would be so much more drama and pathos if there was some connection between Clover and her husband that failed them...not this utter void.. .Plus Clover was a loved and valued member of the 5 of hearts...not a shunned pariah Her choice of death in the mists of a good life is the real story...not the unproven couplings and crimes offered here .It's telling the author felt the need to justify her musings in an long afterword that does not convince

But as I say in places it's well written by a person who knows Wash DC history

A missed opportunity imo
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?