In American culture, even if one has only a passing awareness of politics or history, John. F Kennedy (JFK) is a person who will easily come to mind. And for many people, JFK’s wife, Jacqueline Onassis (often referred to as “Jackie O”), is another very memorable personality who set the template that nearly every First Lady in modern times has been compared to.
Their time in the White House has been retrospectively described as the American time of “Camelot”—as stated by Jacqueline Onassis herself.
“And They Called It Camelot: A Novel of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis”, by Stephanie Marie Thornton, explores the life and character of the former First Lady, using the medium of first-person historical fiction.
Through Jackie’s eyes, we experience the love, struggle, success, and personal loss that she endured through the many years of her life. Spanning her and John’s relationship since his time in the House of Representatives in the early 1950s, through his tenure in the Senate, and later as President of the United States, her story continues on beyond the tragic assassination of her husband, giving a fascinating and intimate view into how Jacqueline Onassis coped with such a traumatic loss, and how she reclaimed herself and her life afterwards to create the legend that she is today.
Thornton’s prose is sharp and tightly written, making it easy to become absorbed in the times of this iconic figure of history. The quality of her research is evident throughout its pages. “And They Called It Camelot” is a welcomed and fresh addition to the Kennedy legacy, and a reminder of the universality and fragility of life.
Our bookstore is fortunate to be able to host author Stephanie Marie Thornton for a book-signing tonight, and we encourage you to explore this wonderful novel for yourself.
Ed Justus is the owner of Talk Story Bookstore in Hanapepe. Yuriko and Ed Justus are Kalaheo residents. Talk Story Bookstore is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 9 p.m. Fridays.