John Adams was “nothing but a lawyer” when Abigail Smith married him, but he was determined to be the best lawyer he could be.
Early on, John spent weeks “riding circuit” while “Nabby” took care of house, farm, and family.
Those Who Love by Irving Stone
Doubleday, 1965. 647 pages. 1965 bestseller #6. My grade A-.
As John rose professionally, even more of the couple’s lives were lived apart. Fortunately for us, both were prolific writers of letters and journals.
By careful selection and judicious updating of the 18th century language, Irving Stone transformed their words into a novel that rings true today.
Since Stone published his novel about the Adams family, their lives were chronicled on stage and on television. Those productions may have rendered the general outline of their lives familiar, making Stone’s nuanced novel all the more appealing.
Stone relates Those Who Love primarily from Abigail’s perspective, revealing the bread and butter aspects of the long struggle to build a nation.
That vantage point allows Stone to downplay the partisanship and animosities almost split America in the days of Adams, Tom Jefferson, and Ben Franklin.
Reading Those Who Love may give us hope that statesmen may arise to pull together our own divided national government.
©2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni
The portrait of Abigail Adams is from the National First Ladies Library. It was painted by an unknown artist at the time of her wedding. The portrait of John Adams by Asher Brown Durand was released by the United States Navy with the ID 031029-N-6236G-001. Both works are in the public domain.