LOUISA : THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF MRS. ADAMS
by Louisa Thomas
Louisa Catherine Johnson most definitely did not marry for love; that would come later. John Quincy Adams, on the other hand, fell head-over-heels for Louisa and wanted her for his wife. It's odd that he would feel this way, because there was another woman long before Louis showed up and he loved her more, but it didn't work out to what he had planned for the two of them. Considering that Louisa's and John Quincy's courtship was so antagonistic, it's a wonder that they even got married at all.
Louisa was raised quite differently than John Quincy. She was born in London to an American father and a British mother a few months before the Revolutionary War began. Louisa was used to living in opulence, looking pretty, and singing for visitors. John Quincy was taught by his parents to be committed to his country and dedicate himself to public service. Louisa had to learn how to conform, get along with her in-laws (a mercurial task), and to fit in.
Louisa is a terrific book about a quite remarkable lady. Author Louisa Thomas is a masterful biographer. Not really having any knowledge of who she was, by the time you finish reading this riveting work, you will realize that Louisa Adams was an incredible woman in her own right. Because she became America's only foreign born First Lady she had to reinvent herself and create her own identity. Her marriage with John Quincy was difficult, yet there were times that they needed each other through both the worst and the best times. Adversity made her stronger. For many years she has been overlooked as just another Adams. Not anymore. Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams has come out of the shadows.
Very highly recommended.