Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Book Review: And They Called It Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton

Pages: 448
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: March 10, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "Few of us can claim to be the authors of our fate. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy knows no other choice. With the eyes of the world watching, Jackie uses her effortless charm and keen intelligence to carve a place for herself among the men of history and weave a fairy tale for the American people, embodying a senator’s wife, a devoted mother, a First Lady—a queen in her own right.  But all reigns must come to an end. Once JFK travels to Dallas and the clock ticks down those thousand days of magic in Camelot, Jackie is forced to pick up the ruined fragments of her life and forge herself into a new identity that is all her own, that of an American legend."

Readers know what happens to President John F. Kennedy on that infamous day in November, but Thornton takes us back even further to Jackie before Jack.  After we are reminded of Kennedy's assassination, readers are then transported to Jackie when she is working as a photographer for the Washington Times Herald and dating a stockbroker.  While attending dinner at a friend's house, she meets John F. Kennedy.  She knows all about his reputation and the fact that she probably shouldn't give him the time of the day, but she can't help but be intrigued. Things get more serious when he starts pursuing her and Jackie succumbs to his boyish charms.  However, Jackie isn't just some vapid woman in search of a husband. She wants more for herself and she knows that she has a good head on her shoulders.  She helps Jack countless times in so many ways throughout their relationship, such as, helping him write his award winning book, recover from surgery, translate important documents, charm the Paris crowds,......you name it, she did it and did it very well.  Thornton takes us on the wild ride of Jackie's life through the time that she dated Jack all the way to her second marriage to Aristotle Onassis.  Through it all, she remains an inspirational person despite all the tragedy in her life.  Fans of the Kennedy family as well as historical fiction will appreciate And They Called it Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton. It's going down as one of my favorite historical novels of the year.

I have read a few books about Jackie's life, but Thornton takes it to a whole other level in And They Called it Camelot.  She brings Jackie to life so well that it almost feels like a behind the scenes glimpse into her life.  Jackie isn't just a smart girl who dresses well; she is so much more and Thornton truly made her so compelling.  I love learning more about her ability to speak many languages and in turn, help Jack with translating things.  I also appreciated her interest in fashion, renovating the White House, and supporting Jack on the road during elections.  But Jackie can't escape tragedy; Jackie is faced with so adversity right alongside the Kennedy family. Nonetheless, I found her to be inspirational, because despite all she faced, she never gave up. She kept going.

It's sort of hard to believe that so much tragedy could occur to one family, but we all know it's true.  It was absolutely heart-wrenching at certain points in And They Called it Camelot.  Despite the fact that Kennedys have money and power, they weren't immune to health issues, death, and infertility issues.  It was heartbreaking at times, but you have to respect a group of people that keep getting up after they fall.   I also appreciated how Thornton depicted the Kennedy family and their "Camelot."  Kennedy fans will thoroughly enjoy her portrayal of all the members of the famous family. I wanted to jump into the pages and spend more time with them long after I finished the novel.

Readers can really tell that Thornton meticulously researched the Kennedys and the time period in And They Called it Camelot.  None of it felt inauthentic; in fact, it felt like the pages of a history book were coming to live in the most fascinating way.  I've read many fictionalized books about the Kennedys and I have to say, this is one of my favorites.  Historical fiction fans, you won't want to miss this one!


  1. I am always up for a story about the Kennedys, Jackie in particular - she was such a fascinating woman!

    1. I agree. I love stories involving her. I think you'd like this book for sure! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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