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Category: Mark Twain

Mark Twain…a hopeful romantic?

The author Mark Twain is best remembered for his satire and his scathing observations on human nature.  But there was another side to the man, Samuel Clemens…a romantic one.

At age 32, Sam returned from a successful trip abroad with a new friend, Charles Langdon, who invited Sam to an outing with his family. It was late December 1867 when Sam joined the Langdons at Steinway Hall in New York City to hear Charles Dickens read from David Copperfield. The reading didn’t impress Sam, but the young woman he met certainly did.

“It made the fortune of my life–not in dollar, I am not thinking in dollars; it made the real fortune of my life in that it made the happiness of my life.”

samuel clemens
Photos courtesy of the Mark Twain House & Museum

At first, happiness wasn’t certain. With typical spontaneity, Sam popped the question soon after the first date. Livy turned him down. Crushed, though not defeated, he penned a respectful, yet ardent, letter, the first of many in their two-year courtship. Here’s an excerpt from that letter, in which he claims to accept her refusal and addresses her as “honored sister.”

For once, at least, in the idle years that have drifted over me, I have seen the world all beautiful, & known what it was to hope. For once I have known what it was to feel my sluggish pulses stir with a living ambition. The world that was so beautiful, is dark again; the hope that shone as the sun, is gone; the brave ambition is dead. Yet I say again, it is better for me that I have loved & do love you; that with more than Eastern devotion I worship you; that I lay down all of my life that is worth the living, upon this hopeless altar where no fires of love shall descend to consume it. If you could but—

from Samuel Clemens early Letter to Olivia Langdon

He goes on to profess friendship, but he more or less begs her to open her heart and give him a chance. She does, and after two years and many more letters, finally admits to loving him, but adds that she hopes it will pass! Sam, undaunted, redoubles his efforts until his determination pays off. Triumphant, he writes to share the news in a letter to his friend.

Refused three times—warned to quit, once—accepted at last!—& beloved!— … Oh, no—there isn’t any persistence about me—certainly not. But I am so happy I want to scalp somebody.

from Samuel Clemens letter to Joseph Twichell

By all accounts, Livy adored her husband until the day of her death in 1904. This poignant recollection from Twain’s autobiography gives some insight into one of the reasons Sam loved his Livy so faithfully and passionately.

She poured out her prodigal affection in kisses and caresses, and in a vocabulary of endearments whose profusion was always an astonishment to me.

Mark Twain Autobiography

Romance & Mark Twain

Recently, I was featured on a virtual spotlight program at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, CT. Museum Director of Interpretation Rebecca Floyd spoke with me about my fascination with Mark Twain and his iconic characters, and the inspiration behind two historical novels that explore what might have happened to Tom and Huck after they grew up.

You can access a link to watch the interview here

Tom Sawyer Returns also recently advanced as a Finalist in the Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBAs).

Next month, I’ll be sharing fun historical facts behind my new release, Lawless Hearts, the final and most exciting installment in the Steam! Romance & Rails series.

E.E. Burke

*Photos and letters courtesy of the Mark Twain House & Museum. Special thanks to Rebecca Floyd, Director of Interpretation, for her assistance with these articles.

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Romancing Mark Twain

 

When I first sat down to write Tom Sawyer Returns and Taming Huck Finn, I didn’t imagine I would one day be invited to share these stories in the home where Mark Twain penned his original tales.

On Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. Eastern, the Mark Twain House & Museum will present a virtual Valentine’s program, Romancing Mark Twain, and they’ll be featuring my novels. Folks, I am seriously on Cloud Nine!

Through the technological wonder of Crowdcast, I’ll join Director of Interpretation Rebecca Lloyd in a LIVE online discussion about my lifetime love for America’s greatest storyteller, and what drew me to the idea of giving Tom and Huck their own love stories, as well thrilling new adventures.

Better yet…you, dear reader, can join me from the comfort of your own home. You can watch the program online, and, if you’d like, participate in the Q&A.

I can hardly wait! Hope to see you there.

Get your FREE digital tickets at the Mark Twain House & Museum’s online event page: https://bit.ly/RomancingMarkTwain

Chanticleer Reviews gives Tom Sawyer Returns 5 stars/Best Book rating

“Tom Sawyer Returns delivers a Civil War era thriller worthy of its leading characters. Highly recommended!” – Chanticleer Reviews

Full Review

Tom Sawyer Returns is the second book in The New Adventures series by author E.E. Burke.

Readers join a now grown up and far more independent Becky Thatcher as she maneuvers her complicated life in Civil War era Mississippi. Tom has long since left, and Becky is engaged to Union Captain Alfred Temple, who offers her all the safety and security she needs in such uncertain times. But does she love him? Actually love him?

Becky soon discovers that her heart may have other plans.

When an injured Tom Sawyer bursts through her door and collapses onto the kitchen floor, Becky and her father – Judge Thatcher – take him in, care for him, and find out that he may have stumbled into the house for reasons more than the simple rekindling of a lost flame. With Judge Thatcher caught up in a twisted ploy posed by the rebels, Becky must partner up with Tom in order to save her father. But with Tom’s memories nowhere to be found, and his aptitude for ending up smack dab in the middle of trouble, the two find themselves venturing down a twisting road of discovery, mystery, and uncertainty.

Set in a divided world rife with danger and history, E.E. Burke takes characters so close to the heart of Americana and gives them new life.

Fans of Mark Twain’s original work will appreciate the attention to detail and the care in which the story is crafted, paying homage to the original tales of Tom Sawyer and his wild adventures. But this continuation sees a deeper, more intimate portrait of Becky Thatcher – a girl grown into a woman, who’s come into her own confidence and whose sharp mind sees her through many perilous situations.

While the title of the book may be Tom Sawyer Returns, don’t let that fool you – Becky Thatcher is the heart of this book, the backbone, the brains.

Both her and Tom have grown significantly since their childhood days, and Burke expertly takes two kids written nearly 150 years ago and turns them into adults whose life experiences have been shaped by the Civil War; two individuals who are fiercely independent, yet whose attitudes and opinions have been molded by the world they live in. They jump off the page as not simply characters, but as fully realized people. People with complexities, fears, and failures.

Not only does Tom Sawyer Returns take the reader on an adventurous ride filled with plots and ploys, but it also provides a beautiful romance that blooms amidst the thorns of trouble.

E.E. Burke writes with a balance of delicacy and sharpness, showing the true nature of love – that it is something tangled and complicated. As the reader follows Becky and Tom, they’re never made to doubt the pair’s attraction, but to instead find comfort knowing that while their combined history may complicate their feelings for each other, love will still prevail in end. As it always does, and as it always will continue to do.

Tom Sawyer Returns comes in as a 5-star Readers’ Favorite

Tom Sawyer Returns by E.E. Burke was a wonderful reuniting of Tom and Becky Thatcher. I was hooked from the first word until the very last. There were so many things going on at once and I kept changing my mind about who was the good guy and who was bad, though I have to admit I couldn’t help but root for Tom. I love the style in which E.E. Burke told the story of a grown-up Tom and Becky. The story brought back happy hours of my youthful reading and presented a new Tom and Becky for me to enjoy in my older years. Tom Sawyer Returns is a wonderful book for young and old, male and female. This is a top-notch book that deserves lots of praise. ~ Trudi LoPreto for Readers’ Favorite

 

As we roll into a new year, I want to say “thank you!”  I think all of you deserve a 5-star rating for being the best readers in the world.

E.E. Burke

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