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September 17, 2023 @ 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

We are extremely excited that Emily Franklin has accepted our invitation to visit us at Graves Library on Sunday, September 17 at 2:00 p.m. in the Community Room.

Ms. Franklin is the author of more than twenty novels and a poetry collection, Tell Me How You Got Here. Her award-winning work has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Guernica, JAMA, and numerous literary magazines as well as long-listed for the London Sunday Times Short Story Award, featured and read aloud on NPR and named notable by the Association of Jewish Libraries. The Lioness of Boston (June 2023) is her latest novel.

A lifelong visitor to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Emily lives outside of Boston with her family including two dogs large enough to be lions.



“Franklin offers a vivid narrative of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s evolution into a pioneering art collector and museum founder. New Yorker Isabella marries wealthy Boston Brahmin Jack Gardner in 1860 at age 19. The straitlaced Jack appreciates his unpredictable wife’s intellect and creativity, though she gets a cold reception from Boston’s well-heeled matrons.

A year later, Isabella considers the “sad magic to being female, a disappearing of the self,” and hopes that motherhood will win her social acceptance and help provide the sense of purpose she craves.

Instead, her only child dies of pneumonia before he turns two, and a subsequent miscarriage leaves her unable to conceive again. During a lengthy stay in Europe, Jack hopes to ease her paralyzing grief. There, she meets Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and other luminaries who encourage her love of learning and passion for the arts. Isabella’s confidence deepens—and her reputation for eccentricity grows—as she begins to acquire artworks for the museum she opens in 1903.

The novel brims with pitch-perfect period details, such as Isabella’s ability to shock New England society merely by wearing blue shoes, and Franklin cannily captures Gardner’s ambition, independence, and quirks. Fans of strong female protagonists and Gilded Age historicals will enjoy this.”  [Publishers Weekly]

We are grateful to our Graves Library Snack Team for providing treats for our program. Doors open at 1:30. Parking is available at the Village Fire Station (North Street) and Consolidated School (School Street).  Copies of the Lioness of Boston will be for sale and signing after the program. Please call the Library for more information 967-2778.


September 17, 2023
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
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Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library @ 18 Maine St, Kennebunkport, ME 04046, USA
18 Maine Street
Kennebunkport, ME 04046 United States
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Mary-Lou Boucouvalas, Library Director
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