"A fictionalized portrait of Abraham Lincoln during a crucially revealing period of his life, the early Springfield years, when he risked both his sanity and his ethical bearings as he searched for the great destiny he believed to be his."
“A Friend of Mr. Lincoln is a novel of real rewards. Not least among them is Harrigan’s ability to vividly and economically evoke his vanished world, as in this description of a path encountered on the Illinois prairie: 'It was a road that seemed almost arbitrary in this featureless immensity, as if someone had tried to carve a route through the curving vault of heaven.'
Even if Harrigan clips a bit off the wings of Lincoln’s better angels, he also offers us a powerful glimpse into what the great man liked to call his 'real life.' In doing so, he provides us with a rumbling, rambunctious novel, full of its own raw life.
...the book crackles when dealing with young love and romance, both Lincoln’s tortured romance with Mary Todd and Cage’s arrangement with a young seamstress named Ellen. Harrigan has a true gift for crafting female characters that navigate the constraints of their time with a stubborn deftness ... Meticulously researched, gorgeously rendered, A Friend of Mr. Lincoln is a powerful historical novel of friendship, love and ambition.