Author: Kate Andersen Brower
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: Fascinating and easily readable narrative nonfiction, perfect for fans of the genre or of Downton Abbey.
“America’s First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the President and First Family. ” (source)
This is one of those reads that was so much exactly what I wanted to read when I picked it up, that I almost feel biased reviewing it. I’ve been loving good narrative nonfiction lately and this was some awesome narrative nonfiction. The author did an amazing job telling a stories that brought the staff to life and gave fascinating insights into the lives of the presidents and families they served. She integrated quotes into the story so they flowed well. I also particularly appreciated that she often shared quotes from people who had opposite perspectives. When an author does this, it makes them feel more trustworthy. It made me believe that this author was giving us a story largely unbiased by her own opinions.
Although White House staff are generally discrete, the author learned some very juicy details. These bits definitely held my interest, but what truly made this book difficult to put down was the author’s ability to bring to life more quotidian events and her organization of the book, putting the presidents’ daily lives into a larger context. I love when nonfiction that focuses on a small topic uses it to teach me about historical context as well. I also love nonfiction that I think could bring in readers who don’t usually pick up nonfiction because it relates to another genre or interest. With this one, it is created for Downton Abbey fans. There are intrigues above and below stairs, widely varying interactions between different staff members and different presidents, and crazy amounts of pampering for the first families. So, in addition to recommending this to other lovers of narrative nonfiction on any topic, I’d highly recommend this to fans of the show.
Are there any nonfiction books you’ve read that you think would be perfect for drawing in readers with particular interests? Or who are typically fans of another genre?
For some other perspectives, be sure check out the other stops on the tour.