Sawyer Free Library to Host Author Talk with Emily Franklin: THE LIONESS OF BOSTON

Sawyer Free Library will welcome EMILY FRANKLIN—poet and award-winning author who has appeared in the New York Times and the Boston Globe—for a discussion of her new book THE LIONESS OF BOSTON on Tuesday, May 9 at 6:00 pm. The event will be at the Sawyer Free Library at 21 Main Street in downtown Gloucester. Registration is required at  Please note that space is limited. 

A novel of historical fiction, “The Lioness of Boston” tells about the life of daring visionary Isabella Stewart Gardner, who created an inimitable legacy in American art and transformed the city of Boston itself.   It is a portrait of what society expected a woman’s life to be, shattered by a courageous soul who rebelled and was determined to live on her terms.

A misfit who befriended other outcasts to rise into art and intellectual society, Isabella used her own collections to open the now-famous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

By the time Gardner opened her home as a museum in 1903 — to showcase her collection of old masters, antiques, and objects d’art — she was already well-known for scandalizing Boston’s polite society. But when Isabella first arrived in Boston in 1861, newly married and unsure of herself, she was puzzled by the frosty reception she received from stuffy bluebloods.

At first, she strived to fit in. Then, following tragedy and upper-society rejection, she set out on a new path. 

Franklin describes how Isabella discovers her own outspoken nature and infiltrates the Harvard intellectual world. Then, as she explores the larger world, she meets artists and kindred spirits — Henry James, Oscar Wilde and John Singer Sargent. A worldwide traveler, she attends the first Impressionist exhibit, collects a wide range of paintings and objects, and forges an important relationship with Bernard Berenson, who will become her art dealer/confidante.

Freed by travel, Isabella explores the world of art, ideas,L and letters. From London and Paris to Egypt and Asia, she develops a keen eye for paintings and objects, and meets feminists ready to transform 19th-century thinking in the 20th century. Isabella becomes an eccentric trailblazer, painted by John Singer Sargent in a portrait of daring décolletage, and fond of such stunts as walking a pair of lions in the Boston Public Garden.

Franklin, whose award-winning work has appeared in The New York Times, the Boston Globe, Guernica, JAMA, and numerous literary magazines, has also been featured and read aloud on NPR and was named notable by the Association of Jewish Libraries. A lifelong visitor to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, she lives outside of Boston with her family, including two dogs large enough to be lions.

Click HERE to register.  Space is limited.  Questions, 978-325-5500.

“The Lioness of Boston is a captivating story of a significant woman in Boston’s history who left that city a cultural legacy to last the ages. This beautiful novel will appeal to those who love masterful historical fiction, and stories of triumphant women who leave an indelible mark.” – New York Journal of Books