Welcome to my stop on Mercedes King's Virtual Book Tour for O! Jackie. Please make sure to leave a comment or question below for Mercedes to let her know you stopped by. You can enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.
by Mercedes King
Publisher: Triumph Productions (ebook)
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Despite her poise and graceful smile, Jackie Kennedy’s life was far from perfect. Behind closed doors, Jackie struggled with bouts of depression, endured a heartbreaking road to motherhood, and had difficult relationships with those closest to her. Ravaged by insecurities and humiliation, she even wrestled her own temptations for both other men and divorce. But Jackie clung to the belief that she could make JFK abandon his wandering ways. Through the years, though, Jack Kennedy’s lustful escapades grew in carelessness and frequency, and most needling for Jackie were his trysts with Marilyn Monroe. When Marilyn becomes erratic and unstable, Jackie must decide how far she will go to protect the presidency and to save her marriage.
Ours was a complicated history. We were both so complex, so set in our ways, and worst of all, we were the product of our parents, though we vowed not to resemble them. And when two strong and independent people are united¾ with domineering and opinionated parents behind them¾ such a couple may spend their lives trying not to tear each other apart.
Despite everything that’s happened, I feel no regrets. Yet there are times when the enormity of one’s choices is difficult to bear. You struggle to hold on to a shred of sanity. Sometimes you pacify yourself. Other times you live in delusion. Sometimes you simply fail to hold it all together.
Since becoming the senator’s wife, Jackie had faced a difficult adjustment. Jack traveled extensively, but the loneliness was tolerable. He regularly brought home a parade of friends and aides, unannounced, but she grew accustomed to the in-house crowd. Frequent moves were taxing but doable, the whirlwind lifestyle demanding but manageable. What drained and anguished her most was Jack’s family.
The Kennedy clan was loud, rambunctious and numerous. They preferred heated debates at the dinner table and rough games afterward. Jack thrived on his family’s presence and basked in their company.
Jackie’s quiet nature and polished manners made her transition into the family awkward. An introvert, she received lackluster attention from Jack’s sisters. Some Kennedy women interpreted her shyness as a snub.
Somehow, the couple would need to create a balance as they meshed their different worlds.
For now, she dismissed thoughts of her in-laws and picked up her pace. After all, she could be spontaneous. Jack would be pleased, she reminded herself. That made Jackie all the more eager to see her husband.
After working her way through the Senate Office Building toward Jack’s office, Jackie found that his secretary was away from her desk. As she glanced around, she suddenly heard giggles from behind office door No. 326. Puzzled, she decided to let herself in, with only a gentle knock to broadcast her entry.
“Surprise, darling…,” she began.
And was he ever.
Jack sat in his chair behind the desk. A beautiful young woman was between Jack and his desk, buttoning her blouse. Her cheeks flushed, and she fumbled as strands of her blond hair kept falling in her way.
Jack nearly sent sparks flying as he zipped his pants.
The young woman hopped off the desk and straightened her skirt. She avoided looking at Jackie as she made a beeline for the door. Then she paused, as if her escape was interrupted by programming, and asked Jack, “Is there anything I can get you?” An obnoxious wave of her perfume stung Jackie’s nose.
Jack shook his head and scowled at her. He stood and went to his wife, who had not taken her eyes off him since entering the room.
“Jackie. Wh-What are you doing here?” He forced a weak grin.
Jackie didn’t answer. Didn’t blink.
Jack’s smile widened and he reached to embrace her. He was stopped by a gloved but sharp slap on the cheek.
Jackie gasped, bewildered by her own action. Jack stared at her, his face awash with disbelief. As the shock slowly faded, he gave her a look that warned her not to do it again.
“Jackie, it’s not what you think,” he lied. His natural, winsome smile appeared and he batted those heavily-lidded eyes. “She’s just some intern or aide. Meaningless.”
“Meaningless to you, perhaps. But if you found me tangled in the arms of another man, would that be meaningless to you, Jack Kennedy?”
Jack sidestepped that verbal trap.
“Don’t be upset, Jackie. You should’ve telephoned and let me know you were coming.”
Jack held his wife in his gaze. He expected his charm to put her at ease. It was one of the best weapons in his manly arsenal, and it served him well with the ladies.
Shouldering the shame that should have been her husband’s, Jackie averted her eyes. She huffed and turned to leave.
Jack held the door shut as she grabbed for the handle.
“Don’t leave like this,” he said. “There’s no need for a scene. Just calm down a minute. Let me take you to lunch.”
Jackie flashed him a look of disgust. Would she ever be able to eat again?
He placed his hand on her arm, but Jackie swiped it away as if his palm was laced with disease. Surprised, Jack rocked back on his heels and lost his hold of the door.
“Don’t touch me!” Jackie snapped before darting out of the room. She fought back the tears swelling in her eyes.
I'll be honest, I wanted to read and review this book because I've never really understood this country's fascination and love for what many refer to as the "Camelot" period in American politics. I was born just months before the assassination of John F. Kennedy but I grew up hearing about "Jackie" and everything taking place in her life post "Jack". While O! Jackie by Mercedes King is a fictional retelling of Jackie's life and proposes several interesting "what ifs", it's Ms. King's voice as an author that captured my attention. Her voice, more than anything else gave me insight and provided me with understanding into why Jackie Kennedy is and will continue to be relevant to women. Ms. King's Jackie is a woman I could identify, sympathize and feel triumph with.
This story begins shortly after the death of Jackie Kennedy with her son John Jr. going through her belongings a couple of days before they were to be auctioned off. He and his sister, Caroline, had already chosen the items they wanted to keep for themselves but going through his mother's items a second time gave John a chance to spend a few more hours among his mother's things. When John discovers a locked case hidden under several other items, he forces the lock open to discover his mother's hidden journal. A journal telling the story of her life, her thoughts and all of the events which took place during her years in the White House.
Part confession, part reflection Jackie's journal contains insight into a marriage she never planned, a political life she didn't want and the family, her children, she desperately loved. Ms. King does an excellent job relating a Jackie few ever got to see; the real woman underneath who felt loneliness, sorrow, rejection and a lot of emotional pain but who managed to convey an outward appearance of contentment, grace and poise. A woman many truly admired.
We see Jack Kennedy for the man he was, an unfaithful husband who never apologized for his mistakes or betrayals. We see how Jackie is forced over, and over again to face his sexual weakness and take on his shame. While I have never understood a woman who stays with a cheater, or admired one, Ms. King's portrayal of Jackie shows us a woman who was taught that outward appearance, and keeping one's personal problems secret, was more important than life itself. We also meet Jack's family, a group of people Jackie would never really understand or learn to care for.
So what really happened during the Camelot years in the White House? And what or who was really behind Marilyn Monroe's death? Read O'Jackie to get an interesting take on what could have happened. I enjoyed it and hope Ms. King gives us more about Jackie's life after Jack's death.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Crowns
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.
A founding member of Sisters in Crime Columbus, Ohio, Mercedes King is an active member and past president. She graduated from Capital University with a degree in Criminology, and since then has been crafting stories with a scandalous flair. A born and bred Buckeye, she writes in a variety of genres and is hard at work on her next novel.
Web site: OJackiebook.com
Remaining Tour Stops:
February 26 - Manhattan Reader - Review
February 27 - Celtic Lady Reviews - Review
February 28 - Keeping Up With the Rheinlanders - Review/Guest Post
March 1 - RABT Reviews - Review