A couple of months ago another librarian asked if I'd heard of the new novel about Laura Bush, and though it wasn't on my radar, I'm glad it was brought to my attention. The time spent reading this book has been purely enjoyable. Sittenfeld, in her acknowledgments, notes that she drew inspiration from The Perfect Wife: The Life and Choices of Laura Bush, by Ann Gerhart.
Part of what made this story so compelling was that its set largely in Wisconsin. Names and places are familiar and a strong sense of nostalgia is present too. Sittenfeld gets Wisconsin right; for example, an old fashioned cocktail, it goes without saying, is made with brandy rather than whiskey here.
American Wife is written as a memoir, told by the first lady, Alice Blackwell, and, rather than chapters, it's told in four parts, each a significant part of Alice's life. There is a life-changing accident in high school where a classmate is killed in a car accident, friendships are gained and lost, and of course, there is the first meeting of Alice and Charlie Blackwell, their ensuing romance and then married lives while campaigning first for governor of Wisconsin and later President of the United States. Check catalog for availability.