Question: Do you know who Joshua Speed is? It might be easy to forget if you’re not a history buff. He was the best friend of Abraham Lincoln before and after he became President. Speed supported Lincoln throughout his life, even through his bouts of depression and guilt. A new novel explores that relationship has embellished the details somewhat and it’s made for a fascinating read.
Courting Mr. Lincoln, by Louis Bayard, is a speculative fiction book told through the eyes of Speed and Mary Todd, Lincoln’s future wife. The relationship between Speed and Lincoln is already inseparable at the beginning of the novel, but Todd’s is rocky. Lincoln is characterized as shy and awkward, but Todd still develops feelings for him. The relationships Lincoln has between Speed and Todd deepens throughout the book, forcing both narrators to confront their feelings for the future President.
Speed and Lincoln’s relationship has always been a point of speculation, to the point where some have even suggested that Speed was Lincoln’s secret gay lover, though it has never been proven. Lincoln and Speed did share a bed when they were both in law school, but that was common in their time since beds were very expensive.
Bayard’s novel is available now on Amazon.
Featured Image Via Smithsonian Magazine