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Jackie & Me
by Louis Bayard

Published: 2022-06-14T00:0
Hardcover : 352 pages
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Bestselling author Louis Bayard is back with a brilliantly wrought, witty, and sensitive novel about the young Jacqueline Bouvier before she became that Jackie—and about a marriage that almost never happened.

In the spring of 1951, debutante Jacqueline Bouvier, working as the ...

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Introduction

Bestselling author Louis Bayard is back with a brilliantly wrought, witty, and sensitive novel about the young Jacqueline Bouvier before she became that Jackie—and about a marriage that almost never happened.

In the spring of 1951, debutante Jacqueline Bouvier, working as the Inquiring Photographer for the Washington Times-Herald, meets Jack Kennedy, a charming Congressman from a notorious and powerful family, at a party in Washington, DC. Young, rebellious, eager to break free from her mother, Jackie is drawn to the elusive young politician, and soon she and Jack are bantering over secret dinner dates and short work phone calls. Jack, busy with House duties during the week and Senate campaigning on the weekend (as well as his other now-well-known extracurricular activities) convinces his best friend and fixer, Lem Billings, to court Jackie on his behalf. Only gradually does Jackie begin to realize that she is being groomed to be the perfect political wife, whether Jack is interested in settling down or not.

Taking place mostly during the spring and summer before Jack and Jackie’s wedding, and narrated by an older Lem as he looks back at his own relationship with the Kennedys and his role in this complicated marriage, Jackie & Me is a searching story about a young woman of a certain class with narrow options, two people who loved each other, and two people who realized too late that they devoted their lives to Jack at their own expense.

Sharply written, steeped in the era and with witty appearances by members of the extended Kennedy clan, this is Jackie as never before seen, in a story about love, sacrifice, friendship, and betrayal. "All of Louis Bayard’s incredible gifts as a teller of stories we think we already know are on brilliant display here: a captivating setting, unforgettable characters, and an entirely surprising take on a familiar tale. Jackie & Me is riveting, funny, charming, and haunting. He makes it look so easy! I will happily follow Bayard wherever he leads." —Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author of The Nest and Good Company

"I absolutely adore this novel! It’s a testament to Louis Bayard’s remarkable gifts as storyteller how suspenseful it is, given that we already know this story . . . or do we? Full of Bayard’s trademark charm and wit, with prose that sings and a perfect voice, Jackie & Me delighted me from beginning to end." —Angie Kim, author of Miracle Creek

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Excerpt

It’s the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, 1952, and there’s still a late-winter nip in the Virginia air, but Jack always keeps the top down because, by age thirty-four, he knows how dashing his hair looks in high wind. We’re due at Bobby and Ethel’s that night, but Jack instead cuts across Chain Bridge. I shoot him a look, and he says—imagine the offhandedness—that we have an additional passenger. ... view entire excerpt...

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