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Undiscovered Country

Undiscovered Country, March 2018
by Kelly O'Connor McNees

Pegasus Books
Featuring: Eleanor Roosevelt; Lorena Hickok
336 pages
ISBN: 1681776790
EAN: 9781681776798
Kindle: B074D4PFCY
Hardcover / e-Book
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"UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY is one of those books that will stay with me"

Fresh Fiction Review

Undiscovered Country
Kelly O'Connor McNees

Reviewed by Magdalena Johansson
Posted March 7, 2018


UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY is actually the third fictional account I have read about Lorena "Hick" Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt. And, I would, without any problems, read at least three more. I find both women fascinating to read about and I like reading new books that take a different look at their relationship.

The story in UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY takes place at the beginning of the 1930s when FDR is campaigning to be president. Hick is trying her hardest to get an interview with his wife and after some failed attempts finally manages to get Eleanor to sit down with her. And, that is the start of a love story that for a short time blossoms until the hard reality sets in.

I found the book fascinating to read from the very start. The story takes some liberties of course since one can only speculate about their relationship. However, letters that they wrote to each other are preserved and they point to a very deep relationship.

One thing that I think Kelly O'Connor McNees really manages to convey was how many sacrifices both Hick and Eleanor had to make. Hick had to choose between her job as a journalist and her relationship with Eleanor. Eleanor also had some hard choices to make after FDR became president. As the First Lady, she had the power to make changes, but at a personal cost.

Another thing that I really loved about the book was the creation of the town of Arthurdale. How Hick and Eleanor dreamed about creating a town where coal miners and their families could live in real houses instead of in tents. A fantastic project that unfortunately led to the end of their relationship as it was.

UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY is one of those books that will stay with me. The writing is beautiful and the characters really came to life. This is a book that I warmly recommend to people that love to read biographical fiction!

Learn more about Undiscovered Country


An extraordinary novel portraying one of the greatest untold love stories in American politics.

In 1932, New York City, top reporter Lorena “Hick” Hickok starts each day with a front page byline—and finishes it swigging bourbon and planning her next big scoop.

But an assignment to cover FDR’s campaign—and write a feature on his wife, Eleanor—turns Hick’s hard-won independent life on its ear. Soon her work, and the secret entanglement with the new first lady, will take her from New York and Washington to Scotts Run, West Virginia, where impoverished coal miners’ families wait in fear that the New Deal’s promised hope will pass them by. Together, Eleanor and Hick imagine how the new town of Arthurdale could change the fate of hundreds of lives. But doing what is right does not come cheap, and Hick will pay in ways she never could have imagined.

Undiscovered Country artfully mixes fact and fiction to portray the intense relationship between this unlikely pair. Inspired by the historical record, including the more than three thousand letters Hick and Eleanor exchanged over a span of thirty years, McNees tells this story through Hick’s tough, tender, and unforgettable voice. A remarkable portrait of Depression-era America, this novel tells the poignant story of how a love that was forced to remain hidden nevertheless changed history.

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