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THE LIONESS OF BOSTON
Join us on Tuesday, July 18 at 6:15pm for a special event featuring Emily Franklin, author of The Lioness of Boston. Emily will be in conversation with Melissa Coleman, author of the memoir, This Life Is in Your Hands.
By the time Isabella Stewart Gardner opened her Italian palazzo-style home as a museum in 1903 to showcase her collection of old masters, antiques, and objects d’art, she was already well-known for scandalizing Boston’s polite society. But when Isabella first arrived in Boston in 1861, she was twenty years old, newly married to a wealthy trader, and unsure of herself. Puzzled by the frosty reception she received from stuffy bluebloods, she strived to fit in. After two devastating tragedies and rejection from upper-society, Isabella discovered her spirit and cast off expectations. Freed by travel, Isabella explores the world of art, ideas, and letters, meeting such kindred spirits as Henry James and Oscar Wilde. From London and Paris to Egypt and Asia, she develops a keen eye for paintings and objects, and meets feminists ready to transform nineteenth century thinking in the twentieth century. Isabella becomes an eccentric trailblazer, painted by John Singer Sargent in a portrait of daring décolletage, and fond of such stunts as walking a pair of lions in the Boston Public Garden.The Lioness of Boston is a portrait of what society expected a woman’s life to be, shattered by a courageous soul who rebelled and determined to live on her own terms.
A lifelong visitor to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Emily Franklin is the author of more than twenty novels and a poetry collection, Tell Me How You Got Here. Her award-winning work has appeared in the New York Times, The Boston Globe, Guernica, JAMA, and numerous literary magazines. She has been featured on NPR and named notable by the Association of Jewish Libraries. Franklin lives outside of Boston with her family, including two dogs large enough to be lions.
Melissa Coleman is a freelance travel writer and the author of the memoir, This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family’s Heartbreak, a New York Times bestseller, Indie Next Pick, People Magazine People’s Pick, and nonfiction finalist for the Maine Literary and New England Book awards. A window into the 1970s back-to-the-land movement, it tells of the joys, challenges, and a family tragedy experienced while growing up on an off-the-grid homestead inspired by self-sufficiency icons Helen and Scott Nearing. Melissa’s writing has also appeared in anthologies and publications including the New York Times, The Boston Globe, National Geographic Traveler, Travel Weekly, O Magazine, The Oregonian, Conde Nast Traveler, and Everett Potter’s Travel Report.