Tina Jordan
December 04, 2013 AT 05:00 AM EST

Book of Ages

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jill Lepore
publisher
Knopf
genre
Biography

We gave it an A

Benjamin Franklin and his sister Jane were the babies of the family, sharp-witted and saucy. He apprenticed to a printer and she to a life of drudgery, marrying at 15 and losing herself in childbearing, sewing, scrubbing, soap making, and cooking. What little we know of her comes from the tender letters she wrote to her brother, to whom she remained close, and from her homemade ”Book of Age’s,” a family record. As she stitches together Jane’s story, in Book of Ages, Lepore gives us a side of Benjamin Franklin we have never seen — and an evocative look at what life was like for most 18th-century women (in a word: awful). A

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