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Emily Franklin, "The Lioness of Boston" in conversation with Kara Sundlun

Imagining the Life of Isabella Stewart Gardner:

An Evening with Emily Franklin


The Lioness of Boston book cover

A deeply evocative and imaginative portrayal of the life of Isabella Stewart Gardner, the daring trailblazer for women everywhere. Her vision not only created an inimitable legacy in American art but also transformed a city.

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 was determined to live on her own terms.

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, Boston Globe, Guernica, JAMA, and numerous literary magazines as well as featured and read aloud on NPR and named notable by the Association of Jewish Libraries. A lifelong visitor to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, she lives outside of Boston with her family including two dogs large enough to be lions.

Emily Franklin

Kara Sundlun is a three-time Emmy-award winning journalist. You can catch her live every weekday as the co-host of Great Day Connecticut with Scot Haney at 3 p.m. on Channel 3. She is also Chief Digital Anchor bringing you breaking news as it happens on air and on WFSB-Plus as she anchors Eyewitness News at Noon and the Afternoon Rush at 4 o’clock. Kara lives in Hartford where you'll often see her at charity events trying raise money for local causes. She sits on the board of Dress For Success Hartford and the Denise D’Ascenzo Foundation. She is married to fellow journalist Dennis House, and they are proud parents of Helena and Julian.

Kara Sundlun
Event Date: 
Tuesday, December 12, 2023 - 6:30pm EST
Event address: 
RJ Julia Booksellers
768 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
The Lioness of Boston By Emily Franklin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781567927405
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: David R. Godine Publisher - April 11th, 2023