Abe & Ann: A Novel


Before Abraham Lincoln was a bearded wise man saving democracy, he was young, timid, and hopelessly in love…


Abe and Ann is a novel based on the true story of Abraham Lincoln’s little-known  romance in his twenties. Auburn-haired Ann Rutledge, feisty and fed-up with propriety, is frontier royalty, the 18-year-old daughter of the founder of the rough little frontier village where the 22-year-old Abe Lincoln comes looking for work. She is lively and literate and funny, and Abe is straight off his daddy’s farm with jug ears and one change of clothes.


Homely and poor, but full of high ambition, the young Lincoln courts the dazzling red-haired woman who comes into his life like a revelation. In the spell of their feelings, the lovers question the limits in their lives and boldly dream a better future. But she is engaged to another man. 

Readers who enjoyed Doris Kearns Goodwin’s bestselling Lincoln book Team of Rivals, Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster film Lincoln, and George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo will marvel again at this very different and compelling tale of Lincoln as a young man.   

Abe and Ann dares to give readers an earnest but untutored Lincoln whose humanity every reader can share, who was weak before he was strong, frightened before he was bold, and deeply in love with a woman who despite their passionate encounters would never be his… or would she? 

Gary Moore on Abe and Ann: “To me, the real story of Lincoln’s romance with Ann Rutledge is a wonder tale, so that’s how I tried to tell it, rich in reality and rich in wonder.  Abe and Ann is a poetic novel, not a grand historical production, not an epic but a ballad.  The story is as authentic as my thirty-some years of Lincoln study could help me make it, but I also wanted to give readers the feelings of destiny and enchantment that Abe and Ann must have felt.”



"This lyrical novel of the young Lincoln in love not only kept me turning the pages until the wee hours of the night, it also grabbed me as all the best stories do, less a tapestry of a particular time than a universal story of what it means to love and to lose. Gary Moore has written a moving tribute to how the most intimate of experiences can forever change us, and sometimes change the world."

—Thomas Christopher Greene, author of The Headmaster’s Wife and If I Forget You