Wife of the great naturalist John James Audubon, Lucy Bakewell Audubon (1788-1874) was a powerful and extraordinary woman who coped resourcefully with the demands of a difficult situation and worked tirelessly to aid her husband in his landmark work. In Lucy Audubon: A Biography, Carolyn E. DeLatte focuses on the early life of Lucy Audubon: her birth in England and youth in eastern Pennsylvania, her courtship and marriage to the eccentric young Audubon, their wanderings along the western fringe of the country, the birth of their children, and the preparation and publication of The Birds of America.
Throughout, DeLatte emphasizes Lucy Audubon's own experiences, concerns, and point of view. She tells of Lucy's often stormy relationship with her brilliant but unreliable husband, her place at the head of their small family, and her crucial role in the creation and publication of her husband's magnum opus. Intelligent, adaptable, and strong-willed, Lucy was, DeLatte shows, the partner Audubon needed for his life and for his work. As noted Audubon expert Christoph Irmscher says in his foreword, "When [DeLatte] slips into her character's skin, she does so unobtrusively and to great effect – thus, we are right there with Lucy."
"Lucy was, in DeLatte's words, 'extraordinarily independent'. She was no feminist [...] Yet Lucy Bakewell Audubon had one advantage over many other women of her time: she knew precisely what she wanted. As often happens to good biographers, DeLatte herself seems to take on some of her subject's characteristics as her biography progresses. Modestly but firmly, she turns her book into a plea for Lucy Audubon, an entirely unapologetic one, though."
– Christopher Irmscher, from his Foreword