Time­less: Love, Mor­gen­thau, and Me

  • Review
By – May 22, 2014

What makes a mar­riage flour­ish? How does love mix with the law? How does a rela­tion­ship work when the two peo­ple in it start out worlds apart?

These and many more intrigu­ing ques­tions are explored by Pulitzer Prize-win­ning journal­ist Lucin­da Franks in this sen­si­tive and col­or­ful lit­er­ary mem­oir. In it she describes — no, dis­sects — her thir­ty-six-year mar­riage to Robert Mor­gen­thau, long­time Man­hat­tan Dis­trict Attor­ney, offer­ing a behind-the-scenes look at both their uncon­ven­tion­al life togeth­er and many of the high-pro­file cas­es he prosecuted.

Franks is a mas­ter at telling the inti­mate sto­ry of the unlike­ly cou­ple. When they met in 1973, she was twen­ty-six, he was fifty-three; she was a self-styled rad­i­cal, raised on protest­ing the Viet­nam War; he was a well-known lawyer, a stal­wart of the very estab­lish­ment Franks was fight­ing against, a World War II vet­er­an, the father of five chil­dren, and a sol­id rep­re­sen­ta­tive of her par­ents’ generation.

Yet they fell in love, and that love grew and blos­somed and has last­ed for the past thir­ty-six years and counting.

How and why their com­plex rela­tion­ship worked is the basis of this touch­ing book, a book that is some­times bru­tal­ly hon­est, often ten­der, always writ­ten in well-craft­ed lan­guage. Franks calls their rela­tion­ship the love of two eccentrics,” and by plumb­ing it with inten­si­ty and can­dor she offers a deeply reveal­ing look at a high-pro­file cou­ple. It is a love sto­ry that’s writ­ten in the form of a mem­oir, but it is nov­el­is­tic in its approach. Franks finds a way to show us how pas­sion and pol­i­tics unit­ed in her mar­riage, and each chap­ter makes us want to know more.

The author of an ear­li­er mem­oir, My Father’s Secret War, Franks is a vet­er­an writer with a well-devel­oped sense of style and a flair all her own. Robert Mor­gen­thau comes to life on these pages, as does the mar­riage that nur­tures and sus­tains them both. 

Lin­da F. Burghardt is a New York-based jour­nal­ist and author who has con­tributed com­men­tary, break­ing news, and fea­tures to major news­pa­pers across the U.S., in addi­tion to hav­ing three non-fic­tion books pub­lished. She writes fre­quent­ly on Jew­ish top­ics and is now serv­ing as Schol­ar-in-Res­i­dence at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al & Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau County.

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