A few years back, I picked up a copy of a fun book called THE SECRET LIVES OF THE U.S. PRESIDENTS and its companion book, THE SECRET LIVES OF THE FIRST LADIES. Being a New Hampshire boy, I flipped to the only President from Granite State: Franklin Pierce. I didn't realize that he is widely considered to be a failed president. It took New Hampshire SIXTY YEARS to put up a statue in his honor. Some of the blame for his shortcomings was laid at the feet of his wife, Jane Means Appleton Pierce. The two of them met, courted, and got married in my hometown of Amherst, N.H., right across the historic town green from my family's home. I couldn't believe when I read that Jane Pierce had spent the first two years of her husband's presidency squirreled away in the White House, avoiding the public and writing letters to her dead children. I became obsessed and started an odyssey to learn more about this dark and grief-stricken woman. Instead of being a morose, shrew of a person, I found her to be very much misunderstood. Most people have never heard of her and likely, if they have, don't know much. I learned to have deep affection for this complicated woman. I hope you will, too.