Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Traitor's Wife

by Allison Pataki
Howard Books

A riveting historical novel about Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and mastermind behind America’s most infamous act of treason . . . 

Everyone knows Benedict Arnold—the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British—as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John AndrĂ©, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it. 

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John AndrĂ©. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold. 

Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom.

My Review:

As a girl, I was intrigued by the story of Benedict Arnold. Forever branded a traitor to his countrymen, I often wondered what drove him to betray his neighbors, friends, and family. This piece of fiction really brings into play the possibility of a woman being a major influence in his life; and a plausible explanation as to what drove him to commit treason against a nation. I enjoyed the story from the maid's perspective, and that added to the flow of the story line and plot. 

I am amazed by the depth of skill from this new writer. She weaves a tale that speaks to her knowledge of historical facts and details that make the story so tantalizing and dramatic. The facts alone make for a novel that is absolutely unprecedented; and Pataki takes the particulars and creates a heart-wrenching tale that extraordinary. While I recommend this story to mature readers due to some of the content, this debut novel sings from the pages of a book and becomes a story that will forever burn in your heart. 

This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. 

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