The Secrets of Mary Bowser
by Lois Leveen

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More About The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen

  • ISBN-13: 9780062107909
  • ISBN-10: 0062107909
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • Publish Date: May 2012
  • Page Count: 453

Series: P.S.

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-06-25
  • Reviewer: Staff

Leveen's rich debut is a fictional retelling of the life of Mary El, the tenacious Virginian slave turned spy. Mary was born into bondage, but when her master dies, his daughter Bet, a fierce abolitionist, frees Mary and her family and sends the young woman to school in Philadelphia. There, Mary discovers the pervasiveness of prejudice—even in the North—and begins shuttling slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad, work that tests Mary's courage and ability to function in dangerous situations. But when her mother dies, Mary must return to Virginia to care for her ailing father. As the Civil War approaches, Mary courts and weds Wilson Bowser, and with the help of Bet, poses as an illiterate slave in the house of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, using her photographic memory to relay crucial information to Union forces. Deftly integrating historical research into this gripping tale of adventure, love, and national conflict, Leveen brings Mary to life and evenhandedly reveals the humanity on both sides of America's deadliest war. (May)

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