Everyone knows Benedict Arnold--the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British--as history's most notorious turncoat. Read more...
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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 Andre, 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 Andre. 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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-11-25
- Reviewer: Staff
Through the eyes of a fictional lady’s maid, the historical figures of Peggy Arnold and her husband, Benedict—yes, the traitor—come to life in this debut historical novel by the daughter of New York’s former governor, George Pataki. While the general’s name is now synonymous with betrayal, little has been written about his much younger wife. Her servant, Clara, becomes an unwitting and unwilling witness to Peggy’s conniving flirtations with British soldiers and spies, her seduction of the general, and her instigation of his eventual treason. Pataki smoothly weaves intrigue and personality with critical historical facts. The phases of Peggy’s and Clara’s relationship mirror the class differences and rising tensions of the revolutionary era. Clara and her fellow servants, who embody the spirit of the everyday patriot citizen, are written with detail and depth. Historical fiction lovers will look forward to more from this promising new novelist. Agent: Lacy Lynch, Dupree Miller & Associates. (Feb.)