Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini is back with another enthralling historical novel set during the Civil War era, this time inspired by the life of “a true Union woman as true as steel” who risked everything by caring for Union prisoners of war — and stealing Confederate secrets.

Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, Virginia, and educated by Northern Quakers, Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time. When her native state seceded in April 1861, Van Lew’s convictions compelled her to defy the new Confederate regime. Pledging her loyalty to the Lincoln White House, her courage would never waver, even as her wartime actions threatened not only her reputation, but also her life.

Van Lew’s skills in gathering military intelligence were unparalleled. She helped to construct the Richmond Underground and orchestrated escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison under the guise of humanitarian aid. Her spy ring’s reach was vast, from clerks in the Confederate War and Navy Departments to the very home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Although Van Lew was inducted posthumously into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, the astonishing scope of her achievements has never been widely known. In Chiaverini’s riveting tale of high-stakes espionage, a great heroine of the Civil War finally gets her due.
 
Kindle Edition, 368 pages

Published October 1st 2013 by Dutton Adult (first published January 1st 2013) 
arc - netgalley
*** 
An interesting book about Elizabeth Van Lew taking place during the Civil War.  
Loyal to the Union she created a network of spy's in Richmond. 
Though I liked learning about Lizzie and her efforts during this time period
 this book felt somewhat flat to me.  I think some depth to her characters
 would have been beneficial.  Also at times this book had a textbook feel, reminisce 
of a history lesson rather than a novel.
The author definitely knows her history here as some of the scenes and historical 
details reflect this. 

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