The Spymistress    -     By: Jennifer Chiaverini
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The Spymistress

Dutton Books / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Description

Born into southern aristocracy yet loyal to Lincoln, Elizabeth Van Lew had an innate skill for gathering military intelligence during the Civil War. Her covert spy ring was vast and her methods ingenious, but what did it ultimately cost her? Meticulously researched, Chiaverini's historical novel reveals Elizabeth's riveting story---of espionage, danger, and bravery!

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 368
Vendor: Dutton Books
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8 X 5 (inches)
ISBN-13: 9780142180884
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

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.

Author Bio

JENNIFER CHIAVERINI is the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series and Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker. A graduate of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and two sons.
 

Editorial Reviews

“History—and its colorful characters—come alive.” –USA Today

“Required Reading . . . The story of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and Lizzie Keckley, a former slave who became Mrs. Lincoln’s seamstress and confidante. After the president’s assassination, Keckley created the Mary Todd Lincoln quilt and also a scandalous memoir. A new spin on the story.”  --New York Post

“Jennifer Chiaverini imagines the first lady’s most private affairs through the eyes of an unlikely confidante.” –Harper’s Bazaar

“Chiaverini has drawn a loving portrait of a complex and gifted woman . . . Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker helps to illuminate the path on which her long and remarkable life led her.” –St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“An example of what Jennifer Chiaverini does so well in her enlightening new historical novel, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, occurs late in the book, when a newly widowed Mary Todd Lincoln shares a letter of condolence from Queen Victoria with her dressmaker, a former slave named Elizabeth Keckley. . . . Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker vividly imagines how the Civil War touched daily life in Washington.”  --Washingtonian

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker is a wonderful novel that covers many topics surrounding the events of the 1860s in Washington and the following decades… Any reader interested in President Lincoln, Civil War history, or historical fiction should love this book.” –Bookreporter.com

“All the characters are brilliantly written, and readers will enjoy getting to know them. [Chiaverini] brings to life long-forgotten snapshots of America’s past with style, grace and respect.” –RT Book Reviews

“Taking readers through times of war and peace as seen through the eyes of an extraordinary woman, the author brings Civil War Washington to vivid life through her meticulously researched authentic detail. Chiaverini's characters are compelling and accurate; the reader truly feels drawn into the intimate scenes at the White House.”  –Library Journal

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Praise for Jennifer Chiaverini and the Elm Creek Quilts series
“Chiaverini’s themes of love, loss, and healing will resonate with many, and her characters’ stories are inspiring.” —Publishers Weekly

“Chiaverini has an impressive ability to bring a time and place alive.” —Romantic Times Book Reviews

“Emotionally compelling.” —Chicago Tribune on Sonoma Rose

“Jennifer Chiaverini has made quite a name for herself with her bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series. From the Civil War to the Roaring Twenties to contemporary settings, these novels have offered suspense, romance, and, at times, in-depth looks into the social, political, and cultural differences that helped shape a nation.” —BookPage

“Chiaverini excels at weaving stories and at character development. We can relate to the residents of Elm Creek Valley because they remind us of folks we know—a cousin, an aunt, or a grandmother.” —Standard-Examiner (Utah)

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  1. Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 13, 2013
    Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for The Spymistress.
    The Spymistress

    by

    Jennifer Chiaverini

    First:

    I especially appreciated Jennifer Chiaverini's writing style, a style that fits the period in history when her characters lived. When you read old letters and journals and books from former times, you find a certain articulate reservation to their thoughts and speech, which is preserved here in the prose of this novel. When I find a historical fiction author whose writing fits the time she's writing about, I cheer.

    It shows that they have immersed themselves in research, so that you can immerse yourself in story.

    Reading The Spymistress lets you feel like you're living right in the turmoil of Richmond with Lizzie and her family.

    And what a family it is! There are enough different characters, each seeing the world through their own eyes, that the reader is allowed to experience the war through

    multiple nuanced perspectives.

    A few of those perspectives include:

    Mary Jane, the young woman whose incredible intelligence and near-photographic memory is ignored because her skin is a beautiful coffee color.

    Mary Jane is like a younger sister to Lizzie.

    John, Lizzie's brother.

    Union loyal but wed to Mary, who supports the Confederacy.

    The tension is palpable as John tries to aid the sister he loves and at the same time live out his vows to the woman who stands for everything they're striving against.

    And Lizzie herself.

    Our protagonist is a woman who all girls should be introduced to. Lizzie fears...but she pushes herself on through the fear, living the true definition of courage. She knows that she does not act in her own strength, but in God's through Christ. She is a person like the rest of us, who finds pockets of love and happiness even in the middle of great struggle. She mourns the love she lost years before that left her a spinster, but her heart is open and giving, and her family means the world to her. She is indeed a heroine who we can admire and learn from.

    This is a novel of suspense, of espionage, of war.

    This is first of all a novel of humanity.

    Human love and loyalty, human choices and human emotion shine from these pages.

    Whoever professed that history is boring needs to meet Jennifer Chiaverini and The Spymistress.

    Now to read Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker!

    Thank you Dutton for sending me a review copy!
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