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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 André, 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 André. 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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Renee on 01-28-15
Is this a bad elementary school play?
This story started out briskly enough, and the subject matter was interesting. I also enjoyed that it was coming from the perspective of the maid, as I expected sort of an an "Upstairs, Downstairs" feel. The first road bumps happened with the introduction of the Shippens. The stilted, uneducated dialogue combined with the cardboard cut out characters brought me back to the days of watching awkward, albeit enthusiastic, grade school dramatizations. I appreciate that the story was well researched, yet have trouble reconciling that with the naive story telling. Nothing had a colonial period feel, except for the extensive detail given to the clothing. Clara as a character was more fully fleshed out than any other, yet the reader is still left to imagine how she leapt from timid subservient, to history changing revolutionary, as there is so little growth in this direction. The audio edition is even worse. I played it at book club, and there were accusations of the voice being a computer auto read feature, as it is so stilted and halting. And the awkward impersonations brought me back, again, to an elementary school auditorium. While fun to brush up on my dusty American History, this historical fiction novel proved very disappointing.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful