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The Secrets of Mary Bowser: A Novel by Lois…

The Secrets of Mary Bowser: A Novel

by Lois Leveen

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Read this for my library fiction book club.

Fascinating historical fiction based on freed slave Mary Bowser and the Richmond, Virginia spy ring that fed information to the Union Army. Based on true events Mary Bowser was a real person but not much is known other than she was part of the Richmond Spy ring and this information is from the diaries of ELizabeth Van Lew.

Ms Leveen took what she knew and developed a story for Mary. Well worth the read, and many things to discuss for book clubs. Look forward to learning more about the Richmond Spy ring. There was a Mysteries at the Museum episode that gave a short blurb on this event based on the diary it had in its possession.

( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
A freed, educated slave returns to Richmond to become a "slave " spy during the Civil War. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
A freed, educated slave returns to Richmond to become a "slave " spy during the Civil War. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
This was a great book. It is historical fiction focusing on an actual woman - Mary Bowser. She was a freed slave who returned to Richmond to pose as a slave and spy on the Confederates. Her former slave-owner is better known as a southerner who spied for the Union, but Mary provided the information she needed.
Most of Mary's life is a fictional account based on what history is available. An excellent story. ( )
  nljacobs | Jan 19, 2016 |
This book has a great story line and the best part is that it is based on a real person and events. Mary Bowser was a real person who was raised as a slave and later freed. She was educated in the north and was a spy for the Union during the civil war. Mary and her husband were incredible people who took incredible risks. They work for the underground railroad transporting people north to freedom. She becomes a spy for the north and returns to Richmond. Many times Mary chooses to help people at the risk of her own safety and happiness

I enjoy slave stories and civil war fiction and this one is a great book in my opinion. I especially enjoyed the part about John Brown and the uprising at Harper’s Ferry. I have actually visited Harper’s Ferry and the area is dedicated to remembrance of the events that passed there. It is a place of great historical significance.

If you like Historical Fiction with strong women characters this could be the one for you. I found it fascinating and well done. It is a new look at a piece of important American history. This was Lois Leveen’s first book. It is great for a first novel. I have also read her second book Juliet’s Nurse.If you are interested check out the review of it. I felt it was a great novel also. If you did read Juliet’s Nurse and liked her writing style try this one you won’t be disappointed. I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars. ( )
  Pattymclpn | Apr 1, 2015 |
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If the whole of history is in one man, it is all to be explained from individual experience.... Each new fact in his private experience flashes a light on what great bodies of men have done, and the crises of his life refer to national crises. --Ralph Waldo Emerson, "History," 1841
Who shall go forward, and take off the reproach that is cast upon the people of color? Shall it be a woman? --Maria Stewart, "Lecture Delivered At The Franklin Hall, Boston," 1832
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Mama was always so busy.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062107909, Paperback)

Based on a remarkable true story, The Secrets of Mary Bowser is an inspiring tale of one daring woman's willingness to sacrifice her own freedom to change the course of history

All her life, Mary has been a slave to the wealthy Van Lew family of Richmond, Virginia. But when Bet, the willful Van Lew daughter, decides to send Mary to Philadelphia to be educated, she must leave her family to seize her freedom.

Life in the North brings new friendships, a courtship, and a far different education than Mary ever expected, one that leads her into the heart of the abolition movement. With the nation edging toward war, she defies Virginia law by returning to Richmond to care for her ailing father—and to fight for emancipation. Posing as a slave in the Confederate White House in order to spy on President Jefferson Davis, Mary deceives even those who are closest to her to aid the Union command.

Just when it seems that all her courageous gambles to end slavery will pay off, Mary discovers that everything comes at a cost—even freedom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:07 -0400)

"Based on the true story of Mary Bowser, a freed slave who returns to Virginia to spy on the Confederates, The secrets of Mary Bowser is the powerful story of a woman who must sacrifice her freedom to truly achieve it"--

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