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The Traitor's Wife: A Novel by Allison…
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The Traitor's Wife: A Novel (2014)

by Allison Pataki

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Interesting, information about a period in history about which I know only a bit. Somewhat predictable, but not terribly so. ( )
  VictoriaJZ | Nov 9, 2016 |
Excellent. ( )
  adeleb88 | Jun 25, 2016 |
Every American school child knows the name Benedict Arnold is synonymous with treason. What I didn't know is just how much of an American hero he was before he became “that” Benedict Arnold. He was involved in key Revolutionary War battles at Fort Ticonderoga and in Quebec as proof of his service to his new country. He was a man who was committed to the Revolutionary effort early in the conflict. He led the offensive at the battle of Saratoga against his senior officer’s orders and was shot multiple times. He paid his men out of his personal fortune when the government couldn’t. If he had died during this period he would be revered as a gold-plated American hero.

What led him to become a traitor? The author puts forward a theory that it may have been related to his vivacious and manipulative wife, Peggy. Peggy Shippen Arnold didn't have much of a noble character as she can be summed up as a spoiled brat. She only wanted to attend parties and wear beautiful dresses , and collect handsome, wealthy suitors. Her only loyalty was to herself. She doesn't care if her admirers were the British or the Colonials, as long as they are fawning all over her and she is the belle of Philadelphia.

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 is a British Loyalist. 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 lover 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.

The story is quite engaging because of the historical detail and the fictitious characters the author creates. Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, Clara, 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 that could have destroyed the fledgling nation. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
When studying the American Revolutionary War in history class, the names George Washington and Benedict Arnold are of the most recognizable. After so many history classes, the information was always the same names, details, dates, and so on. Not once have I heard a mention about Benedict Arnold’s wife or really anyone’s wives in length. Peggy Shippen Arnold was a partner in his treason, something I would have loved to discuss in history rather than just being told he was a traitor and that was that. There’s always a whole other story behind famous men’s lives and the choices that wives most likely shaped one way or another.

The portrayal of Peggy was of a very spoiled and also very cunning woman. She always had her way with men, in particular with Benedict Arnold and John Andre. Peggy was a woman that most women would not have really liked because usually women can see through each other’s charms (crap), I’ll put it that way. I don’t have anything to compare to this version of Peggy, but I would expect such a spoiled, pretentious attitude from a well-off woman of the time period.

When it comes to Benedict Arnold, I did feel something along the lines of pity. He got what he deserved because he was a traitor, but backstories usually give people good intentions. His good intentions were to provide the never satisfied Peggy the extravagant lifestyle she wanted more than anything, more than him.

I have to mention, although, the book was told in the perspective of a maid named Clara. I didn’t know the fact when I bought the book because the synopsis made no mention her, so I was surprised. This book was a long read, but I believe it was worth every minute. ( )
  CinaChilders | Jan 29, 2015 |
I really knew nothing about Benedict Arnold, other than that he was a traitor. I even thought he had been hanged as a traitor. I knew nothing about the plot he was involved in. There has been quite a few books out lately about the women behind the famous men. I have really enjoyed each one I have read. That is why I was so interested in this particular book. Well, it did NOT disappoint. It has history, suspense, intrigue, and romance. The amount of research Allison Pataki put into this book is amazing. She did a lot of "filling in the blanks". There is a section in the back of the book that explains what portions of the story are fact, and which she made up to enhance to the story.

The story is told from the perspective of Clara, Mrs. Arnold's lady's maid. Peggy Shippen Arnold is horribly spoiled. My mother would have called her a real brat and tanned her bottom several times. But she was her father's favorite child. She managed to charm pretty much any man she came into contact with. Clara is there to always wait on Peggy -- dressing her, doing her hair, bringing her food, putting up with her temper tantrums. At first John Andrè is her target for enhancing her social standing. Some of her behavior is quite scandalous for the times. But being a British officer, he is soon reassigned to New York. So Peggy then sets her sights on General Arnold. He falls totally for her flattery and she soon becomes his wife. Through him, she can see herself moving up in status -- a splendid home and a title (a sign of power). Yet Peggy is still a supporter of the British. Arnold is a well-respected soldier until he becomes immersed in black-market trading.

Poor Clara seems to be considered invisible as Peggy and "Benny" discuss their traitorous plans in her presence. Clara is in quite a quandary as she knows what they are up to, but how can she stop it? Who would believe her over the word of the General? She turns to her beau Cal who is in the colonial army.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher. ( )
  BettyTaylor56 | Sep 4, 2014 |
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"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."--from cover, page [4].… (more)

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