The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki

PatakiTraitor'sWifeWhy I Read It: American Revolutionary war in an engaging tale, how could I resist?

Where I Got It: Reviewer copy from the publisher (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: Those with an interest in American Revolutionary war, or traitors.

Narrator: Madeleine Maby

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2014)

Length: 16 hours 11 minute

Author’s Page

Peggy Shippen is the bell of the town. She’s young, beautiful, a flirt, and from a respectable family. She flits from one dress fitting to some dance party, chasing after one man and flirting with the others. But when she doesn’t get her man (John Andre, a British officer), she has to reconsider her options. Philadelphia has been ceded to the Americans and all the British military must pull out. Enter Benedict Arnold, the American military commander stationed to Philadelphia. Now that the Americans (or the rebels to those loyal to Britain) have control of the area, it is wise of the Shippen family to down play their British ties and kiss up to the Americans. Peggy takes to this with gusto, and soon she is engaged to Benedict.

Ah, the 1770s of the American colonies was a lively time. Well, for the well to do. There were balls at least every month, and small dance parties with card gambling nearly every night. Peggy revels in being chased after by most of the men. She also enjoys making snide remarks about the other ladies’ dresses. Truly, she is a pretty shallow thing. As the tide shifts for the city of Philadelphia, Benedict woos Peggy, and eventually gets to marry her. She is half his age and it shows. He promises her the moon, and when he can’t deliver, she pouts. Pouting turns to sulking, which turns to frigidness, and eventually to scheming.

Allison Pataki does a great job of showing the very logical route from dancing to traitor activities. Peggy wants all the fun, the fancy clothes, the attention, and none of the mess. Benedict has already been serving his country for decades, having taken crippling wounds and depleted his own funds keeping his men fed. The American government has yet to repay Benedict and that ways heavy on him.

The book is told through the eyes of Peggy’s maid, Clara Bell. This was a great way to see all the main characters, both their good and bad sides. Peggy is obviously a selfish brat, but she does have a few moments where she treats Clara with true affection. We see that Benedict had true reservations about betraying his country. It made for a fascinating read. The revolutionary war affected everyone, from the poor to the rich. The servants of those rich would go to great lengths to stay employed; after all, if they lost their position, they also lost their home, being kicked to the street.

In the end, I found myself hoping that Benedict would be able to extricate himself not only from his traitorous dilemma but also from Peggy. Clara was the true hero of this tale and by twist and turn, I cheered her on. This was an excellent read and I truly had a hard time putting it down.

The Narration:  Madeleine Maby was an excellent fit for this book. She was the perfect voice for Clara Bell. And I loved her high-bred snotty voice for Peggy. She also did British accents and male voices quite well.

What I Liked:  Peggy, while a snotty rich bitch, was fun to follow around; Clara Bell was the perfect person to see all the action through; history made interesting; love the book cover; the ending was extremely satisfying.

What I Disliked:  No dislikes on this one.

What Others Think:

Reading the Past

Burton Book Review

Historical Novel Society

3 thoughts on “The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki”

    1. In school, I zero interest in American history. And today, in my 30s, well….my interest is still pretty miniscule. But logically, I know I would benefit from learning about my own country. So, I dived into this book expecting to be a bit bored – and I wasn’t. I will be looking forward to more Pataki novels!

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