Date of publication: March 2014 (Paperback)
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.
When I signed up for this tour, I didn't realize that The Spymistress is based on a real life heroine of the civil war. I guess I didn't read the description well enough. Elizabeth Van Lew risked her life and fortune to spy for the Union and assist in the escape of many Union soldiers held prisoner by the Confederate Army. I have to admire this woman and her belief that all men are free no matter their color. In such an intense time for our country, her strength and courage are something to be admired and remembered.
I think that fans of this type of fiction will love this book. The author did do an amazing job of building the tension of impending war and the high stress of the time. That being said, I found that this wasn't the book for me. I have tried historical fiction with real life people in the past and have had a hard time with them. I know that it is the author's imaginings of what may have happened, but I keep thinking in the back of my mind, "Is that what really happened?" I did get about a third of the way through the book and I found that it was well researched as far as the historical accuracy. But, for someone like me, I would rather read a straight historical non-fiction book about Elizabeth. Why not get a copy and give it a try?
About the author:
Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series, as well as five collections of quilt projects inspired by the novels. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and sons in Madison, Wisconsin.
Connect with Jennifer on her website, elmcreek.net, and on Twitter @jchiaverini.
Jennifer Chiaverini’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, April 28th: Tales of a Book Addict
Thursday, May 1st: Literally Jen
Friday, May 2nd: Kritter’s Ramblings
Monday, May 5th: Fiction State of Mind
Tuesday, May 6th: Reading Reality
Wednesday, May 7th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, May 8th: West Metro Mommy
Friday, May 9th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Tuesday, May 13th: Passages to the Past
Wednesday, May 14th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, May 15th: Words for Worms
Friday, May 16th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, May 19th: Daily Mayo
Tuesday, May 20th: Bookchickdi
Wednesday, May 21st: Peppermint Ph.D.
Thursday, May 22nd: Must Read Faster
Friday, May 23rd: Fiction Addict
Tuesday, May 27th: The Most Happy Reader
Tuesday, May 28th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Thursday, May 29th: Lit and Life