Friday, May 16, 2014

The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini

Good morning! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Jennifer Chiaverini's historical thriller, The Spymistress.

When Richmond seceded from the Union in 1861 and joined forces with the Confederates, Elizabeth Van Lew was beyond distraught. As a women who'd worked to free and educate her own slaves, she stood steadfastly on the side of Lincoln and had hoped that logic would prevail amongst her fellow Virginians. With the nation splitting at the seams and war inevitable, it would seem all hope was lost. But Elizabeth was well placed to help the Union cause. She and her mother began by volunteering at the Libby Prison. From that point on, Elizabeth's name and efforts would go down in history. 

What a fascinating woman! Jennifer Chiaverini's latest is indeed based on a very real person and her very real efforts to support Lincoln and the Union in the Civil War. The real Elizabeth Van Lew was awarded (posthumously) a place in the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame and according to a quote in this piece from Smithsonian.com was "... the most successful Federal spy of the war."

Chiaverini deftly outlines Elizabeth's most noted actions - as can be found in historical note - while also fleshing her out and bringing her quite believably to life in The Spymistress. It's interesting to note too that Mary Bowser (who was the focus of Lois Leveen's The Secrets of Mary Bowser) worked alongside Elizabeth. While the book is again fiction, and there is undoubtedly some creative license involved, Chiaverini does both women great justice.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on the author and her work you can find her on the web here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


Kelly said...

My coworker just read this one and told me she'd lend it to me. I love books that take place during the Civil War!

Becky LeJeune said...

Fabulous! If you love Civil War titles you should definitely be reading this one :) Have you read the Mary Bowser title? I'm curious about that one now as well.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for being a part of the tour!