8/16/17

Book Recommendation: The Traitors' Wife by Allison Pataki + 10 More American Revolution Reads


Elaborate silk gowns. Dashing British officers. Rugged American rebels. Marie Antoinette-esque poufs. Rum. Ruffles. Riding in horse-drawn carriages.

My favorite way to travel is by book—and it's as close to time travel as you can get. Each night for the past week, I've been transported to colonial Philadelphia to live among the likes of Peggy Shippen, Benedict Arnold, John Andre, and George Washington.

Any fellow fans of AMC's Turn out there? Please, no spoilers about the current/last season—I'm patiently waiting 'til it gets added to Netflix. In the meantime, I've needed something to fill the American Revolution sized hole in my heart. And that's a perfect excuse for picking up a new book.

One of my favorite characters in Turn is Peggy Shippen. I don't always agree with her motives or decisions, but I can't help but be mesmerized by actress Ksenia Solo's portrayal of her—the mannerisms lively and subtle, the batting eyelashes, the coy smiles, the scheming. And let's not forget... those gorgeous dresses she gets to wear!


After reading and loving Allison Pataki's The Accidental Empress and Sisi, I had added The Traitor's Wife to my to-read list. Problem is: My to-read list is so full that I hardly realized (or must have forgotten) that The Traitor's Wife centers around the tangled story of Peggy Shippen, John Andre, and Benedict Arnold.

The novel tells Peggy's tale through the eyes of her maid, Clara. As she did with Empress Sisi, Pataki breathes life into characters—high society and household workers, historical-based and fictional alike. I only wish I would have read this novel before my trip to Philly two winters ago—how wonderful it would have been to stroll the streets of Society Hill with Peggy, Clara, and others in mind. (If I make it out there again, I'm adding Mount Pleasant to my list of touristy stops.)

If you're a historical fiction lover who likes the sound of romance and espionage set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, I highly recommend The Traitor's Wife. It's engrossing, vivid, and full of memorable characters. And it's a fascinating take on a pivotal point in the country's history. Buy it on Amazon here.


by Allison Pataki


Since finishing The Traitor's Wife, I find myself not ready to abandon revolutionary America quite yet. There are so many fascinating figures to read about! Hamilton. Jefferson. Washington.

I've added the following to my to-read list. Have you read any of these? Any other recommendations?



by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

"In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy." - Amazon



by Melissa de la Cruz

Hamilton's a popular guy at the moment, so I have a few stories on my to-read list that revolve around him and his lady Eliza. This sounds like a YA-ish spin on the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. And I think the cover is so very lovely.



by Kristiana Gregory

I blame Dear America and the Royal Diaries series for my love of history and reading/writing historical fiction. And though I actually read this one waaaay back in elementary school, it'd be a nice, quick book to enjoy again.


by Elizabeth Cobbs

"Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Revolution, and featuring a cast of legendary characters, The Hamilton Affair tells the sweeping, tumultuous, true story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, from passionate and tender beginnings to his fateful duel on the banks of the Hudson River." - Amazon



(Books 1 and 2 of The Midwife Series)
by Jodi Daynard

These are the first two in the trilogy that takes place in colonial Boston. They've received really good reviews and I'm intrigued by the midwife point of view—and the cover of Our Own Country.)


by Nancy Moser

"Known for moving first-person novels of Nannerl Mozart, Jane Austen, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Nancy Moser now brings to life the loves and trials of the first First Lady of the United States. When a dapper, young George Washington comes into her life, Martha Custis is a young widow with two young children. Their love and loyalty toward each other—and the new nation they fight for, lasts a lifetime and is an inspiration even now, after 250 years. Washington’s Lady was a Christy Awards finalist." - Amazon



by Susan Holloway Scott

This one is due out in September, but you can pre-order! Also, I need a turquoise silk gown like that. *heart eyes*


by Alexander Rose

This is the book that inspired Turn: Washington's Spies, so naturally it's a good one to put right at the top of your American Revolution novels-to-read list.


by Stephen Case and Mark Jacob

Here's a biographical take on the illustrious Peggy Shippen.



by Donna Thorland

It's last on this list, but in reality probably the next one I'll read. This is the story of lovers on opposite sides of the war. It also involves the City of Brotherly Love, spies, and a dangerous dance of passion and patriotism. 

8/10/17

Get a Free Summer Skincare Set from Burt’s Bees & Grove Collaborative



You guys, I'm so excited about the new Grove offer I get to share with you today. I always feel like I'm raving about Grove because of the great deals on Mrs. Meyers and Caldrea products. (It's for good reason—good smelling cleaners make the chore so much more enjoyable.) There's more to Grove than cleaning supplies, though. They're my go-to for skincare products like rose argan oil and facial wipes, too. And now, they carry one of my favorite brands ever: Burt's Bees. 

7/13/17

Win the new Haven's Kitchen cookbook (and a Williams-Sonoma stainless steel tool set!)


Hello, lovelies! Today, Artisan Books has partnered with me to support an exciting new cookbook: The Haven's Kitchen Cooking School: Recipes and Inspiration to Build a Lifetime of Confidence in the Kitchen. One lucky The Lovely Side reader will win this must-have manual to kitchen confidence and a shiny Williams-Sonoma stainless steel tool set (prizing pictured above). Keep scrolling to read an excerpt and enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget down below.

No matter what kind of home cook you are—budding beginner or full-on chef—this book will come in handy and equip you with the fundamental building blocks you need to feel confident and at ease in the kitchen.Want to know how to boil eggs or whip up the perfect omelet? What about making dressings, stocks, and sauces? Or properly stocking your fridge and pantry? Cayne's got you covered. I'm most interested in getting over my fear of frying (it's a thing) and learning to pick and cut my own herbs. 

7/11/17

Summer Entertaining with Grove + My Go-To 3-Ingredient Dessert Recipe


We're finally starting to entertain at home. Last summer, we didn't do a whole lot of that. Instead, we were settling in, furnishing the place, and planning and tackling our first major projects. Our only guests were close friends and family who were popping in to see the house, help with projects, or hang out with us when we needed a break from home improvement conquests.

Now, our entire first floor (except for one room that I can live with until fall) has been stripped of wallpaper, painted, and decorated. We can spontaneously invite friends and family members over without fretting about old wallpaper, drywall dust, or "off-limits" rooms blocked off by plastic sheets. Instead of cleaning up construction zones, we simply have to tidy up.

5/15/17

Looks I Love: Wallflowers


Oh, how I love flowery walls. This decor trend probably isn't something I'd do right now. 1) I have enough floral patterns on my rugs, bedding, artwork, and accessories. And 2) we've spent enough time the last few months peeling wallpaper. But the look of floral patterns and murals on the walls is something that certainly makes me swoon. It reminds me of the garden frescoes found on the walls of houses in Pompeii—especially the ones with birds perched on branches. 

5/10/17

Win an #EverythingEverything movie/book prize pack!

This giveaway is now closed. Click here for more contests.

Thank you Warner Bros. Pictures for providing the prizing and samples for this sweepstakes.


Good morning, lovelies! I'm so excited about the giveaway kicking off today.

Nicola Yoon's bestselling book Everything, Everything has been on my TBR list for a while—and now, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, and director Stella Meghie are bringing the swoonworthy romantic drama to the big screen on May 19. The film stars Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) as Maddy, Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) as Olly, Ana de la Reguera (Sun Belt Express), and Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls). 

And thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures, one lucky The Lovely Side reader will receive this adorable prize pack, including a copy of the book (movie tie-in cover), Everything, Everything tank top and backpack, and a $25 Visa gift card to go see the movie in theaters.

5/9/17

Make more time for summer fun with Grove Collaborative

This offer has expired, but stay tuned for more special deals.



It may not be "officially" summer yet, but the beautiful weather has arrived. For me, that means weekends and weeknights spent outside grilling supper, sitting next to the fire pit, and (eventually) floating around in the pool with a refreshing drink.