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
2. Alex & Eliza
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.
10. The Turncoat
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.