You won’t want to put ‘The Spymistress’ down

The Spymistress, Jennifer Chiaverini, Dutton, historical fiction

Filled with intrigued, danger and a woman who was far ahead of her time, Elm Creek Quilts author Jennifer Chiaverini does not disappoint with “The Spymistress.”

Following the life of Elizabeth Van Lew just before, during and after the Civil War, the historical novel delves into the covert activities the real life Military Intelligence Hall of Fame member undertook in order to help save the Union.

Unmarried, and considered an eccentric spinster among the Richmond elite, Van Lew talked her way into the Confederate prisons under the guise of delivering Christian charity to the Union soldiers held captive there. Starting with smuggling information from the prisoners out and into Union hands, Van Lew eventually helped develop a vast network of informants from guards at the infamous Libby Prison to a maid in the home of the Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

All worked together to provide valuable information to the north that eventually aided in the fall of Richmond, the Confederate capitol.

Van Lew risks her life time and again both in her espionage activities and in her attempts to cover them up by hosting parties for Confederate soldiers and inviting officers to board with her at her mansion to help dispel rumors about where her true loyalties lied.

Not only is she an important historical figure, but Van Lew truly is ahead of her time, both of which make “The Spymistress” a compelling read that you won’t want to put down. I highly recommend you put it on your must read list.

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