Audiobook Review: The Traitor’s Wife

8 Aug

738604A riveting historical novel about Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and mastermind behind America’s most infamous act of treason . . .

Everyone knows Benedict Arnold — the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British — as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John André, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it.

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John André. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold.

Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom.

View More: PATAKI is the author of the New York Times bestselling and critically-acclaimed historical novel, The Traitor’s Wife. She graduated Cum Laude from Yale University with a major in English and spent several years writing for TV and online news outlets.

The daughter of former New York State Governor George E. Pataki, Allison is currently working on her second novel, The Accidental Empress, to be published by Simon & Schuster in February 2015.

A lover of history, Allison was inspired to write The Accidental Empress by her family’s deep roots in the former Habsburg empire of Austria-Hungary. Allison is the co-founder of the nonprofit organization, ReConnect Hungary. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and, and is a member of The Historical Novel Society. Allison lives in Chicago with her husband.


My Impressions:

I chose The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki because it was right before July 4th and I thought an audiobook with roots deep in America’s fight for freedom would be a great way to celebrate. I had seen Pataki on a morning news show and was impressed by her and intrigued with her subject matter — Peggy Shippen Arnold, wife of the infamous Benedict Arnold. It turned out to be an excellent choice. Well-researched and well-written, I found the events and people of this novel to be an eye-opening and educational experience. The novel is great fun too!

Peggy Shippen Arnold was instrumental in her husband’s treason. Her character is never sympathetic. In fact you will love to hate her. Arnold is presented somewhat sympathetically, but his greed, weakness and selfishness keep him from being really likable. So how do you write a novel that has as its main characters two of the most unpleasant and unappealing people of the Revolution? You tell their story from the point of view of the quiet, unassuming, yet courageous ladies maid, Clara Bell. It is Clara’s life, struggles and triumph that the reader cheers for. The audiobook is well-read as well.

Great for fans of historical novels, The Traitor’s Wife gives an inside look into the politics and culture of the American colonies while shedding light on the intrigue that gave our language a depiction of a turncoat — Benedict Arnold.


Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: Adults

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

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