Tag Archives: American Revolution

Top 10 Tuesday — Patriotic Covers

4 Jul

Happy Tuesday! This week bloggers are tasked to create a list with book covers featuring the colors of our home nations. Red, white, a blue are the colors of the day since it is Independence Day here in the US. I chose not only to include covers with those colors, but books set in the early days of our nation — Revolutionary Period through the War of 1812. I had so much fun rediscovering these books! Hope you find one to love!

Top Patriotic Book Covers

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavoroli

A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

The Magnolia Duchess by Beth White

The Tea Chest by Heidi Chiavoroli

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki

Min-Review — America’s First Daughter

27 Mar

My book club reads a lot of biographical fiction. It’s an interesting and entertaining way to learn more about a specific time, place, and person in history. This month we chose America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. With the first person POV of the main character, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph, it explores the life of not only Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, but of his contemporaries and family members. The book begins when Patsy is a young girl and finishes with her later years. It is filled with historical detail that a history-nerd will love. The Revolutionary War and the early years of the nation are not time periods I generally read, but this book was fascinating in its portrayal of a young nation founded on high moral principles, yet in reality a democracy riddled with injustices. Slavery, the huge elephant in the room given Jefferson’s own ownership of slaves and his relationship with Sally Hemings, is a big part of the story. Patsy is definitely a woman of her time, and though she abhors slavery (as do many of her acquaintance) she is unable to affect any kind of meaningful change. In fact, those with the power to do so either were unsuccessful or left it to later generations. The authors do a good job of balancing the context of the time (slavery, limited rights of women and children) with an honest portrayal of the subject matter. This is Patsy’s story to tell, and I feel the authors allowed this incredible woman to tell it. Patsy was witness to so much — the American Revolution, formation of a new nation, the unfolding of the French revolution, the rise and fall of political factions — yet she was first and foremost a dutiful daughter, a committed wife, and a nurturing mother of many children. Her life was both extraordinary and ordinary, and the novel expresses that so well.

If you are a fan of early American history, then this book is definitely for you. My book club googled a lot during the reading of the book! We also had an outstanding discussion.


Audience: adults.

(I purchased Kindle ebook from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love–with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.

Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father’s reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into ten languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. She lives in Maryland with her husband, cats, and history books.

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction, Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction. She is the author of AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER, MY DEAR HAMILTON, and RIBBONS OF SCARLET, allowing her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Her upcoming novel, CHURCHILL’S SPYMISTRESS, is about SOE officer Vera Atkins and two of her spies in Occupied France during WWII. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters. http://www.LauraKamoie.com.

Book Review: The Creole Princess

8 Apr

721985All along the eastern seaboard, the American struggle for independence rages. In the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is quieter–though no less deadly. The lovely Frenchwoman Lyse Lanier is best friends with the daughter of the British commander. Rafael Gonzalez is a charming young Spanish merchant with a secret mission and a shipment of gold to support General Washington. As their paths cross and their destinies become increasingly tangled, Lyse and Rafael must decide where their true loyalties lie–and somehow keep Lyse’s family from being executed as traitors to the British Crown.



313204_b8f0fbd6de603d031772f89385f2f7f1.jpg_srz_p_268_398_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzAbout Beth White (from her website) — I grew up in the South, specifically North Mississippi, which has a rich tradition of fostering writers, storytellers, and musicians. I’m fond of both music and literature, so I amuse myself by teaching chorus and piano in an inner-city public high school by day, while conducting a secret life as a romance writer by night.

Anyway, I find myself, after more than half the years I’ve been alive, still married to my last college boyfriend. He still makes me laugh, he still gives me the warm fuzzies, and he still checks my tires, so I guess I’ll keep him. We somewhat successfully raised two young adults, who are both married and have begun producing amazing grandchildren. My cup runneth over.

Anyone who wants to know more about me should read my books and my blog. I am something of a hermit In Real Life, except in the classroom and on my computer, but I am very much interested in what makes my readers tick. And what ticks them off. And what makes them smile. So please email me here. I promise to answer.


My Impressions:

Beth White’s novel, The Creole Princess, is the second book in her generational, historical fiction series, Gulf Coast Chronicles. I have been a fan of her contemporary romances (writing as Elizabeth White) for a while now. I read The Pelican Bride and while I liked and recommended it, it didn’t really have the WOW factor. The Creole Princess does. Meticulous research, wonderful plotting and well-developed characters shine in this novel. If you are a fan of historical romance, pick this one up!

Lyse Lanier is a Creole daughter with a mixed heritage as spicy and rich as the gumbo served in the colonial town of Mobile. Not white, not black, she struggles to find a place in society as well as keep her ever-growing family financially and emotionally afloat. Whispers of rebellion don’t really affect her, until a mysterious dandy, Don Rafael, arrives in town.

I loved the engaging and entertaining characters in The Creole Princess. White does a good job of representing the social and cultural system that bound people during the late 1700s. Slave and freedman, British and French are all in attendance. I cheered for my favorites and booed the villains. The characters act naturally amid the political intrigue of the British West Florida colony depicted in the novel. Liberty and freedom are in the air and the ideals of America are juxtaposed with the system of slavery and strict class distinctions prevalent in that day. You can tell that White did her homework. When I think of the Revolutionary War, I think of Valley Forge and Yorktown, not Mobile, New Orleans and Pensacola. I also didn’t know about the Spanish contribution to America’s freedom. This little known history (at least to me) added depth to the love story between Lyse and Rafa. And that love story is as sweet and indulgent as a beignet!

If you like richly detailed historical fiction with a large dollop of romance, then The Creole Princess is for you.

Highly Recommended. 

Audience: older teens and adults.

(Thanks to Revell for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click HERE

Book Review: Washington’s Lady

6 Feb

432943Known 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.




71mRTW6rDwL._UX250_Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty novels that focus on the characters discovering their unique purpose. Her genres include both contemporary and historical stories.

My Impressions:

If you are looking for a book to help celebrate two February holidays, then consider Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser. In this biographical novel, the reader gets a glimpse at the personal life of George and Martha Washington, a couple who loved each other, their family and their nation. Theirs was a life of sacrifice and grief and also a triumph of devotion, loyalty and patriotism. No groundhogs in the book, but perfect for President’s Day and Valentine’s Day reading!

Moser tells the story of the Washingtons from the first person narrative of Martha. The book begins with a young Martha newly widowed, grieving the loss of her husband and two children. A wealthy woman in the Virginia colony, she could have made any match, but chose George Washington, a younger son with little material worth, but something special that told of great things to come. Their life together included the struggle to make ends meet amidst increasing taxes and tariffs from England, the very present dangers of a world without modern medical care, and the demands of the Glorious Cause and a new nation.

I liked that Moser tells the story in the context of a marriage. The story is intimate and real — disagreements over money spent and parenting are part of the story. Martha is an indulgent parent, to the detriment of her surviving son and grandson, but she is also diligent, courageous and concerned with others over self. The two main characters come across as real people, not iconic figures. This novel is a story of a life, not one of battles and politics, something I really appreciated.

Washington’s Lady is the perfect choice for those who love historical fiction, especially novels set during the Revolutionary War.


Audience: older teens and adults.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click HERE.



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: http://triciamccormack.pass.us/allison_selectsALLISON 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 FoxNews.com, 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.

Book Review: The Courier of Caswell Hall

28 Sep

934262_w185An unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution. As the British and Continental armies wage war in 1781, the daughter of a wealthy Virginia plantation owner feels conflict raging in her own heart. Lydia Caswell comes from a family of staunch Loyalists, but she cares only about peace. Her friend Sarah Hammond, however, longs to join the fight. Both women’s families have already been divided by a costly war that sets father against son and neighbor against neighbor; a war that makes it impossible to guess who can be trusted. One snowy night Lydia discovers a wounded man on the riverbank near Caswell Hall, and her decision to save him will change her life. Nathan introduces her to a secret network of spies, couriers, disguises, and coded messages—a network that may be the Patriots’ only hope for winning the war. When British officers take over Caswell Hall and wreak havoc on neighboring plantations, Lydia will have to choose between loyalty and freedom; between her family’s protection and her own heart’s desires. As both armies gather near Williamsburg for a pivotal battle, both Lydia and Sarah must decide how high a price they are willing to pay to help the men they love.

MDobson-73Melanie Dobson is the author of twelve novels; her writing has received numerous accolades including two Carol Awards. Melanie worked in public relations for fifteen years before she began writing fiction full-time. Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides with her husband and two daughters in Oregon.

Find out more about Melanie at http://www.melaniedobson.com.

My Impressions:

The Courier of Caswell Hall is sure to be a winner with history lovers as well as romance fans. There is even some breath-holding suspense! Melanie Dobson has a winner in her An American Tapestry series offering that highlights the last years of the American Revolution.

Lydia Caswell is not really concerned with the politics of the Rebellion against Britain and King George. As the privileged daughter of a loyalist planter in Virginia, she merely yearns for the end of the war and a return to life as usual — the dinners, teas and balls her family was accustomed to hosting. The war has killed her beloved grandfather, taken away her betrothed and estranged her family from old friends and neighbors. But when Lydia finds an injured and half dead man on her family’s plantation, her views on the Rebellion begin to change. She soon finds herself a part of the patriots’ spy network and her heart turned toward the mysterious man that is a big part of it.

The historical aspects of The Courier of Caswell Hall are spot on — from the military maneuvers to common customs to slavery in the colonies. I found all of this fascinating and learned quite a bit as well. The characters are very well-devoloped and realistic — from dedicated patriots, slaves, British soldiers to loyalist citizens. Their emotions, motives and actions portray the nature of both sides of the American Revolution. Historical figures and events are included to give this novel a feeling of truth. The great sacrifice by our founders to achieve freedom is profoundly portrayed; a great lesson for all Americans today.

The Courier of Caswell Hall is a great read — check it out today!


Great for Book Clubs.

(Thanks to Summerside Press and LitFuse for a review copy of this book. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To read other reviews, click HERE.

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.

Welcome to the blog tour for Melanie Dobson‘s latest release, The Courier of Caswell HallAn unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution in the newest book in the American Tapestries™ series.


Enter to win 1 of 5 copies of the book!

Five winners will receive:

  • The Courier of Caswell Hall by Melanie Dobson

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 5th. All winners will be announced October 7th at the Litfuse blog.