american history / book blog / book reviews / books / historical fiction

Sunday Scoop


By Jennifer Chiaverini


Happy Anniversary to me, Happy Anniversary to me!! It has been 25 years since the day I got married!! We are going out to LongHorn for steaks tonight. I thought that my biggest problem would be figuring out what to wear, that was before my hairdryer scared me to death by smoking and sparking!! Then I decided to trim by bangs and accidentally poked myself in the eye with the scissors giving my self a corneal abrasion. I am now blinking a lot and my eye is really watery!! My husband and I have a history of anniversary mishaps. The most memorable is his having a kidney stone when we were supposed to be celebrating with dinner and a movie!! He started having kidney stones in his twenties. He has been lucky he has only had 3. Ah good times, good times.

This book was another great NetGalley find!! I received this as an e-book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book was published on October of 2013 by Penguin Dutton. It was also re-released 2014 by Plume. My version was the one above. I like that cover the best, below is an alternate cover. Jennifer Chiaverini also wrote Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, which is  on my to read list. Hold on to your seat this is another Historical Fiction book. This is a great Civil War spy story. This story is based on a real woman who was a spy!!


Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, Virginia, and educated by Northern Quakers, Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time. When her native state seceded in April 1861, Van Lew’s convictions compelled her to defy the new Confederate regime. Pledging her loyalty to the Lincoln White House, her courage would never waver, even as her wartime actions threatened not only her reputation, but also her life.
Van Lew’s skills in gathering military intelligence were unparalleled. She helped to construct the Richmond Underground and orchestrated escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison under the guise of humanitarian aid. Her spy ring’s reach was vast, from clerks in the Confederate War and Navy Departments to the very home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Although Van Lew was inducted posthumously into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, the astonishing scope of her achievements has never been widely known. In Chiaverini’s riveting tale of high-stakes espionage, a great heroine of the Civil War finally gets her due (excerpt from NetGalley).

I found this book fascinating. We are led through the conflicts that developed when the Van Lew family of Virginia who were for the union, must carry on when Virginia secedes and joins the confederacy. This poses numerous problems for the family and essentially family members are pitted against each other due to their beliefs. We always tend to think of the women of this time as meek and mild, but many of them were strong fighters for their causes. Elizabeth Van Lew was able to function just this side of the law and cared for the wounded soldiers of the union that were in Virginia and later assisted them to escape and kept them in her house. She was always giving the neighbors some thing to talk about. She took incredible risks. This book reminded me of  Noble Cause. This is a novel I read and reviewed earlier in this blog. The woman in that book was a civil war spy also, but she dressed as a soldier and infiltrated the army to gain intelligence. That was also a remarkable book!! I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.





2 thoughts on “Sunday Scoop

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s