THE SPYMISTRESS by Jennifer Chiaverini
A Civil War story with very little about battles, soldiers or Generals.
Elizabeth Van Lew is a Southern lady who owns slaves, is a secret abolitionist, supports the Union (secretly), loves Virginia and is a Union spy. Van Lew, a real person, was inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame in 1993. Throughout the war she aided the cause of the Union at great risk to herself, her family and friends. Her cleverness in remaining without suspicion is the conflict and plot of THE SPYMISTRESS.
Chiaverini has written a book that makes Van Lew live again. The risks she took to aid Union prisoners held in deplorable Confederate prisons, especially Libby Prison, are clearly set forth. The way she came to be one of the most useful spies for the Union Army is stated so well that the reader, like Van Lew herself, is completely involved before realizing exactly what a dangerous endeavor she has undertaken. Those Virginians who supported the Union and were part of Van Lew’s network of spies are woven into the storyline.
Chiaverini has clearly done her research into the life and times of a heroic woman. The book covers only the war years, but does include an author’s note to tell the reader what happened after the war.
5 of 5 stars