Thursday, May 22, 2014

TLC: The Spymistress (WITH GIVEAWAY)


The Spymistress

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (March 25, 2014)
Chiaverini, author of the bestseller MRS. LINCOLN’S DRESSMAKER offers another enthralling historical novel set in the Civil War era, inspired by an overlooked hero, the remarkable Elizabeth Van Lew.  Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, VA, when her native state seceded in April 1861, her convictions compelled her to defy the new confederate regime and pledge her loyalty to the Lincoln White House.   Van Lew was hailed as “a true Union woman as true as steel” who risked everything by caring for Union prisoners of war—and stealing Confederate secrets.

In THE SPYMISTRESS, Chiaverini, bestselling author of the acclaimed Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, illuminates yet another long-forgotten but pivotal woman in American history, Elizabeth Van Lew. A spinster of independent means, “Lizzie” Van Lew lived in secessionist Virginia in the midst of the Civil War. A proud native of Richmond whose loyalty to the United States never wavered, Lizzie became a Union spy, risking her life to gather military intelligence for Mr. Lincoln’s army.  With her unique blend of historical accuracy and in-depth characterization, Chiaverini weaves a portrait of Van Lew, a woman who held the Union cause higher than the value of her own life. Van Lew cared for Union prisoners, orchestrated escapes from the Confederate Libby Prison, and helped construct the Richmond Underground. Although she was never recognized for these accomplishments while she was alive, Van Lew was posthumously honored with a place in the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.

A riveting story of devotion and bravery, THE SPYMISTRESS illustrates the astonishing risks taken by Van Lew, and gives this overlooked hero of the Civil War the credit she deserves.

“A deeply feminist project, recovering the stories and textures of women’s lives during the Civil War.”  —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, named a “Best Book of the Year”

“A compelling read.  Miss Van Lew deserves recognition as an intelligent and resourceful spy who may have shortened the length of the carnage of the Civil War.”  —Historical Novel Society
“Readers of historical fiction will admire Van Lew’s courage and commitment to her principles and the bravery of her ring of spies.”  —Booklist

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Purchase Links

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My Review:
This book was very well written. I really liked Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, so I snatched at the opportunity to read and review this one as well. The style was quite familiar, but definitely (obviously) a different story. Most of the characters, Lizzie especially were all done well. Obviously, the writer has done her homework and knows the time period quite nicely. I'm not a history buff, but this era has always interested me.

Like I stated before, I really enjoy Ms. Chiaverini's writing style. It's easy to slip into and interesting to read. With that said, I felt there were a few moments that just lagged a bit. I understand that the history part of this historical fiction has to be included, but in this instance it just felt a bit bogged down. Maybe the writer was trying to include so much info, that she got overwhelmed? No clue, but I do know Chiaverini can write her way out of those moments, and bring the story back into focus.

All in all I really liked  The Spy Mistress.

Jennifer ChiaveriniAbout Jennifer Chiaverini

Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series, as well as five collections of quilt projects inspired by the novels. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and sons in Madison, Wisconsin.
Connect with Jennifer on her website,, and on Twitter @jchiaverini.

Giveaway: I have been given the opportunity to giveaway 1 copy of the book (only US) here on my blog! 

To enter: Just leave a comment with your email and name. 


  1. would LOVE to read this!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  2. Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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