Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki

Title: The Traitor’s Wife
Author: Allison Pataki
Read by: Madeleine Maby
Simon and Shuster Audio
Length: Approximately 16 hours
Source: Simon and Shuster Audio Digital Review Copy – Thanks!

Clara is an orphan and her Grandmother has just died.  She is happy to receive a new position as a lady’s maid for socialite Peggy Shippen.  It is quite a move from the Pennsylvanian countryside to bustling Philadelphia, but after a few missteps Clara becomes a great lady’s maid.  Her lady, Peggy, is a hard lady to please.  Peggy doesn’t seem to think about anyone but herself.  She has a great love for British Major John Andre, but after he leaves Philadelphia, she meets and falls in love with General Benedict Arnold.  In order to increase their wealth and status, Peggy uses Arnold’s fallacy to believe he has been wronged by the Continental Congress to set him up to be a spy with Andre.  As we all know, this doesn’t end well, but this is the often untold story of Peggy’s role in the affair and the imagined role of Clara the servant. 

I like the Downton Abbey aspect of the book showing what the life of the servants was like as well as the “upstairs” people.   It’s nice to know that in order to make it so that General Benedict and Peggy Arnold lived a comfortable life, there were others in the wings doing their cooking, laundry, mending, and dressing.  This reminded me of another excellent novel, Longbourn by Jo Baker about the story of the servants that make it so the story of Pride and Prejudice was possible. I just wish in The Traitor’s Wife, Clara would have had more story for herself.  I did love her romance and her inner conflict about the Arnolds treasonous role.  It was also interesting seeing the drama through her point of view, although Peggy was the clear heroine / villain of the novel.

Overall, I enjoyed this historical fiction novel.  I love the Revolutionary War time period and find the treason of Benedict Arnold to be a fascinating part of history.  The audiobook was narrated by Madeleine Maby who did a fine job, I soon thought of her voice as the definitive Clara.  She did a great job providing a unique voice for all of the other characters as well.

1 comment:

  1. Laura, wonderful review of this audiobook! I'm glad you enjoyed the story and the narration of the characters.