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The Traitor's Wife: A Novel | [Allison Pataki]

The Traitor's Wife: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

A 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.

©2014 Allison Pataki (P)2014 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (102 )
5 star
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3.7 (83 )
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3.8 (86 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Beth Shully Mequon, WI, US 03-30-15
    Beth Shully Mequon, WI, US 03-30-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Easy to listen to"

    Good book. Romance type with embellished historical facts. Good for mindless entertainment....
    Can't say any more to this but need more wirds

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renee 01-28-15
    Renee 01-28-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Is this a bad elementary school play?"

    This story started out briskly enough, and the subject matter was interesting. I also enjoyed that it was coming from the perspective of the maid, as I expected sort of an an "Upstairs, Downstairs" feel. The first road bumps happened with the introduction of the Shippens. The stilted, uneducated dialogue combined with the cardboard cut out characters brought me back to the days of watching awkward, albeit enthusiastic, grade school dramatizations. I appreciate that the story was well researched, yet have trouble reconciling that with the naive story telling. Nothing had a colonial period feel, except for the extensive detail given to the clothing. Clara as a character was more fully fleshed out than any other, yet the reader is still left to imagine how she leapt from timid subservient, to history changing revolutionary, as there is so little growth in this direction. The audio edition is even worse. I played it at book club, and there were accusations of the voice being a computer auto read feature, as it is so stilted and halting. And the awkward impersonations brought me back, again, to an elementary school auditorium. While fun to brush up on my dusty American History, this historical fiction novel proved very disappointing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol 01-23-15
    Carol 01-23-15
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    "Good Histoical Fiction"
    Any additional comments?

    The story of Benedict Arnold's decision to betray the Americans and most notably George Washington showing the influence his wife Peggy Shippen, who valued things and status, had on his decision to give his support to the English for money and status. Well written and a fair depiction of the conditions in the colonies.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ses 12-30-14
    Ses 12-30-14
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    "Not great literature!"

    Very 'harlequin romance' writing - built around historical figures and events. I was reading it for my Book Club and so really needed to read all of it - the best moment was when I finished the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie O'Neil 07-17-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Wonderful story!"

    Characters come alive. Great conclusion. Very engaging. Nice narration, I liked the different voices she used.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JR1955 06-07-15
    JR1955 06-07-15 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    30
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    Story
    "Too many cliches"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Peggy Shippen has the potential to be a fascinating character study. This treatment of the Benedict Arnold story would have been interesting if the writing style had been less cliched.


    What was most disappointing about Allison Pataki’s story?

    The lead character and her husband are rendered as one-dimensional villains with no attempt to portray their human complexity. Their maid is allowed a bit more depth as the central character, but even she is so naive and meek that it is difficult to accept her final confrontation with Peggy. The secondary characters are also one-dimensional and the narrative is cliched. Characters' shoulders sag everytime they don't like what they hear. Even George Washington is reduced to bumbling by Peggy the man-eater.


    What didn’t you like about Madeleine Maby’s performance?

    The narrator uses an odd staccato delivery style lending an affected over-emphasis to each character voice. The pattern was so annoying that I tried increasing the speed. At 1.5 times faster delivery, the staccato was still evident but at least I got through the book more quickly.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I stayed with the book through the conclusion despite my urge to abandon it, which lends some merit to the author's ability to craft the plot of a well-known story by shifting the focus to Arnold's wife and maid.


    Any additional comments?

    This would be a good selection for a middle-school aged reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Fitzgerald 05-28-15
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    "Only OK"

    The speaker w as not good but and interesting story anyway. I wonder how much is true.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer ROCKFORD, IL, US 04-20-15
    Amazon Customer ROCKFORD, IL, US 04-20-15
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    "Interesting"

    The book is interesting and pushes me to search for the true historical thread through the narrative.

    The speaker in this audible book has a pleasant speaking voice and very clear diction. However, the use of "voices" for the various characters was distracting and diluted the story to that of a children's book (envision an elementary teacher making up voices for the picture book characters during circle time)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colleen Taunton, MA, United States 05-30-14
    Colleen Taunton, MA, United States 05-30-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Narration is horrible"
    What did you love best about The Traitor's Wife?

    Very interesting twist on the life of Benedict Arnold.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator did a horrible job of portraying the male characters in the book, her voice was not deep enough, and often failed to convey when man was speaking. Most especially her depiction of Benedict Arnold is purely awful. Why does she portray him as a man with a stutter? She depicts all of his speech as halting, and she actually does this with several of the characters. It is believable that this man was absolutely entranced by his wife, and catered to her every whim, but in real life he was a well respected General in the Revolutionary Army, he commanded the respect of many people before becoming a traitor. He was not a wimpy shrinking violet that this voice of narration makes him out to be.


    Any additional comments?

    Reading the kindle edition was a 5 star experience, listening to the audible edition was a 2 star experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richelle Sparta, MI, United States 05-14-14
    Richelle Sparta, MI, United States 05-14-14 Member Since 2013

    Nellie

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    "Loved this Story"

    Not sure how historically accurate this is but it was a great entertaining story! Really enjoyed it! Great characters with a little romance and a good ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Amazon Customer
    5/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Peggy Arnold"

    Money, Power, Respect...Peggy Arnold. Clara Bell, weldone! Caleb, the fine soldier with lovely hhazel eyes...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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