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The Secrets of Mary Bowser

Leveen, Lois (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Secrets of Mary Bowser
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"Based on the true story of Mary Bowser, a freed slave who returns to Virginia to spy on the Confederates, The Secrets of Mary Bowser is the powerful story of a woman who must sacrifice her freedom to truly achieve it"--Provided by publisher.
Authors: Leveen, Lois, 1968-
Title: The secrets of Mary Bowser
Publisher: New York : William Morrow, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 453 p. ;,21 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Lois Leveen
Summary: "Based on the true story of Mary Bowser, a freed slave who returns to Virginia to spy on the Confederates, The Secrets of Mary Bowser is the powerful story of a woman who must sacrifice her freedom to truly achieve it"--Provided by publisher.
ISBN: 9780062107909
0062107909
Branch Call Number: FICTION LEVEEN 2012
Subject Headings: Bowser, Mary Elizabeth, approximately 1840- Fiction Freedmen Fiction Women spies Fiction United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Secret service Fiction
Genre/Form: Biographical fiction
Topical Term: Freedmen
Women spies
Authors, American
LCCN: 2011038111
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Based on the true story of Mary Bowser, a freed slave who returns to Virginia to spy on the Confederates, this book tells the powerful story of a woman who must sacrifice her freedom to truly achieve it.


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Oct 15, 2013
  • hmcgivney rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I very much enjoyed the first half of the book: the story of Mary's childhood and home life, her parents loving and relatively well-off (for slaves), but still under the constant threat of being sold away from each other. Even more interesting was Mary's emancipation, and her fish-out-of-water tale of going to school for the first time and coming out in Philadelphia's black society. For some reason I lost my momentum and felt less engaged with the second half, where Mary is spying in the Gray House. One thing that kind of got to me is that Mary believes herself responsible for all of the important Union victories of the Civil War, even suggesting that a major loss was only because she deliberately withheld information so that the war wouldn't end too quickly (before emancipation). And after a while the cycle of espionage, threat of discovery, old mistress commandeering Mary for some dangerous task, husband questioning wife's safety, but Mary deciding to do the dangerous task anyway, began to feel a little repetitive. Still, the writing was good and the story seems to be well-researched and historically accurate, which means a lot to me.

Jun 11, 2012
  • PennyKollar9685 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

a fascinating story, well written, but perhaps went on for just a tad longer than necessary.

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Jan 12, 2013
  • Leveen rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Trailer, The Secrets of Mary Bowser

Book trailer for this novel based on the true story of a slave who became a Union spy in the Confederate White House

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Version pocillo (pocillo) Last updated 2014/08/29 09:56