Finishing Becca: A Story about Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold
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Finishing Becca: A Story about Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,171 ratings  ·  56 reviews
An independent-minded young maid tells the story of social-climber Peggy Shippen and how she influenced Benedict Arnold’s betrayal of the Patriot forces. Revolutionary Philadelphia is brought to life as Becca seeks to find her “missing pieces” while exploring the complicated issues of the war between the impoverished independence men and the decadent British Tories. “This...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1994)
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11th out of 74 books — 109 voters
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Kathryn
3.75 STARS

I haven't read Rinaldi since my early teens (Time Enough for Drums seemed SO thrilling and romantic at the time!) and I'm not sure if this book just wasn't as good as some of those I read back then, or if I wasn't as wowed because I have read some truly great authors since then and Rinaldi just doesn't quite hold up.

That said, this was still a very enjoyable and fast read that held my interest and she did a fine job of incorporating fact with fiction. At times the theme of Becca needi...more
Bronwyn
This book has everything I love in Ann Rinaldi's books. History, intrigue, interesting characters, and then her author's note telling you what's true or not. Really great. Will have to reread some others here soon.
Ann
I LOVED me some Ann Rinaldi when I was twelve, and I bought this book during that obsession, yet never read it due to my freakish book organization rules. I thought that she did a great job of making history accessible to younger readers, without talking down to them (she gives a glossary of lesser-known historical terms at the end of the book instead). Since the main character is always the same age as the intended reader, it makes it easy for us to understand and relate to a person that could...more
Isabel Jacobs
Becca Syng is a clever girl on the quest to find her "missing pieces." When her mother sends her to the Philidelphia home of the Shippens, a wealthy Quaker family, to be "finished," Becca begins to think that she is meant to live like they do, surrounded by riches. Yet as the servant to Peggy Shippen, a spoiled, pretty daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Shippen, Becca realizes that the life of the wealthy isn't how it looks on the outside. Peggy is constantly manipulating her parents for everything they c...more
Shoshanah
Finishing Becca takes place during the American Revolution in Philadelphia. The title refers to how Becca's mother sends Becca to be a maid in the Shippen household to help her find her missing peices and become a finished woman. While in the household she becomes aquianted with General Benedict Arnold.

From elementary school I know who the traitor Benedict Arnold is. But while I knew we betrayed the American to the British, I wasn't sure the details of the event. By the end of the book I can't s...more
Caroline
When my 5th grade son brought this book home as his reading group assignment, I found the story so interesting that I asked to borrow a copy so that I could read along. Initially, I found fictionalized story of Becca Syng, a lady's maid to Peggy Shippen during the American Revolutionary War, to be fairly compelling. But after awhile, about the time that Peggy turned coat to court Benedict Arnold, the story seemed to fall flat, with little historical detail and even less insight into Becca's inne...more
Rebecca Radnor
The book is based on historical events and written in two parts, first the British occupation of Philadelphia when Peggy Shippen a local beauty becomes close friends with the British commander John André, and second, when the Patriots retake the city and Peggy meets and marries Benedict Arnold, and then Arnold's ultimate betrayal of the patriots with André hung as a spy for helping Arnold in his attempt to surrender West Point to the British. (If this is a spoiler for you than, I'm sorry, but yo...more
Annabel ♥
This review can also be found on Leopard Kitty Books, http://leopardkittybooks.blogspot.com . :)

The day I bought this book was one of those days that I kept staring and staring at the YA section of the bookstore and every book looked the same and none of them interesting. Usually I just can't get enough of YA books but that day I was looking for something new, something different from the books that I usually read. Well I was right. This book was certainly different from most of the books I have...more
Jessica
Sep 19, 2007 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 13 And Up
A fascinating story, told from Becca's point of view, a maid to Peggy Shippen...predestined wife of Benedict Arnold, the traitor to the United States of America during the American War for Independence. I LOVE this book!!

Here's a Snopsis that I found on Amazon.com by Bethany:

Fourteen year old Becca Syng feels like pieces of her are missing. So when her mother secures her a job as a maidservant in return for lessons in french, dancing, and needlepoint, she believes that it will help her find hers...more
Honoré
Apr 06, 2008 Honoré added it
Recommends it for: people 12 and over
I just finished reading the book "Finishing Becca: A story about Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold" by Ann Rinaldi, for my Women’s History Month project. "Finishing Becca" takes place during the Revolutionary War. It is about a fourteen year-old girl named Becca Syng who becomes a maidservant for Peggy Shippen, a beautiful, wealthy and spoiled Quaker daughter. Her mom sends her to work for Peggy Shippen in hopes that Becca will receive a finishing education and find her “missing pieces.” Peggy S...more
Caroline
i found this book rather hard to follow, yet quite compelling. It was interesting and gave you a sense of both Becca and Peggy's personalities. I love this book over all, it makes you feel like you are Becca Syng. I dont understand why Becca's mother married Henry though, he's a double agent and is almost never sober (or at least sane).
Tgirl
I don't always enjoy Ann Rinaldi's writing, but this one I really enjoyed (it wasn't as good as GIRL IN BLUE, of course). I even had a favorite quote: "And at night, just before I close my eyes, when I am in that limbo of half sleep, I see Peggy. I hear her gown rustling. And I hear her voice. 'Well, you've finished yourself now, Becca, haven't you?' And even half asleep, I murmur, 'No, Peggy, no. Because there's one thing I've learned above all. No one is ever finished. Are you?'"
Of course, you...more
Tracy
Still a great book. It does a good job of showing the Revolutionary War from the Mid Atlantic states' point of view. The best part is before Peggy Shippen marries Arnold. In this section, Rinaldi creates a complicated and interesting cast of characters. However, in the second section Becca, the servant girl for Peggy, starts oddly telling the future and what not. She has "a feeling" that Arnold is evil etc. Still, a great book reccomended for the high school or even college aged in order to get...more
Sandra Strange
Becca Syng goes into the Quaker Shippen household as Peggy Shippen’s lady’s maid to escape her harsh stepfather and to be “finished,” to learn the graces befitting a lady. She also wants to “finish” herself, since she feels like part of her is missing, an important part. She is embroiled in Peggy’s life, from her tumultuous romance with a British officer to her courtship, then marriage to Benedict Arnold. Becca witnesses the results of the marriage, momentous to American history, and to Becca’s...more
Sydney
Another book on the revolution war. I love this time period. It makes for great stories. This book focused on the life of Peggy and the part in the betrayal of Benedict Arnold, through the eye's of Becca, Peggy's personal maid. I really loved Becca, and was really shocked at learning how the high class of the 1700's acted. Peggy was a brat, but a smart one.

So, my rating is more like 4.5. Almost five stars, but not quite five stars.
Marné Yates
I just love, love, love this book. I definitely consider it one of Ann Rinaldi's best. I feel like I'm in the story, walking the stairs and running my fingers through the satin dresses. Rinaldi does an amazing job of tying actual events into the life of an imaginary girl, and in the end, the reader is left wishing that she were real.

Warnings: The shameful act of kissing a girl in the middle of the street, in broad daylight.
Regina
I love Ann Rinaldi's books. Her historical afterwords are always interesting and contain further information on the non-fictional subjects. Her stories are well written and plotted. I selected this one to add to my reads first since it's set in Philadelphia. I love how the contrast is shown between Peggy Shippen's life during the British occupation and after, and her struggle to maintain her social standing.
Amy
Ann Rinaldi is the one to read for early American historical fiction. She is very good with her research, and is very prolific! Choose a person or subject (Did Thomas Jefferson father a child by one of his slaves? to The Salem Witch trials) and she has probably written a book about it. Most of them can be found in the teen section, but don't let that turn you off.
Madeleine
I liked this book. A nice, light read, filled with Peggy Shippen's delicious cattiness and general ignorance about the suffering world around her. Very interesting as Ann Rinaldi explores yet another side of the Revolution, the side seemingly left unaffected by the war, a side which inspires to feelings, one of near sympathy and one of disgust.
Suzanne
I found this in my daughter's room while cleaning out her book case and thought I would read it. A sweet read about a girl, whose mother sent her to live with a wealthy family because they were too poor to send Becca to a finishing school. It is her story as she became educated by the family in so many more ways than her mother had anticipated.
Jessica N.
I enjoyed this book immensely! It was my "waiting" book - I kept it in the car and whenever I had to wait somewhere, I read it. I enjoy historical fiction and this one was very good. Well written. I've never studied Benedict Arnold and his wife before, and this was a good introduction.
Kati
May 25, 2011 Kati rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya-lit
An interesting fiction account of Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold, told from the point of view of her maid, Becca Syng. I didn't really know much about Benedict Arnold before reading this book so it was kind of interesting. The author's note at the end was interesting as well.
Kelli
Really intriguing book and makes you want to learn more. Ann Rinaldi always does amazing things to make historical stories seem much more real. This story isn't a very favorite of the author's, I think I did get bored through some of the slower moments. But overall good to read.
Linda
I like Ann Rinaldi's historical novels for teens. In Finishing Becca, the heroine, a maid in the Shippen household, observes the events leading up to Benedict Arnold's treasonous betrayal of his country. Ann Rinaldi creates believable and compelling characters who bring history alive.
Janet
since i am related to benedict i really wanted to see what made him tick. and of course it was his heart and peggy shippen. interesting to read about them. i have an arnold line in my fam tree . luckily he is not my direct ancestor ha. but he is definitely in the family. :0)
Art
Seen by a young lady of good breeding and family who desires to be something/someone who she is not. Coming of age during the American Revolutionary War.
Also what it was like to be an indentured servant and help out one's family.
Great book, research and insight.
Karen
I like historical fiction books because I feel like I'm learning something, but I'm still having fun. This book doesn't give a really good history of the revolutionary war, but it does give a feeling of what life was like in Pennsylvania during that time.
Victorianromantic
I had a rather venemous outlook on Benedict Arnold. He seemed to be a great asset to the American side, until his head was perhaps poisoned? It seems near nothing can explain the disarray of his betrayal, and the occupation of Philedelphia.
Shauna
Enjoyable. Fast reading. Made me want to read up on Peggy and Benedict Arnold. I especially liked that the author clearly separated the truth from the fiction at the end of the story and even went on to tell how their real-life story ended.
Anna
I loved this book. Ann Rinaldi has a wonderful way with historical fiction. I love history and this book was a very helpful way to learn about this particular subject. The characters really come to life in a way that history books don't show.
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What age were you when you read Ann Rinadi's books? 1 3 Oct 05, 2012 02:58PM  
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  • The Dreamer, Volume 2
  • Beyond The Burning Time
  • North by Night: A Story of the Underground Railroad
  • The Hollow Tree
  • One Eye Laughing, the Other Eye Weeping: The Diary of Julie Weiss, Vienna, Austria, to New York, 1938 (Dear America)
  • Cannons at Dawn: The Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1779 (Dear America)
  • Stowaway
  • Welcome to Felicity's World · 1774: Growing Up in Colonial America (American Girls Collection)
  • Girl in a Cage (Stuart Quartet, #2)
  • The Star Fisher
  • Soldier's Secret: The Story of Deborah Sampson
  • The Wind Blows Backward
  • George Washington's Socks
  • The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl, New Mexico, 1864 (Dear America)
  • A True and Faithful Narrative
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Ann Rinaldi (b. August 27, 1934, in New York City) is a young adult fiction author. She is best known for her historical fiction, including In My Father's House, The Last Silk Dress, An Acquaintance with Darkness, A Break with Charity, and Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons. She has written a total of forty novels, eight of which were listed as notable by the ALA. In 2000, Wolf by the Ears was lis...more
More about Ann Rinaldi...
A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials Time Enough for Drums Girl in Blue The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre The Last Silk Dress

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