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The Traitor's Wife: The Woman Behind Benedict Arnold and the Plan to Betray America

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,074 Ratings  ·  715 Reviews
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 Andre, who was apprehend
Paperback, 496 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Howard Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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Feb 17, 2014 Erin rated it liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I was more than a little excited when I first stumbled across Allison Pataki's The Traitor's Wife. Though familiar with the story of Benedict Arnold's betrayal, I'd never read a fictional account of it and couldn't believe my luck when Howard Books approved my request for an ARC four months before its Feb. 2014 release date.

Looking back on that enthusiasm makes it hard admit, but I'm a reviewer and can't deny this debut wasn
”We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”- C.S. Lewis

Setting:Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and The Hudson Valley, New York; 1778-1780

Coverly Love?:Yes! I love the dress the woman is wearing, and the cover is even more intriguing when you see the spine.

Plot: American schoolchildren everywhere know the story of Benedict Arnold and his friend John Andre. How they betrayed the United States during the Revolutionary War by defecting to the British. But behind every conniving
Apr 07, 2014 Doris rated it it was ok
I was particularly interested in reading this book as I live in the Hudson Valley region of NY, where part of the story takes place. And I've read some brilliant historical fiction; unfortunately, this book did not measure up.
I found the cast of characters to be two dimensional and quite dull (Peggy, on the other hand, was so colorful she strayed into the stereotypical). Clara's colorless persona set the tone (as first and third person narrator) and nearly all of the plot unfolded through her ey
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
I remember reading about Benedict Arnold in high school and all I can remember even now was that he was a traitor to this country. I had forgotten the circumstances surrounding the details of his betrayal to this country during the American Revolution as we were fighting the British to declare our freedom from King George. What's even more remarkable is the novel from author Allison Pataki that takes all her research into the events surrounding Benedict Arnold and George Washington and filling i ...more
Jan 29, 2014 Madilyn rated it it was ok
I was really disappointed in this book. I usually love historical fiction that is based off of real life events. I like getting a new perspective on the characters situation. But this book was one of those that I just couldn't wait to finish so that I could be done with it. I was expecting something a little less . . . vulgar. Though I didn't expect Peggy to be portrayed as a nice person, (she is the wife of a traitor, after all), I most certainly didn't expect to find such a tramp in the lead ...more
Apr 15, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it
I have to admit that I really didn't know much about Benedict Arnold except that he betrayed America in the Revolution... and whether this was entirely historically accurate it still peaked my interest in finding out more about Arnold and his wife!!! Loved Clara and was so glad the story was told from her point if view... no one sees and hears more than an 'invisible' person!!! I also really liked Peggy... she was a master manipulator and a really fun character to root against!!! I wonder how Ol ...more
Paul Pessolano
Jan 17, 2014 Paul Pessolano rated it liked it
“The Traitor’s Wife” by Allison Pataki, published by Howard Books.

Category – Historical Fiction/Romance Publication Date – February 11, 2014.

“The Traitor’s Wife” is very low on historical accuracy but very high on romance. The story is based on Peggy Shippen who married Benedict Arnold and was able to convince him that his country had betrayed him and that he therefore should have no qualms about betraying his country.

Peggy Shippen was the daughter of Judge Shippen of Philadelphia, one would be
Jan 21, 2014 Aimee rated it really liked it
Everyone knows the story of Benedict Arnold and I was thrilled to get to read this book and get a more detailed look at the events that turned this man into a traitor. Pataki did not disappoint with a great story that kept me reading well into the night.

The story is told through the eyes of Clara, the maid to Arnold's wife Peggy. Clara is strong, intelligent, and has the unenviable job of looking after one of the most selfish women I have ever read in a book. Pataki does a great job of bringing
Caroline Wilson
**Appears in the February 2014 edition of the Historical Novel Review**

Beautiful. Tempestuous. Cunning. Peggy Shippen is all these things. As the reigning belle of Philadelphia society during the British occupation of 1778, she is admired by men and envied by women. First the lover of the notorious British spy John Andre, and then the wife of celebrated American general-turned-traitor Benedict Arnold, Peggy and her story are brought to life through the eyes of her loyal maid, Clara Bell.

The Trai
Feb 02, 2014 Marlene rated it really liked it
Originally published at Reading Reality

The Traitor’s Wife is the best kind of historical fiction; the story feels true even though the reader knows that there isn’t any way to verify how people felt, or what they said in every conversation.

You end up wanting this to be the real story. And maybe it is.

History is so often written from the perspective of the men who seem to be the prime movers and shakers, but, history is written by the victors. For much of history, women were put on a pedestal and
Jan 17, 2016 Susanne rated it it was ok
I WANTED to like this book, because it was recommended by a person I like and admire -- but it was hard to get past the depiction of Benedict Arnold's wife as a patently cardboard villainess. Peggy Shippen Arnold was imagined to out-Scarlet Scarlet O'Hara -- has any character ever been more mean, petty, and self-centered than this? {Plus she likes sex and is immodest -- gasp. Author Pataki paints her with a VERY broad brush.) The actual facts of the tale of Benedict Arnold's duplicity seem to me ...more
Feb 23, 2016 Jamie rated it really liked it
It seems as though 2015 has been the year of “Let’s read and watch everything about the Revolutionary War.” From TURN on AMC (they changed the night it’s on, so sadly it doesn’t work to recap it on the blog) to books, to documentaries, seriously Internet, I feel like George and I are b/f/fs. This was a perfect read to feed my current obsession.

Peggy Shippen is awful in her treatment of other human beings. Spoiled, manipulative and caring only for herself, she’s one of those characters you truly
Mar 20, 2015 Alexa rated it liked it
FIRST THOUGHTS: I love reading historical fiction that teaches me something I didn't know too much about - and that's exactly what this book did. It started off a bit slow for me, but ultimately picked up by the end.


Personally, the reason it is enjoyable to indulge in historical fiction is because it always offers a fresh, unique perspective on historical figures and events. The Traitor's Wife is certainly a welcome addition to this genre, especially for someone who hasn't read much literat
Lisa Johnson
Feb 07, 2014 Lisa Johnson rated it it was amazing
Title: The Traitor’s Wife
Author: Allison Pataki
Pages: 496
Year: 2014
Publisher: Howard Books
What a riveting, suspenseful and thoroughly entertaining novel! When I approach a historical novel of this magnitude, I usually read the author’s notes on the research that sometimes details which characters are from reality and those which are purely fiction. One reason I do that is so as I am reading, I can savor the richness of both the history shared along with the imagination of the writer. While I rem
Feb 01, 2014 Faith rated it it was amazing
The flow of time and the way of memory and the records of history are strange and beautiful things. The past birthed the present; the thoughts and actions of people long dead shape us now. It is crazy to think about it, that the door to the past is locked so firmly and yet we are still influenced by it. We can still dream and write and think about it. We can never get back the to days of the Revolutionary War, we can never share the experiences of the men and women involved... except through a g ...more
Erin Germain
I've read some of the other reviews that people have written, and I can agree that this probably takes some liberties with historical fact (aside from blending characters, giving credit for events to fictional characters, etc.), but I knew this was a novel going in, so I looked past them.

The story is about Peggy Shippen, a young belle living in Philadelphia during the American Revolution. She seemed to have quite a bit more freedom than I had thought was the case in 18th century Colonial America
Brandi (Rambles of a SAHM)
I am completely amazed that this is a first novel for Allison Pataki. She has taken a well known story and fleshed it out into an even more intriguing tale than we have all read about in our history textbooks.

When I think of Benedict Arnold it is often hard to fathom how he could be such a decorated war hero but in the end wind up being such a traitor to the country he fought so hard to defend. In The Traitor's Wife some of that mystery is revealed. Through the eyes of Clara, the trusted maid to
Apr 14, 2014 Jeanie rated it really liked it
Since it has been while since Junior High on American History, it was fun (yes I love history and history is fun) to go back and have some insight during that time in our American history. As I was reading about our characters, I also googled to get some more background on Benedict Arnold and his wife Peggy. The pride of Bendedict was his down fall and could have been the down fall of the United States if his plan would have come to fruit. The story revealed very well Bendedict's bitterness and ...more
Feb 25, 2015 Suze rated it really liked it
I love historical fiction, especially when the author can make you imagine what life was like in the era they chose to write about. Allison Pataki did just that for me with this novel.

I gained an even higher regard for those who put their lives at risk to free America from England's harsh rule. The characters in this book, many of them who were real heroes, were willing to give everything to win freedom for our new country.

Benedict Arnold betrayed his country, as we all know, but was there a wom
Claudia Silk
May 21, 2016 Claudia Silk rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Really interesting story and since my dad was a historian and did many talks about the Andre/Benedict Arnold it was of particular interest to me. I would recommend to those who really like their historical fiction.
Nov 13, 2015 Lorraine rated it liked it
Benedict Arnold was an American Revolution traitor. I am quite sure that anyone who studied American history knows that fact. Most of us, I would guess, did not know that his wife has a great deal to do with his decision to betray his country. In this historical novel, the author uses historical documents to “prove” that Arnold was seduced by his wife to become a traitor. How much of an influence she really had, is not known. So the author weaves this intriguing story about Peggy Shippen, who wa ...more
May 10, 2015 Stacy rated it liked it
I did enjoy learning more about the Benedict Arnold plot/scandal and the part his wife played in it, which was much larger than we had all been led to believe in learning about it in tender years. And it does seem the author has done her research. (And I am aware that this is a work of fiction based on factual incidents.) I did have a problem with so many of the characters, both fictional and non-fictional, being portrayed as all good or all evil. Benedict Arnold was actually the most interestin ...more
Graham Crawford
Jan 13, 2015 Graham Crawford rated it liked it
The genre of Historical Fiction seems to range a bit wider in style and sophistication than many other types of stories. My taste is for the more literary books - The Gore Vidal and Hilary Mantel send of the spectrum. 'The Traitor's Wife', is closer to the other - the light Romantic Fiction end. This is not precisely a bodice ripper - there *are* two bodices that get ripped - though the lady does the ripping herself and more words are devoted to the maid who does the mending. There were a few to ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Mara rated it really liked it
This was pretty entertaining. I wouldn't say that the characterizations are the most subtle I've ever seen--I doubt that Peggy Arnold was really this shallow or Benedict Arnold this gullible--but it was fun to root against them and for the sweet, slightly stupid maid, Clara, as she (mostly ineptly) tries to save the American cause. (I think my favorite part is when the Arnolds get a list of numbers and a dictionary from their contact on the British side and cast it aside thinking he's mocking th ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Great story and very well written. Loved her use of the fictional characters and story to guide and show the history and events of the revolutionary period. Loved the development of Clara over the course of the book.
Mar 30, 2014 Jenn rated it liked it
I found the second half of this better than the first. I especially enjoyed the epilogue that describes how much of this story was based on true events and real characters.
Norma Dewbre
Feb 27, 2014 Norma Dewbre rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Couldn't put it down. Based on lots of facts of Benedict Arnold's betrayal
Feb 02, 2016 Laxmi rated it really liked it
"The Traitor's Wife" is a historical tale of manipulation, seduction, conspiracy and betrayal. Young Peggy Shippen is a notoriously beautiful socialite living a life of mindless luxury. Her maid, young and country-grown Clara Bell narrates as Peggy gambles, parties, and dallies with British Major John André, ignoring the political turmoil quickly ensconcing the country. Her loyalties and sympathies, which initially lie amongst the British, shift drastically and suspiciously when Benedict Arnold ...more
Jun 07, 2015 Erin rated it really liked it
Most people interested in American history; specifically the American Revolution are aware of how the name Benedict Arnold has become synonymous with the word "traitor." In her debut novel, Allison Pataki takes us behind the historical man and focuses on the woman behind the man and her overlooked role in plotting treason against the young American nation.

We are told the story through the eyes of the fictional Clara Bell, the newly arrived farm girl to the Philadelphia home of Judge Shippen, Cla
This started off as one of those books that I was admittedly reluctant to read because - let's be real here, the only thing I knew about Benedict Arnold was that he was a traitor to the United States. Beyond that, I didn't know anything else. History had never been my best subject in school, so I'm pretty sure that anything else about B. Arnold other than his 'smoove moves' went into one ear and out the other. Besides, it was probably during the time that I thought I was hopelessly in love with ...more
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Allison is the NYTimes Bestselling author of 'The Traitor's Wife,' 'The Accidental Empress,' and 'Sisi: Empress On Her Own.' Visit to connect and find out more.
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“I suppose the true test of character comes when facing life’s harshest blows and disappointments. When things don’t turn out how you had hoped they would, do you grow bitter? Spiteful? Blame others and spread your misery? Or do you keep your head high and walk with grace, meeting the struggles which God has placed in your path?” 6 likes
“She cared nothing for Robert Balmor, and in fact had felt relief each time she’d remembered that both he and André were gone. Letting that man kiss her had been foolish and naïve, but it was none of Cal’s business.” 1 likes
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