Deborah's Reviews > The Secrets of Mary Bowser

The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen
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's review
Jun 02, 2012

really liked it
Read from June 17 to 22, 2012

I had registered to win an advance copy of this book through the Goodreads First Read give-aways. I didn't win, but borrowed the book from the library and really enjoyed it. It introduced me to yet another aspect of Civil War history that I was unfamiliar with. Ms. Leveen's book is a novel, but is based on the real characters of Bet Van Lew and Mary Van Lew Bowser. Mary was born a slave in Richmond,Va., freed and educated in the North, then returned to Richmond; she worked for the Union as a spy during the Civil War. Very little is known of this brave and inspiring woman, so she has been fleshed out for us in Lois Leveen's imagination. Many factual events, historical figures, and actual correspondence and newspaper articles were incorporated within the fictional account. Very, very well done.

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