Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Traitor's Wife” as Want to Read:
The Traitor's Wife
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Traitor's Wife

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  10,309 ratings  ·  1,275 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Traitor's Wife, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Barbara M I just finished it and would recommend it to a 14 year old (I'm a Mom). I don't know if you are a male or female, I do think it might be more interest…moreI just finished it and would recommend it to a 14 year old (I'm a Mom). I don't know if you are a male or female, I do think it might be more interesting to a teenage girl than boy. It's written from the perspective of Clara, Peggy Arnold's maid. It's from a woman's point of view. Reading about the Revolutionary War from the point of view of a woman was interesting - it's not a viewpoint you often hear.

Peggy prior to being married to Benedict Arnold was quite a flirt and her behavior was considered bold for her time period. However, it would be considered rather tame today - just flirting. There wasn't any bad language in the book that I recall. (less)
Debra I would say it is 97% fiction, 3% facts. Benedict Arnold and his wife did conspire to commit treason with John Andre. She was beautiful, according to…more I would say it is 97% fiction, 3% facts. Benedict Arnold and his wife did conspire to commit treason with John Andre. She was beautiful, according to historians. There were a few more facts but that's about all for the truth. Read "Valiant Ambition" for a factual story of Benedict Arnold. It is a pretty easy non-fiction read.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,309 ratings  ·  1,275 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Traitor's Wife
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, best-reviews
So much wasted potential- the actual history behind Peggy Shippen is intriguing!

General Benedict Arnold from the continental army is known for the biggest betrayal during the Revolutionary War in 1780, when he attempted to sell the plans of the American occupied West Point to the British army and then fled to their side. His contact was Major John André, head of the British intelligence service, who was captured with the documents and then executed as spy. But between them stood a woman - Peggy
Aug 13, 2013 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
Apr 03, 2014 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
”’If you can’t break the rules, you might as well seduce the man who makes them.’”

Synopsis: Never underestimate the power of a spoiled brat who doesn’t get what she wants.

Peggy, Please Throw Away Your Shot… and the Wine Bottle: Nothing like a glass of wine at breakfast to keep Peggy Shippen Arnold powered through the day. The aforementioned spoiled brat in the synopsis, she’s the daughter of a highly respected judge and future wife of Benedict Arnold (though she would re
BAM Endlessly Booked
Ok I’ve owned this book since it was released, but I just now really paid attention to the synopsis. I’m afraid to get my hopes up because Peggy sounds perfectly notorious! I need some nonfiction on this gal
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
This was a fantastic book! I had never heard of Peggy Shippen and had no idea the part she played in Benedict Arnold's treason during the American Revolution.

This story was very well written and had me absorbed into it! I so wanted Peggy to get what she deserved, but at least her servants were able to break free in the end.

I appreciated the author's note at the end regarding what was historically accurate and what was fiction. Amazing how much of it was true!

This is my third book by this auth
Jan 20, 2014 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 06, 2014 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
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
Paul Pessolano
Jan 15, 2014 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 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I was really looking forward to reading The Traitor's Wife. I absolutely love historical fiction. This one seems to miss the mark. It's not that it isn't an entertaining read. I suppose it all depends on your expectations as you enter into the story. If you enjoy romance novels, then this one fits the bill for you. The depiction of Peggy Shippen as solely a spoiled, self-indulged, demanding woman makes for good copy, but it really doesn't hold enough interest. Peggy had to be far more than that ...more
Feb 02, 2014 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
Jeannette Dilouie
I'm not trying to be a jerk, but the fact that this book has such a high rating doesn't say anything good about the educational levels of its readers.

I enjoyed myself well enough for the first half, despite how the characters use each other's names practically EVERY time they address someone... how small historical and character details were out of place (e.g. on one page, the love interest's hair color is described as "dark blond," while on the very next page, his hair is described as "light b
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: united-states
This book is well researched, so if you enjoy historical fiction, you will probably find this an enjoyable read. It is written from the perspective of Peggy Arnold’s servant, Clara. It develops a fresh perspective on Benedict Arnold and why he became a traitor in the American Revolution, largely because of the demands and manipulation of his wife.
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
Jan 19, 2014 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
May 09, 2015 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
Allison Pataki re-invents the discovery and foil of Benedict Arnold’s treason plot by creating a role for a servant who observes all the planning. The plot is clever as are the descriptions of upstairs and downstairs life at the time.

The writing is simple, so it is easy to turn pages, which I did to see how Pataki would tie it all up.

Arnold is shown as sensitive and totally entranced by the young and beautiful Peggy Shippen. In his married life, there are glimmers of his differences with Peggy;
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5 rounded up. The good--great true-to-life characters, a beautiful cover and a relatively unknown bit of history. This was an extremely easy to read book and very little adult content, so it could have easily been classified as YA. (I put this in the good because it really boosted my yearly pages read stat.)

In historical fiction, the writer knows point A and point B, and the idea is to fill in the gap with what could have happened. Pataki (the daughter of NY governor George) writes a plot tha
I have had this book on my TBR pile since it was released back in 2014. Not knowing anything about Benedict Arnold I wanted to know his past and what he did to earn him the traitor title.

I have read the author’s subsequent books, The Accidentally Empress and Sisi both of which I enjoyed as well and her nonfiction Beauty in the Broken Places, as she talks candidly about her husband's stroke and the next year of their lives.

It’s 1778 when The Traitor’s Wife begins with a smattering of 1780 thrown
Judith E
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A dialogue-heavy recounting of a 200 year old historical event, laden with silly romantic activities is too much to bear. It might appeal to a younger reader. DNF at 18%.
Lisa Johnson
Feb 07, 2014 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
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, book-club
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
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The Traitor's Wife" is the story of Clara, a maid to Peggy Shippen, who becomes Peggy Arnold, wife of Benedict Arnold, quite possibly the United States' greatest traitor. I hardly knew anything about Peggy Arnold and was intrigued about reading about what the wife of such an infamous man was like. Turns out, while she's fascinating, she is one of the "bad guys," too.

Peggy is pretty terrible but she's a character that you love to hate and this makes the book really entertaining. When we first me
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 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, june-2014
Five stars does not even begin to tell you how wonderful this book is! Honestly, I never gave Benedict Arnold's wife any thought before the publication of this book by Allison Pataki. I found Margaret "Peggy" Shippen Arnold to be a very fascinating woman. One minute I felt she was just a spoiled little "Daddy's girl". The next minute, a selfish conniving woman who will stop at nothing short of treason to get all she wants! And, now I have a bit of a different view of Benedict Arnold. I recommend ...more
Maureen Grigsby
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was delighted to read this historical fiction about Benedict Arnold and his wife, the former Pefgin Schaffer. Although I vaguely knew that General Benedict Arnold was synonymous with treason, I didn’t know the story behind that betrayal. Allison Petaki does a very nice job of bringing this story to life. there isn’t an abundance of literature about the Revolutionary War, so I found this novel to be quite interesting.
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Maybe more 4 1/2. For some reason towards the end when the whole "treason" thing heated up I got impatient for it to end. I loved Clara and Cal and that whole plot line. I felt sorry for Arnold at certain points but more annoyed at the end he got off easy (in my opinion) overall, a good book set in colonial America. ...more
Jamie Sorenson
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely phenomenal! It has motivated me to be more interested in history. A person can completely relate to and see things through Clara the servants eyes. Definitely makes you look at Benedict Arnold and Peg Shippen in a different light. I had more grace for Benedict Arnold, even though I this books makes you think he is a manipulated fool. I think Peg was a sociopath who took being self absorbed to levels not conceivable. Even George Washington was manipulated by Peg. I glad there was repri ...more
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this piece of historical fiction. I read some reviews that blasted it for being fictional and not accurately portraying the characters. I guess that could be a complaint, but this is a piece of fiction and the author didn't try to say that this was how it all happened. It was a nice escape and I always love hearing about Benedict Arnold and his attempt to sell out West Point. Whether or not this was one hundred percent accurate didn't affect my enjoyment. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Secret Wife of Aaron Burr: A Riveting Untold Story of the American Revolution
  • 355: The Women of Washington's Spy Ring (Women Spies Book 1)
  • America's First Daughter
  • I, Eliza Hamilton
  • My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton
  • Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution's Women
  • Lily of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter, #1)
  • The Women of Chateau Lafayette
  • Sweet Mercy
  • Yellow Wife
  • Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good
  • Mrs. Lincoln's Sisters
  • Washington's Lady (Ladies of History, #3)
  • The Orchard House
  • Lady Clementine
  • American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt
  • The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold: An American Life
  • The Indigo Girl
See similar books…

Her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages, has been featured on The TODAY Show, The NY Times, The Huffington Post, USA Today, FOX News, Morning Joe, and more.

Visit to connec

Articles featuring this book

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our list, we...
14 likes · 1 comments
“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?” 11 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.” 2 likes
More quotes…