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Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel of George Washington's First Love

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  623 ratings  ·  152 reviews
A novel about heiress Mary Philipse's relationship with George Washington, based on historical accounts, letters, and personal journals by nine-time New York Emmy award-winning journalist Mary Calvi.

"Love is said to be an involuntary passion, and it is, therefore, contended that it cannot be resisted." --George Washington

Did unrequited love help spark a flame that ignited
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by St. Martin's Press
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Angela M
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was ok

Im always a little hesitant to read biographical novels because its hard to separate the truth from the fiction, but I couldnt resist this one because it just sounded so interesting. When I think of George Washington and his personal life its Martha who comes to mind. This book tells the story of a romance in Washingtons earlier life with Mary Philipse, a young NY heiress. The author assures the reader in her opening note that the novel is based on thousands of letters, journal entries,
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review

A lot of research went into the writing of George Washington and his first love, Mary Eliza Philipse in the 1750's. Never having heard of the woman "before Martha ", I was quite intrigued. The author illustrates a young man on the rise in the army and the people that loved him and were jealous of him. Mary Eliza Philipse was the "belle of the North " and when she meets the dashing army officer it is
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs...

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I want to note that Im in the minority when it comes to Mary Calvis Dear George, Dear Mary. Most readers really loved the time they spent with this book and as such, I hope anyone reading this takes my feedback with a grain of salt.

Calvi based this story on a little-known chapter of George Washingtons life and while I liked the material, I found the thesis difficult to swallow. I dont
A heartbreaking love story intertwined with George Washingtons military exploits


This ill-fated love story between New York heiress Mary Eliza Philipse with George Washington is based on historical accounts, letters, and personal journals. Twenty-four-year-old Washington has just been appointed Colonel of the Virginia Regiment and commander-in-chief of all forces of the colony. Mary is rich and ravishingly beautiful, but she is haunted by the loss of her parents, her sister, and a
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Tl;dr: An interesting premise that can't decide if it's fiction or nonfiction and the result is a dense almost story that fails to convince.

The idea behind Dear George, Dear Mary is a great one--what about George Washington's life prior to the Revolutionary War helped shape him?--and how did his romance with Mary Philipse play a role?

Mary Calvi definitely did her research, which is wonderful, but instead of using it to build a story, she just uses it--presents it--which would be fine in
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Oct 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2018
DEAR GEORGE, DEAR MARY is the story about George Washington's relationship with Mary Philipse. Mary Calvi has written a story based on hundreds of letters, witness accounts, and journal entries, reconstructing George Washington courting of New York heiress Mary Philipse.

Deanne Patterson
A fascinating novel featuring George Washington's first love, New York heiress Mary Philipse, the richest belle in Colonial America.
Dear George, Dear Mary is the result of hundreds of letters, witness accounts, and journal entries. Elegant descriptions of eighteenth century life from ballrooms to the bloody battlefields.
I had never heard of Mary Philipse before I read this book and though this is fiction I will look her up to read more about her and her fascinating life.
Published February
I found this story quite interesting in that it gave the reader a different picture of George Washington. His 150 rules of conduct were obviously something he tried very hard to live by, and they all appeared to be supported by either common sense or good morals.

It was obvious that Calvi's historical research for this book was plentiful, yet it was difficult to determine what was really fact and what was fiction. We always seem to look at Washington either from a military or presidential point
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
I have long been fascinated by George Washington. So, naturally I was intrigued by the idea of Dear George, Dear Mary.

Honestly, this was not a story I enjoyed and barely finished. I know that George Washington had relationships with women and feelings for at least one before and after his marriage to Martha. His relationship with Sally Fairfax is well known. However, I was unaware of the existence of Mary Philipse before reading this novel.

While I appreciate that the author did extensive
Cathy Daniel
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Nope nope NOPE! This book started so well and I was even ok with overlooking the purple prose and the more fiction than fact but this author took way too liberal license to make Washington a cheater and cheated on his wife with the now married Mary. I just don't see it after we see his character so strongly. Ugh just ruined this book for me. It was a 4 star read before this crap. I prefer historical fiction about real people to be rooted in fact. She even changed the entire reason behind the ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
1756, Yonkers-On-Hudson, NY

Mary Eliza Philipse is nervous about the upcoming ball at Philipse Manor. She is to celebrate her 21st birthday and 220 guests including the most celebrated colonel of the colonies, George Washington, are to be attending.

1753, Fredericksburg, Virginia

George Washington walks alone in wilderness in the early hours of the morning as he is to deliver a letter, he thinks Tis better to be alone than in bad company.

As a boy, he had written down 110 rules that he had learned
It is easy to see this novel's appeal. Who isn't a little bit interested in the romantic side of George Washington? We know him as a battle-hardened soldier and stoic statesman, but a lovelorn young man - that's more difficult to envision. So, I jumped at the chance to read this book through NetGalley.

I really enjoyed the style of writing and the inclusion of excerpts from historical documents and letters. This added an authentic feel to the story, almost as if I was reading nonfiction....but
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I found the descriptions of pre-revolutionary society interesting, and I enjoyed learning about the experiences and disciplines that shaped George Washington into a trusted leader....but I had a hard time following the development of George and Mary's relationship. The fact that this book is based on their actual letters is very interesting, unfortunately I was unable to follow the story line in a meaningful manner.
Mar 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
I usually like historical fiction but this one bordered on trashy. Obviously,the dialogue has to be made up. I think of My Dear Hamilton, Eliza Hamiltons biography. All of the incidents rang true so you felt like you knew the characters. Mary Phillipse had no real deapth. She only had two emotions, depression and love. It was a real insult to George Washington to see him as a sap who followed British orders without question and moaned for his Mary. This book was a real disappointment. ...more
Kathleen Gray
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oh sigh. I enjoyed this blend of fact and fiction despite my serious issue with the suggestion that the American Revolution had it roots in a romantic relationship. George Washington looms larger than life in so much of our understanding of Colonial America and there are many many tales about him- some true, some not. Mary Philipse was new to me. Calvi has clearly done an immense amount of research to pull together this novel of Washington's first love. The challenge is that you have more of a ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway-s
I have been giving this review a lot of thought. From the title and the blurb I expected to actually read letters from/to George Washington and from/to Mary Philipse therefore I experienced some disappointment that it was not so. To be sure, there are snippets here and there but not to the extent I had been looking forward to or had been led to believe.

The story is enthralling at times and at others I feel left wanting more. I'm not sure if that is because as a woman of our time I want her to
Mar 20, 2019 added it
I did not finish this book. I had higher expectations.
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Read my full review here. This novel is breathtaking. Mary Calvi uses beautiful language in her descriptions and captures the first flutters of love perfectly. In fact, it almost felt as if I were falling in love with George Washington myself. Calvi accomplishes in her novel what I think is the most important for a work of fiction based on a real person: she made him seem real. Going into this book,
Dear George, Dear Mary is my first book about the First President of the United States and I thought this was done wonderfully. I adored the tone and atmosphere that the author chose to portray in her novel. Mary Calvi mentioned she wanted to write about George's earlier story as a fiction novel rather than a non-fiction because she wanted to envision what it would be like to be a young American in the 1700's.
I really enjoyed how she made George Washington come alive for me, by quoting from his
**3.5 stars
As biographical fiction, you can tell this one was researched. I loved the glimpse of George Washington before he was *George Washington,* and seeing the way High Society manifests in the Colonies. It was an interesting read (err, listen), and I got swept up in the story - Mary is dealing with some major PTSD and the way George helped her overcome those, and *decide* to overcome those, was touching.
Unlike many reviews/blurbs, I didn't see the relationship as the cause of the
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"Dear George, Dear Mary" is the story of George Washington and his first love, Mary Philipse. Usually we see George Washington as the war hero and the stoic President. We don't often to get to see him as a romantic figure. This book is an interesting take on why Washington was so involved with the American Revolution. Was it for country or was it for love?

I love when historical fiction can get you to see a different side of a famous historical figure like we do in this one with George
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
An entertaining historical novel based in my homeland. How wonderful that finally the Philips family is being remembered. Sadly they aligned themselves with the wrong side. Though I note many of their relatives did not. Indeed, one of Mary's nephew's was said to have speculated that if George Washington had married his Aunt Morris, there would have been a different outcome to the Revolutionary War.

No matter, this is a lovely story about real star-crossed lovers nicely told by a local
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I love reading about our Founding Fathers so much I was hoping for more. I did enjoy considering George as a 24 year old young officer with a love interest. I don't recall ever hearing his wife Martha described as that.
I found Mary Philipse's story as tedious with the exception of her family.
Many of the characters were historical and most interesting, but there is the catch, no footnotes! While the author touts thousands of documents from the 1800's
Janelle Edwards
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dear George, Dear Mary is well-written with creative descriptions made this an enjoyable read. It held my attention throughout and was also a history lesson as I had not heard of George Washington's first love, Mary Philipse.

Mary Calvi transports you back to the time of the American Revolution and provides great detail of the time period. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction based on true events taken from historical accounts, letter and journals. I look forward to
Ruth Morgan
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Good idea for a novel- however, writing is too labored and passive for a romantic or gripping historical novel. I did enjoy doing some research of my own about the people in the book. And about Calvi as well.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel of George Washington's First Love is a great read. I give it four and a half stars.
Patti Turek
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful love story.
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dear George, Dear Mary. This book was so addictive that I couldnt stop reading it. Mary Calvi instantly drew me into the story of George and Mary. I loved the style, the history and the old-time feel of her book. I kept anticipating the next page. Her creative descriptions helped bring the book to life. This was truly an enjoyable read and I highly recommend it. ...more
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I decided to read this book because the author will be giving a talk on it at my local library on August 1st. Initially, I found it very charming and quickly grew fond of the beautiful, tormented, vulnerable, but compassionate and yearning, young Mary Elizabeth. I appreciate the authors intention to breathe life into an interesting and emotionally appealing sidebar in our countrys early history. I have genuine respect for her extensive research. I have to admit, though, that by the time I was ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaway-wins
If I could give this 3.5 stars, I would. Its clear that the author did quite a bit of research and I did enjoy reading George Washingtons words and poetry. This book is more focused on Washington the man than Washington the soldier. If you like historical romance you will thoroughly enjoy Dear George, Dear Mary. Im fascinated by the American Revolution and wouldve liked to have read a bit more about what was going on around the two main characters (Washington and his first love Mary Eliza ...more
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Calvis portrait of Washington as an earnest young man striving for success but beleaguered on every front is convincing and, in a way, endearing. It is also a fascinating and unique look at pre-Revolutionary War society, with its misunderstandings and simmering resentments, and notable for the authors use of contemporaneous documents. -BOOKLIST

"Calvis debut skillfully depicts the ill-fated love

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Well, here we all are, sheltering in place, buying canned beans, and generally trying to figure out how to stay inside and keep our minds busy....
37 likes · 24 comments
“You are capable of the impossible, for you have survived the unthinkable.” 2 likes
“Tea seeped in a silver pot embossed with the seal of the Philipse family, a lion emerging from a coronet, with its tongue sticking out of its mouth. A delicious hint of citrus combined with coconut emerged as his cup was filled three-quarters. The wisps of steam rose and curled in the sunlight coming through the window.” 0 likes
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