Monday, February 17, 2014

The Traitor's Wife: The Woman Behind Benedict Arnold And The Plan To Betray America by Allison Pataki

After his betrayal became public, Benedict Arnold's name came to be synonymous with traitor. Benjamin Franklin even wrote about him, "Judas sold only one man, Arnold three millions." His entire life was described by biographers as treacherous and morally questionable: his name, whether mentioned by social historians or fiction writers, still today carries a strongly negative overtone. Arnold was, in fact, the American general who, while serving in the American Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, defected to the British side.  In command of the fortification at West Point, he planned to surrender it to the enemy's forces. When Arnold's plan was exposed in September 1780, he was commissioned into the British army as a brigadier general. Bizzarely, in a letter to Washington, he claimed, "Love to my country actuates my present conduct, however it may appear inconsistent to the world, who very seldom judge right  of any man's actions."

Arnold's second wife, Peggy Shippen, a socialite born in a prominent Philadelphia family with Loyalist tendencies, played a significant role in her husband's conspiracy. After documents proving the general's plan to surrender the critical army base were exposed (following the arrest of Peggy's paramour John André, the British major who carried those incriminating papers in his boots), Peggy Shippen Arnold fled to London with her turncoat husband. It is around this controversial figure that Allison Pataki crafted her debut historical novel, The Traitor's Wife, a fictional account of the most infamous act of treason and the love-triangle that threatened to compromise the American fight for independence. Available now in paperback and Kindle edition at Amazon (February 11, Howard Book, an imprint of Simon & Schuster).

About the book
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 André, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it. 

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John André. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold. 
Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom. 

No comments:

Post a Comment