Thursday, December 24, 2015

Blog Tour: The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki

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Synopsis:
A historical 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 infamous 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 and cunning 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 lover 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.



Guest Post:

How are Clara and Peggy similar? How are they different? Which one is the “main character” of The Traitor’s Wife?

I think Clara’s ongoing struggle throughout the course of the novel is to become the leading lady of her own life. As an employer Peggy Shippen Arnold is demanding, difficult, and she casts a very large shadow. Clara has to learn, ultimately, to stand up to this overbearing figure before she can take the reins of her own future.

 It was fun to explore the ways in which these two women, with their different resources and perspectives, would have navigated the events into which they were thrust. In some ways, Clara and Peggy are similar. They are the same age. They resemble one another physically. Look how easy it is for Clara to masquerade as Peggy’s sister once she has the right hairdo and the right dress. Both of their fates are inextricably tied to the fate of not only the Arnold family, but also the new country.


 And yet, they occupy completely different worlds. Clara begins the novel as a naïve, friendless servant who has never known anyone so sophisticated and worldly and charming. Clara has never worn fancy dresses, or entertained gentlemen suitors, or even slept in her own bed. That is why, at first, Clara is so enamored of Peggy Shippen. Clara’s new mistress is a popular, witty, fashionable force who has all of Philadelphia society at her feet, and Peggy not only wants Clara to work for her, but she seems to want Clara as a friend. Clara is, in her own way, just as seduced by Peggy as many of the other characters in the novel are. Given the social and economic disparities between the two of them, it’s clear why Clara becomes pretty much entirely dependent on Peggy.

 But just as Clara is reliant on her mistress, so too is Peggy dependent on Clara. She invites Clara out with her; she asks for Clara on her wedding day; she moves Clara with her to set up her new home. You see time and again that when Peggy is in a particularly tough spot, it’s Clara for whom she asks. But then, as Peggy’s luck worsens, it’s Clara who suffers. It’s the classic case of venting one’s anger on the person nearest, the person trusted so implicitly that one takes his or her presence entirely for granted. That’s why, even after everything devolves with the plot to turn over West Point, Peggy reacts so violently to the idea of Clara leaving her employ. She can’t fathom the possibility of Clara not always being there. 

Ultimately, I would say that Clara is the leading lady of The Traitor’s Wife, even though, at times throughout the story, she seems like little more than a pawn. A supporting character in Peggy and Benedict Arnold’s plots. But Clara does grow into herself by the end. She sees the life she wants – a life of independence, a life with Caleb, and a life far away from Peggy. Clara does what is necessary to achieve that life. But not without her biggest challenge yet – outsmarting the indomitable Peggy Shippen Arnold.


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About Allison Pataki

ALLISON PATAKI grew up in upstate New York, in the same neighborhood where Benedict and Peggy Arnold once lived. Allison attended Yale University, where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor's Degree in English. While at Yale, Allison received Distinction in the Major from the English department and served as a campus reporter and news anchor for the student-run campus television program, YTV News.
The daughter of former New York State Governor George E. Pataki, Allison was inspired to write The Traitor’s Wife: A Novel of Benedict Arnold and the Plan to Betray America based on the rich Revolutionary War history of her hometown in New York State’s Hudson Highlands.
Allison spent several years writing for television and digital news outlets prior to transitioning to fiction. The Traitor’s Wife: A Novel of Benedict Arnold and the Plan to Betray America is Allison’s first novel.
Allison lives in Chicago with her husband.


Hope you guys enjoyed! And thank you Allison Pataki for writing us this fantastic guest post!
 And don't forget to enter the amazing GIVEAWAY for the chance of winning a Kindle Paperwhite (International) 



Happy Reading!

xoxo, Mariam
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