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The Secrets of Mary Bowser


The Secrets of Mary Bowser Cover


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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Patricia Ridgley, January 31, 2013 (view all comments by Patricia Ridgley)
This historical novel is based on the true story of Mary Bowser, who as a child lived as a slave in
antebellum Richmond, Va. She was freed by her owner, and urged and supported by the owner to go to Philadelphia,
where she was educated--avid and quick to learn and to soak up all that a world of "freedom" offered.
When the War broke out, she returned to Richmond, eventually "passing" once again as a slave, and thereby
helping pass important war information to the Union, at great risk to her life and that of others
with whom she worked, white and black. I found this a delightful, intriguing story---and was deeply
touched to once again discover such courageous,selfless, yet all-but-unknown persons in our history.
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Mary Kathryn Olney, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Mary Kathryn Olney)
This was a wonderful imagining of a real, but lost, herstory. I learned more about the Civil War than any history class ever taught me, and loved the very real characters that the author created to tell Mary's story...or what might have been her story.
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Product Details

Leveen, Lois
William Morrow & Company
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
8 x 5.3125 x 1.11712 in 10.4 oz

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The Secrets of Mary Bowser Used Trade Paper
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Product details 496 pages William Morrow & Company - English 9780062107909 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Based on the true story of an emancipated slave who risked her life to spy on the Confederacy for the Union during the Civil War, this book is a must-read. Written with grace and passion, fantastic historical detail and fully realized characters, The Secrets of Mary Bowser is immensely enjoyable. I'd also recommend it for young teens, 15 and up, who are interested in history and looking for a gripping read.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Leveen's rich debut is a fictional retelling of the life of Mary El, the tenacious Virginian slave turned spy. Mary was born into bondage, but when her master dies, his daughter Bet, a fierce abolitionist, frees Mary and her family and sends the young woman to school in Philadelphia. There, Mary discovers the pervasiveness of prejudice — even in the North — and begins shuttling slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad, work that tests Mary's courage and ability to function in dangerous situations. But when her mother dies, Mary must return to Virginia to care for her ailing father. As the Civil War approaches, Mary courts and weds Wilson Bowser, and with the help of Bet, poses as an illiterate slave in the house of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, using her photographic memory to relay crucial information to Union forces. Deftly integrating historical research into this gripping tale of adventure, love, and national conflict, Leveen brings Mary to life and evenhandedly reveals the humanity on both sides of America's deadliest war. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Masterfully written, The Secrets of Mary Bowser shines a new light onto our country's darkest history. Balancing fire and grace, the story of Mary Bowser is an ethical journey we won't soon forget, one that takes us from hatred to courage to love."
"Review" by , "The Secrets of Mary Bowser is a good old-fashioned historical novel packed with drama, intrigue, love, loss, and most of all, the resilience of a remarkable heroine who forges her own destiny from the first page. What a treat!"
"Review" by , "Deftly balancing history, romance and adventure, Leveen honors the life and historical importance of a brave, resourceful woman."
"Review" by , "Told with clarity, confidence, and courage, The Secrets of Mary Bowser illuminates an untold and important story about slavery, the Civil War, and the role of women in achieving emancipation. A riveting and powerful book."
"Synopsis" by , Based on the remarkable true story of a freed African American slave who returned to Virginia at the onset of the Civil War to spy on the Confederates, The Secrets of Mary Bowser is a masterful debut by an exciting new novelist. Author Lois Leveen combines fascinating facts and ingenious speculation to craft a historical novel that will enthrall readers of women's fiction, historical fiction, and acclaimed works like Cane River and Cold Mountain that offer intimate looks at the twin nightmares of slavery and Civil War. A powerful and unforgettable story of a woman who risked her own freedom to bring freedom to millions of others, The Secrets of Mary Bowser celebrates the courageous achievements of a little known but truly inspirational American heroine.
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