Jennifer Chiaverini, author of The Spymistress, on tour April/May 2014

Posted By on March 27, 2014

spymistressAbout The Spymistress

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (March 25, 2014)

Chiaverini, author of the bestseller MRS. LINCOLN’S DRESSMAKER offers another enthralling historical novel set in the Civil War era, inspired by an overlooked hero, the remarkable Elizabeth Van Lew.  Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, VA, when her native state seceded in April 1861, her convictions compelled her to defy the new confederate regime and pledge her loyalty to the Lincoln White House.   Van Lew was hailed as “a true Union woman as true as steel” who risked everything by caring for Union prisoners of war—and stealing Confederate secrets.

In THE SPYMISTRESS, Chiaverini, bestselling author of the acclaimed Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, illuminates yet another long-forgotten but pivotal woman in American history, Elizabeth Van Lew. A spinster of independent means, “Lizzie” Van Lew lived in secessionist Virginia in the midst of the Civil War. A proud native of Richmond whose loyalty to the United States never wavered, Lizzie became a Union spy, risking her life to gather military intelligence for Mr. Lincoln’s army.  With her unique blend of historical accuracy and in-depth characterization, Chiaverini weaves a portrait of Van Lew, a woman who held the Union cause higher than the value of her own life. Van Lew cared for Union prisoners, orchestrated escapes from the Confederate Libby Prison, and helped construct the Richmond Underground. Although she was never recognized for these accomplishments while she was alive, Van Lew was posthumously honored with a place in the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.

A riveting story of devotion and bravery, THE SPYMISTRESS illustrates the astonishing risks taken by Van Lew, and gives this overlooked hero of the Civil War the credit she deserves.

“A deeply feminist project, recovering the stories and textures of women’s lives during the Civil War.”  —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, named a “Best Book of the Year”

“A compelling read.  Miss Van Lew deserves recognition as an intelligent and resourceful spy who may have shortened the length of the carnage of the Civil War.”  —Historical Novel Society

“Readers of historical fiction will admire Van Lew’s courage and commitment to her principles and the bravery of her ring of spies.”  —Booklist

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Jennifer ChiaveriniAbout Jennifer Chiaverini

Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series, as well as five collections of quilt projects inspired by the novels. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and sons in Madison, Wisconsin.

Connect with Jennifer on her website,, and on Twitter @jchiaverini.



Jennifer Chiaverini’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, April 28th: Tales of a Book Addict

Friday, May 2nd: Kritter’s Ramblings

Tuesday, May 6th: Reading Reality

Wednesday, May 7th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, May 8th: West Metro Mommy

Friday, May 9th: Mom in Love with Fiction

Tuesday, May 13th: Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 14th: Broken Teepee

Thursday, May 15th: Words for Worms

Friday, May 16th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Saturday, May 17th: Fiction State of Mind

Monday, May 19th: Daily Mayo

Tuesday, May 20th: Bookchickdi

Thursday, May 22nd: Must Read Faster

Friday, May 23rd: Fiction Addict

Thursday, May 29th: Lit and Life

TBD: Literally Jen

TBD: Peppermint Ph.D.

TBD: The Most Happy Reader


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