Through the eyes of a fictional lady’s maid, the historical figures of Peggy Arnold and her husband, Benedict—yes, the traitor—come to life in this debut historical novel by the daughter of New York’s former governor, George Pataki. While the general’s name is now synonymous with betrayal, little has been written about his much younger wife. Her servant, Clara, becomes an unwitting and unwilling witness to Peggy’s conniving flirtations with British soldiers and spies, her seduction of the general, and her instigation of his eventual treason. Pataki smoothly weaves intrigue and personality with critical historical facts. The phases of Peggy’s and Clara’s relationship mirror the class differences and rising tensions of the revolutionary era. Clara and her fellow servants, who embody the spirit of the everyday patriot citizen, are written with detail and depth. Historical fiction lovers will look forward to more from this promising new novelist.
In her new book, author Allison Pataki tells the story of Desiree Clary, the 19th-century Queen who established the dynasty that still rules Sweden today.