“Fates and Traitors” by Jennifer Chiavarini

Jennifer Chiavarini is probably one of my most favorite authors.  I have read all her books and they are always wonderful.  However, I think her latest novel is perhaps her best.  “Fates and Traitors” is a book about the assassination of President Lincoln.  However, Ms. Chiavarini’s book dwells on John Wilkes Booth, the assassin.  Even though this book is clearly an historical fiction, the persons and situations are probably as accurate as possible given the author’s extensive research.

John Wilkes’ father, Junius Brutus Booth, was a Shakespearian actor in London.  He had a wife and son, but also many dalliances with members of the opposite sex.  He met Mary Ann Holmes as she sold flowers from her father’s shop in Covent Garden.  He pursued her relentlessly until she fell in love with him.  She accidently discovered his marriage and tried to stay away from him.  However he persuaded her to leave England and travel with him to America where he was destined to become a famous Shakespearian actor, quite revered on the stage.  This book focuses on John Wilkes, his family, his friends, his successes and his foibles.   I enjoyed this novel especially because the story it so different from others that were written about the assassination of President Lincoln.  It shows that John Wilkes Booth’s actions had severe and life-long repercussions to those he loved and who loved him.  Keeping in mind that this is a work of fiction, I still can see that what Ms. Chiavarini wrote could have happened and perhaps did.  Her skillful development of the characters kept me so interested and was in fact one of the reasons I really like this book.

I received a Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com in return for my honest review.


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