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The First Lady and the Rebel

af Susan Higginbotham

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376541,807 (3.86)Ingen
From the celebrated author Susan Higginbotham comes the incredible story of Lincoln's First Lady A Union's First Lady As the Civil War cracks the country in two, Mary Lincoln stands beside her husband praying for a swift Northern victory. But as the body count rises, Mary can't help but fear each bloody gain. Because her beloved sister Emily is across party lines, fighting for the South, and Mary is at risk of losing both her country and her family in the tides of a brutal war. A Confederate Rebel's Wife Emily Todd Helm has married the love of her life. But when her husband's southern ties pull them into a war neither want to join, she must make a choice. Abandon the family she has built in the South or fight against the sister she has always loved best. With a country's legacy at stake, how will two sisters shape history?… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 6 (næste | vis alle)
While I knew that Mary Todd Lincoln had grown up in a wealthy, slave-holding family and that some her own relatives sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War, this novel vividly illustrated the divisions within the family by focusing on Mary and her younger sister Emily, who was married to a Confederate general killed in the war. Both sisters have their reasons - real and perceived - for a fractious relationship. and, while they eventually reach some degree of peace, each sister has to navigate a life filled with tragedy. A good novel, and one that makes me want to read more about these fascinating historical figures. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jan 20, 2020 |
Mary Todd Lincoln and Emily Todd Helm are two strong willed sisters who happened to marry two men of equal conviction. Abraham Lincoln is elected to the presidency just as his nation begins to split. Mary is in support of his views for the nation, but finds that many of her family members are not. Emily encourages her husband, Benjamin to travel to Washington upon Lincoln's election and ask for a post within the government. Ben finds that he respects Lincoln deeply, but does not share his views and returns to his family. As war breaks out, Ben takes a post in the Confederate Army as Mary hopes for a speedy end to the conflict. While the North and South are divided the sisters can't directly communicate and feel the loss of the other in their lives as each woman champions for their own victory.

With astounding historical accuracy, the plight of the Todd family during the Civil War is brought to life. I always love when history is told from the woman's point of view and Emily and Mary have equally interesting stories. The point of view switches between Mary and Emily and begins with their courtships. I did find it harder to get into the story this early, but it did give some insight into their relationship. The pacing and interest picked up as the war began and the women were feeling the effects of having family on each side. While there was a lot of insight in the writing as to the impacts of the war and some of the decisions that Lincoln and Helm made, I really wanted to feel the emotional connection to each of the women and their direct impacts on the War through their husbands, I felt more of just a description of what happened around them. Overall, the strength of Mary and Emily shines through as well as their dedication to family in all forms.
This book was received in return for an honest review. ( )
  Mishker | Oct 14, 2019 |
Mary Todd leaves home to spend time with her married sister Elizabeth in Illinois. There it is hoped she will find a husband. She goes to a number of parties and balls but it’s only one man who appeals to her – Abraham Lincoln. A lot of other men are put off by her interest in politics and the news of the day. But Mr. Lincoln finds her fascinating. Their relationship goes through some bumps as does his political career but ultimately they get married and as we all know he gets elected president.

Mary’s sister Emily also comes to Illinois but does not find a husband so she looks elsewhere and finds the love of her life in Hardin Helm, a lawyer and politician from Kentucky. The two sisters are close but when the war breaks out they find themselves on opposite sides as Emily’s husband refuses a post from President Lincoln as he feels he must stay loyal to Kentucky.

What follows is the compelling, heartbreaking tale of sisters separated by War, finding themselves on opposite sides due to their loyalty to their husbands. The Civil War tore so many families apart in this way. The First Lady and the Rebel shares how the divide impacted even the family of the man trying to hold the union together.

Ms. Higginbotham builds this story at a nice pace with lots of historical detail about these very human people, some of whom have attained an almost mythical allure. Most of us know the stories about Abraham Lincoln and some about Mary Todd Lincoln. I knew nothing about her sister or about this break in the family due to the Civil War.

The book is told in not quite alternating chapters from either Emily’s or Mary’s point of view. It starts before the war, carries the reader through the horror and suffering of those living through it and those trying to manage it and breaks the readers’ hearts with the deaths of both men; one in battle and one through assassination. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here as history is history. It continues the sisters’ lives post War as widows – both fighting for relevance in different ways.

I will admit it took me a little time to engage with this book but once I did, I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading. It’s a compelling and ultimately sad story of finding love and losing it. ( )
  BooksCooksLooks | Oct 3, 2019 |
This is a story of two sisters living during the Civil War. Each happens to be on a different side—one a Rebel and one in the Union. The sisters are none other than the wife of Abraham Lincoln (Mary Todd Lincoln) and her half-sister Emily.

"The First Lady and the Rebel" by Susan Higginbotham is a dual perspective novel, told from Emily and Mary’s points of view. I loved learning about these women and this time period. It was fun to read about their love stories and I especially enjoyed Mary’s personality and seeing Abraham Lincoln through her eyes.

This is not just another Civil War story. It is a deeply personal tale of loss, love and family. There are both good and bad people on either side of the War. The issues surrounding the War aren’t as cut and dry as we like to think. The lives of these two sisters show that love and loss are universal. If you love the Civil War Era or reading about real life characters, you will love this book!

Content: I give this book a PG-13 rating. Some examples of the content are: mention of a woman’s bosom; mention of alcohol and drunkenness; a character refers to the “marital act;” the word “Negro” is used in context; the word “da**” is used; mention of alcohol and men getting drunk; the word “b**ch” is used; some gore related to descriptions of war; some talk of making love, but not super descriptive; a man talks of visits from spirits and mediums.

Rating: I give this book 4 stars.

I want to thank Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Sourcebooks and Susan Higginbotham for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255. ( )
  Meganleigh844 | Oct 2, 2019 |
I enjoyed this novel of Mary Lincoln and her rebel sister Emily Helm. It really brought to life the time, places, and especially the people.

The first couple chapters are set before the Civil War, thus providing a look at the sisters' relationship before the country, and their own loyalties, became divided. These early chapters focus primarily on each woman's courtship and marriage. The sisters' differences in personality are underscored when they choose their husbands. Emily's romance is a classic type love story while Mary favored a meeting of the minds for her marriage.

The way I felt about each woman changed throughout the story. Initially Emily seemed to have the more pleasant personality, but her devotion to Hardin meant loyalty to his cause. I didn't like her revisionist history concerning Lincoln's offer to Hardin, and I abhorred her unfairness toward Maggie. On the other hand, though Mary seemed to have the more difficult personality, at times I felt very sympathetically toward her, for example when she was being pressured to stop grieving for her son.

The author's notes at the end were excellent, so my only complaint is about the end of Mary's story. While Emily's story gave me a feeling of closure, Mary's felt a bit rushed and incomplete.

Overall, this was an excellent piece of historical fiction, and I will seek out more by this author.

Thank you to NetGalley for the E-ARC. ( )
  ang709 | Jun 18, 2019 |
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From the celebrated author Susan Higginbotham comes the incredible story of Lincoln's First Lady A Union's First Lady As the Civil War cracks the country in two, Mary Lincoln stands beside her husband praying for a swift Northern victory. But as the body count rises, Mary can't help but fear each bloody gain. Because her beloved sister Emily is across party lines, fighting for the South, and Mary is at risk of losing both her country and her family in the tides of a brutal war. A Confederate Rebel's Wife Emily Todd Helm has married the love of her life. But when her husband's southern ties pull them into a war neither want to join, she must make a choice. Abandon the family she has built in the South or fight against the sister she has always loved best. With a country's legacy at stake, how will two sisters shape history?

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