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The Secrets of Mary Bowser: A Novel

“It was the only way I could come back home. To do as Mama had done, use my freedom to play at being bound in slavery.” Born into slavery in Richmond, Virginia, Mary Bowser grows up working with her mother as a house slave for the wealthy Van Lew family, and soon learns the importance of blending in. When Bet, the politically radical daughter of the Van Lew family, emancipates Mary, she takes on the identity of a free black woman, but she cannot forget that her family remains bound by slavery, and joins the burgeoning Northern abolition movement.

Drawn into Bet’s Unionist work when the Civil War breaks out, Mary makes the fateful commitment to do intelligence work for the Union army — by posing as a slave in the home of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Though the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation represents all Mary has worked for, the years of slaughter and destruction take their toll and she learns that everything comes at a cost — even freedom. Author Lois Leveen combines fascinating facts and ingenious speculation to craft a historical novel celebrating the courageous achievements of a little known but truly inspirational American heroine.

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Product Details

Recommended Age Adults
Author Lois Leveen
ISBN 0062107909
Publication Date May 15, 2012
Publisher William Morrow Paperbacks
Language English