Mrs. Lincoln's Rival: A Novel

Mrs. Lincoln's Rival: A Novel

by Jennifer Chiaverini

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Mrs. Lincoln's Rival 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every review is a plot spoiler. Please bn. Either limit the review space or ban these wanna be book writers that rewrite the books in their so called reviews. No one wants the plot spoiled by these people revealing every detail.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story line of Salmon P. Chase, his daughter, the political atmosphere in Washington during the Civil War and Lincoln's administration was great reading! Once again, characters from previous novels made a "guest appearance." Reading Chiaverini's previous novels proved to be beneficial.
goode2shews_74 More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Kate Chase, considered by many to be one of the most brilliant women of her time.  She was advisor to her father, Salmon P. Chase, once President Lincoln's rival for the Republican nomination, later his Secretary of the Treasury and finally appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  Considered "the Belle of Washington," Kate always seemed to instinctively know how to behave to win over others, with the single exception of Mrs. Lincoln, with whom she shared a bitter rivalry.  In Kate's private life, she had a much harder time, as her choice of husbands, William Sprague (boy governor of Rhode Island), dealt her many challenges and humiliations, which she handled with grace and pride. The author did a magnificent job of bringing the Civil War time to life with colorful dialogues and a perfect blend of true historical facts and imagination. I received this book free through Library Thing Early Reviewers, the audio version produced by Recorded Books.  Listening to it was a pleasure as the narrator demonstrates a wonderful range with her voice and reads with passion.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Chiaverini continues her quest to be known as more than the author of the Elm Creek Quilt novels, which was truly a wonderful series. I truly enjoyed her first book about historic women in history, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker. The Spymistress missed the mark with me a bit as it read in places more like a history textbook instead of fiction. In Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival she pulls back on the history book feel and gives the story a more fictional feel. But it just didn’t hit the heights of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker. These women of history are ones that are not as well known and it was very interesting getting to know Kate Chase Sprague but while there was a bit of tension between her and Mrs. Lincoln I wouldn’t call it a rivalry. Kate Chase was her father’s right hand during his pursuit to become President and while he was Secretary of the Treasury. She was very savvy and smart and knew how to garner favor and make the right connections. Her own endeavor to become First Lady whether it be with her father as President or as the wife of the “Boy Governor” from Rhode Island was so strong she made some interesting decisions. I also found her to be very spoiled and demanding that rings just a little wrong for the time period, but I know the author researches these women intensively. She tries very hard to stick to the facts and not overly embellish but at times it comes across as just a bit dry and this reader wanting more. I get the feeling the marriage between Kate and William was quite volatile and more details on that could have really turned this story on its ear. The Civil War was a terrible time in history but in ways it correlates to the division in our country today, thankfully without the bloodshed on American soil. I found some of the actions taken by Congress and President Lincoln depicted in this book very telling in the ways history repeats itself. Sometimes it is easier to see when the situations are fictionalized but based on facts. If Chiaverini continues this road of writing about historic women I know she will hit the right balance between the fact and the fiction because she is an excellent writer. I am anxious to see who she will choose for her next subject. All three of these books were educational. I encourage the author not to be afraid of being a little more creative in her storytelling. They are fiction and readers are comfortable with the facts being muddied a bit to give the story a more natural flow.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a very accomplished young woman. She has stepped into the shoes of her Mother so to say. Her father has had an illustrious career as a State Senator from Ohio. She has become a First Lady to him, a Hostess, and a brilliant worker on his behalf. Their main goal together is the Presidency of the United States. Unfortunately Kate's father makes a few big mistakes, and Abraham Lincoln outshines him and becomes President. Knowing what we know, I guess he was blessed! Thus we see where a rivalry comes from between Mrs Lincoln, and lovely Kate. This book takes you almost daily into the beginning, the War, and then finally the end of the Cival War. What a time to live in Washington D. C. Must have been hard to live in the middle of the action, watching the young determined men march off, and then the casualties of war return. Kate's Dad still has the ambition to climb to the highest office of the land, and does take a position in Lincoln's Cabinet. We experience of the tragedy of the loss of Lincoln's son, and the snubbing of Kate and her family. There is also a touch of romance, and you will find yourself routing first for one fellow and then the other. Kate ends up with one, but what a relationship, kinda not happily ever after. I also felt that the ending was a bit rushed, and we missed some closures. There are unanswered questions, I wish there had been a bit more. All in all I enjoyed this book, and would recommend you read it. You will experience living in the 1860's in most of Eastern US. I received this book from the Publisher through Net Galley, and was not required to give a positive review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IrishclaireKG nailed it....Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker started out dry but picked up steam as it developed, and overall it was a successful book. The Spymistress was very good; Chiaverini had found her voice as a historical novelist and made the character come to life, and I learned a lot along the way as I enjoyed the read. However, Mrs. Lincoln's Rival was the antithesis of the writer's basic rule, "Show, don't tell." It tells and tells and tells, then tells some more, and I never got a good "feel" for the protagonist, Kate Chase. Never engaged my emotions to actually care what happened to her. I wonder if Ms. Chiaverini was just too rushed in putting this one out. There was an awful lot of crossover information with "Mrs Lincoln's Dressmaker," almost as if she did all the research at once and then tried to wring two books out of it, but there just wasn't quite enough material there. The second book in this series shows that Ms. Chiaverini CAN write engaging historic novels; I do hope she continues with fresh material.
Justpeachy1 More than 1 year ago
Author Jennifer Chiaverini continues her stint of Civil War drama's with Mrs. Lincoln's Rival. This book chronicles the political and social rivalry between Mary Tod Lincoln and Kate Chase Sprague. Both were strong women who had much to gain from the success of the men they loved, but that often put them at odds with each other. Chiaverini does an amazing job of taking a little known historical character and bringing her to life. Kate leaps of the pages and into the hearts of reading who love historical fiction.   What I liked: The main thing that I have liked about Jennifer Chiaverini's historical fiction novels is the fact that she is taking her characters directly from history. Oftentimes they are characters who impacted the Civil War and their world at large, but about who very little is recorded or known. She has taken women who are generally given a few paragraphs in a text book and brought them to vivid life and that is no different in this book.  Kate is an exceptional character to write about. She was basically the teenage daughter of a widow who became all the rage in Washington. Salmon P. Chase's daughter was gutsy, she knew how to go about getting what she wanted and she wanted her father in the White House as more than just an adviser. Chiaverini obviously researched Kate's character extensively because every thing I have ever read about her is recorded here. Chiaverini writes Kate as very calculated and somewhat manipulative. It was kind of hard for me to like her as a person, but she definitely had chutzpah!  Mary Tod Lincoln has been written about so many times by so many people. She has been described in about every way and manner imaginable, from a grieving woman, to a insane and back again. I found Chiaverini's descriptions of Mary, very clinical, as were her descriptions of Kate. The historical prominence of these two characters alone drove the book, but the their reactions to each other in this novel seemed a bit stilted. They could not have liked each other, because they wanted very different things socially and politically. Two great women to work with for sure.  What I didn't like: I tried hard to like this one, because I really enjoyed Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker and the Spy Mistress, but I had some issues with this one. As I said before Chiaverini's style in this book was somewhat more informative than fiction. She tells the story in an almost dispassionate way. We read about Mary and Kate but we really don't get to know them, to understand what they were feeling. In historical fiction one of the things that I generally like is that the author gets into the head of the character and shows readers... what might have been. There was a little too much of what really was in this one. More biographical than fictional. Bottom Line: This one was not up to par with Chiaverini's earlier works in this genre. I loved the Elm Creek Quilts books and I think she is an excellent author, but I think this one got away from her a bit. It was heavy on fact and light on fiction. For some that might be a good thing, but not what I was looking for her. But as I always say, take it with a grain of salt and read it for yourself.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Kate Chase, daughter of Samuel P. Chase, serves as her father’s personal assistant and hostess in the mid-1850’s tumultuous political world. He has one huge ambition, to be the President of the United States, but is dwarfed in his obvious formidable skills by other rivals with far greater rhetorical talent and ability to woo both politicians and voters. Refusing to be daunted by each succeeding disappointment, Kate stands by his side as he pursues his senatorial and then Secretary of the Treasury posts under President Abraham Lincoln. Although the title alludes to an intense rivalry with the President’s wife, the undercurrents of that reality are not the highlights of this fascinating look into the step-by-step progression of abolitionists toward a brutally divisive and destructive Civil War! More so than in her previous novel about the Lincoln years, Chiaverini does a better job here of plotting the early disasters at Bull Run and other famous historic sites of the war. While Kate’s father is scrambling to expand the country’s debt in order to finance the war, Kate spends her time wheeling and dealing with anyone of influence to support the war and the goal of emancipation for slaves throughout the nation. The clear differences in strategy between her father and Secretary of State Seward often cloud the President’s goals for the future; the President, however, sees the needs of the nation as a higher focus than their petty political squabbles. Kate is wooed by William Sprague, Governor, military commander, and then Senator of Rhode Island. While her passions are ignited by this fair, successful and commanding presence, there is something about him that makes her hesitate. Kate’s public persona increases with the melancholy aspects of her private life; she is obviously seen as a gracious, politically savvy woman who has made a significant impact on Washington. This reader was intrigued by a remarkable split between how intelligent this woman could be yet impetuous and naïve in her romantic life. Her devotion to her father’s career obviously supersedes any thoughts about a future as a private citizen and wife. When the role of most women was confined to the home and parties, Kate Chase Sprague clearly serves as a model of an early feminist who could truly also be labeled an astute politician whose skills altered the face of American history. Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival is compelling historical fiction that is highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too long and tedious! I grew tired of the constant and recurring praise for Kate. While there were many historical facts, dates, and people, the book became overburdened. The personal stories were more enticing but too sporadic. I enjoyed Mrs. Lincolns Dressmaker so much more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She was very good at pure fiction in the Elm Creek series but not so good in historical fiction. I found it to be a bit boring. Maybe she will take us back to Elm Creek with another book.
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Vyry More than 1 year ago
Any history buff will love this book. Kate Chase is a fascinating subject. She was as ambitious as any man and in modern times would have been a politician in her own right. She was able to channel her determination into making her father president and becoming first lady which at the time was the only political office she could attain. The author has great descriptive powers in revealing 1860's Washington, D.C. Book clubs would love to have this as one of their choices because there are so many aspects to discuss, politics, marriage, ambition, the role of women in this time and much more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The "story" gets lost in the "politics and History" (mostly politics)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The title is misleading. This book is more about background than about Kate.
irishclaireKG More than 1 year ago
A Giant Bore. I had been looking forward to this novel; even though I found 'Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker' very uneven and 'Spymistress', while more interesting by far, still dragging at times, I was still hopeful this latest addition to the Civil War novels would pick up the pace and be more engaging. I am sorry, but it does not happen. 'Rival' does not seem to know what it wants to be or what it wants to accomplish. As another reviewer mentioned, it is caught somewhere between historical fiction and straight fiction. The result is almost unreadable stretches of historical minutiae that few readers, outside of serious Civil War scholars, would find ANY interest in: long chunks of blow-by-blow details of how many electoral votes obscure presidential candidates obtained in the elections of 1860, a totally dragged out account of Lincoln's inauguration which reads, again, like a play-by-play down to how people recited the oaths, details of parades and parties that should be lively and intriguing and are bogged down under detail that I found myself questioning out loud, 'WHO cares?' Another drawback is that a lot of this information has already been covered in the previous two novels--all 'Rivals' does is comment from another perspective. Finally, I found the main character, Kate Chase, a largely unlikeable protagonist. Incredibly vain about her beauty and charm (numerous places discuss how pleased and certain she was about both and how she could use those attributes, possessed of a terrible sense of entitlement, self-righteous...I found it interesting in the author's comment at the novel's end that she mentions late 19th/early 20th century bios of Chase were highly critical of her and evidently did not like her, either. While I realize the author is trying to show Chase's unfailing loyalty to her father and his presidential hopes--I just came away not liking the character either. If none of these issues bother you and you have liked the other two books, jump in. There is some good historical fiction here but it was way too hard for me to find underneath the other baggage. What I can say is that all three of the novels have gorgeous covers--quite appealing--but I do not see myself reading any more of these.