Fates and Traitors, a novel of John Wilkes Booth by Jennifer Chiaverini – Book Review


Just a note, I read this novel during the week of the 2016 election.  I read it slowly, and found it to be just a little bit in tune with the attitudes expressed by many people during that week.  Now, on to the review.

This is a novel that chronicles John Wilkes Booth life from his parents “marriage”, to his childhood and into his adulthood.  Most of the novel is told from the point of view of first his mother, then his sister, Asia, who adores him, Mary Surratt, the first woman to be hung for treason, and Lucy, the young and naïve young woman who he meets during the time-period of his decision to murder President Lincoln.


I really liked the approach of telling Booth’s story from the female point of view.  Actually, the part about his parents’ life was the most interesting to me.  I had no idea that his father was as well-known an actor as he was.  I found that the love that his mother, sister and Lucy felt for Booth was to blame for clouding their judgment on Booth.  However, who wants to think, even for a moment, that a beloved son, brother or lover could be capable of an act of murder.

I highly recommend this novel.  It is Chiaverini at her finest!


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