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Review and Giveaway: "The First Lady and the Rebel" by Susan Higginbotham


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?
 My Thoughts:  I'm going to start by saying that I love Susan Higginbotham's books!  They were some of my favorites when I was first discovering the historical fiction genre.  The First Lady and the Rebel was the first book of hers that I've read set in the United States and I think she picked some phenomenal women to focus on in her latest novel.

Mary Todd Lincoln is such an interesting, unique, and, in my mind, misunderstood historical character and I feel like Ms. Higginbotham did a wonderful job of creating a much more fair picture of her than we usually see.  She portrays Mary as an intelligent, well-educated woman who knew who her own mind; she did introduce some of her extravagant spending habits and her temper but overall, I think it was a very considerate way of treating her and I really enjoyed this character.  I did not envy Mary's position at all; she lost three sons, two brothers, and her husband so it could not have been an easy road to her and I hate that people were so unkind to her.  All that to say that this book has inspired me to learn more about Mrs. Lincoln.

Mary's younger sister, Emily, was a very neat character.  Despite the fact that she was on the wrong side of history, she was one tough cookie and I was in awe of her tenacity. She had no problem dragging her family all over the South during a brutal war and she handled every setback with so much strength.  She was quite the force to be reckoned with!  I really love reading about women who were unconventional for their time and Emily fit this category perfectly.

Ms. Higginbotham did an extensive amount of research for this book and it really showed in every detail.  I also very much appreciated her author's note at the end because I'm a sucker for a good author's note.  I will say that because of the level of detail, the story did seem to move a little slow at times but despite that, it remained a really engaging book.  I very much enjoyed The First Lady and the Rebel;the Todd sisters made for some great reading!  4 stars.

I received this book from HFBVT in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:


Susan Higginbotham is the author of seven historical novels, including Hanging Mary, The Stolen Crown, and The Queen of Last Hopes. The Traitor’s Wife, her first novel, was the winner of ForeWord Magazine’s 2005 Silver Award for historical fiction and was a Gold Medalist, Historical/Military Fiction, 2008 Independent Publisher Book wards. She writes her own historical fiction blog, History Refreshed. Higginbotham has worked as an editor and an attorney, and lives in Maryland with her family.
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The First Lady and the Rebel! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.




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