Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Fates and Traitors" by Jennifer Chiaverini

A famous Dover girl is featured, (fictionalized historically that is), in Jennifer Chiaverini's new novel, "Fates and Traitors: A Novel of John Wilkes Booth" (Dutton, 2016).

As you may know, Lucy Hale (Chandler) was the daughter of the Hon. John Parker Hale, U.S. Senator from New Hampshire in the mid 1800s. The Hales lived on Central Avenue in a stately brick home that is now part of the Woodman Museum. While living with her family in Washington DC during her father's terms of office, Lucy began to covertly date a well-known actor by the name of John Wilkes Booth. They may have even been secretly engaged when Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln in March 1865.  When Booth was fatally shot, Lucy's picture was found in his pocket.

Chiaverini's story revolves, in alternating chapters, around four women who were important and influential in John Wilkes Booth's life: his mother, his sister, his landlady, and Lucy Hale. Mainly set in the nation's capital, the novel does mention trips to Dover NH quite often in the Lucy chapters. There is little known about actual relationship between John and Lucy, but Chiaverini weaves a believable and historically-based story about their courtship and its fateful demise.

Highly recommended for historical fiction fans and for those interested in Dover's history!

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