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Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War Hardcover – September 2, 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 692 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

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“Not for nothing has Abbott been called a ‘pioneer of sizzle history.’ Here she creates a gripping page-turner that moves at a breathtaking clip through the dramatic events of the Civil War.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Engrossing…Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy is conscientiously researched and smoothly written and structured.” (Wall Street Journal)

“A revelation... Abbott profiles four [women], sometimes weaving, sometimes stacking their stories together into a compelling narrative.” (USA Today (four stars))

“Eloquent… A riveting psychological inquiry and probing examination of the courage, incomparable patriotism, stamina, and agility of four women who repeatedly risked their lives to serve their citizenry... Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy [feels] like an operatic espionage novel, where deception, betrayal, love, and redemption are interspersed with gripping combat scenes and perilous rescues.” (Los Angeles Review of Books)

“Karen Abbott’s Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy...is full of so many titillating dramas and details, you could be forgiven for periodically checking the back of the book to make sure it’s nonfiction.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“Gripping... a remarkable story of passion, strength, and resilience.” (Publishers Weekly (Starred Review))

“Compelling... Karen Abbott stitches together a patchwork narrative as complex as a pieced quilt, combining the colorful, unrelated tales of four women who fought in the Civil War as surely as Lee and Grant… [her] high achievement lies in her Augean compilation of published and archival material.” (Washington Times)

“Abbott’s prose is vivid, especially when she writes about battles and the terrible costs they exact.” (Washington Post)

“Karen Abbott’s powerful narrative is first rate American history about a fascinating, little-known chapter of the Civil War, as well as a compulsive, thrilling saga of espionage. Brilliant storytelling, highly accessible, and impossible to put down.” (Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Devil in the Grove)

“Abbott…[reveals] in such vivid detail the extraordinary lives of women who involved themselves so dangerously in the Civil War. This is that rare work of history that reads like a novel -- and a really good one at that -- and in which the truth is more thrilling than fiction. ” (Michael Korda, NY Times bestselling biographer of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant, and T. E. Lawrence)

From the Inside Flap

An Amazon Best Book of 2014
A Library Journal Best Book of 2014
A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of 2014

Belle Boyd
Emma Edmonds
Rose O'Neal Greenhow
Elizabeth Van Lew

In Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, bestselling author Karen Abbott tells the spellbinding true story of four women who risked everything--their homes, their families, and their very lives--during the Civil War.

Seventeen-year-old Belle Boyd, an avowed rebel with a dangerous temper, shot a Union soldier in her home and became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her considerable charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds disguised herself as a man to enlist as a Union private named Frank Thompson, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the war and infiltrating enemy lines, all the while fearing that her past would catch up with her. The beautiful widow Rose O'Neal Greenhow engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians, used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals, and sailed abroad to lobby for the Confederacy, a journey that cost her more than she ever imagined. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring--even placing a former slave inside the Confederate White House--right under the noses of increasingly suspicious rebel detectives.

Abbott's pulse-quickening narrative weaves the adventures of these four forgotten daredevils into the tumultuous landscape of a broken America, evoking a secret world that will surprise even the most avid enthusiasts of Civil War-era history. With a cast of real-life characters, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, General Stonewall Jackson, Detective Allan Pinkerton, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Emperor Napoléon III, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy shines a dramatic new light on these daring--and, until now, unsung--heroines.

-- Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Gods in Alabama and Someone Else's Love Story

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top international reviews

M. Lloyd
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book which told the story of several different ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 25, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and captivating.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 31, 2018
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Yvonne W.
2.0 out of 5 stars Flimsy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 18, 2020
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Lynn Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars Four strong women in the Civil War who did extraordinary things
Reviewed in Canada on October 8, 2014
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ElIzabeth
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in Canada on January 14, 2018
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Gs-trentham
4.0 out of 5 stars Very god but should have been better
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 17, 2014
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