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The Treason of Mary Louvestre Paperback – February 1, 2013
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My Haley is a brilliant writer. THE TREASON OF MARY LOUVESTRE is a fascinating historical novel that captures the bravery of an unheralded heroine. This is a page turner that will make a great movie.
—William Gladstone, international bestselling author of The Twelve and The Power of the Twelve.
My Haley has populated this crucial chapter of American history with a fascinating cast of characters, especially a slave woman who risked everything to spy for and help save the Union. Touched by the creative energy of a gifted story teller, Mary Louvestre walks through the pages of this book much as she journeyed along treacherous back roads to the nation’s capital.
—Paul Clancy, bestselling author of Ironclad, The Epic Battle, Calamitous Loss and Historic Recovery of the USS Monitor, columnist of The Virginian Pilot
I was invited to read a review copy of The Treason of Mary Louvestre and was asked forward my comments. My problem was that I got caught up in the story and forgot my assigned task. So, I had to immediately reread it mindful of my task, and I found it as enjoyable during the second reading as the first. It is a real potboiler, full of adventure and dialog, twist and turns of plot, humor and pathos, a likeable heroine and an evil villain. DEFINITELY WHAT ONE WOULD TERM A GOOD READ.
— Hunt Lewis, Hampton Roads Naval Museum Docent
The Treason of Mary Louvestre by My Haley is a fascinating Civil War-era novel about a middle-aged slave who embarks on a perilous two-hundred-mile journey; she is determined to deliver intelligence about the vulnerabilities of a Confederate battleship to the Union secretary of the navy. The story is loosely based on a real historical character credited with committing acts of espionage against the Confederacy. Dr. Haley is a writer with exceptional talent. I give this novel my highest recommendation. A real page-turner!
Kelvin L. Reed, Author of President Pro Tem
The Treason of Mary Louvestre is a compelling and engaging story. My Haley emerges as a premier novelist. This is a beautifully crafted piece of literature!
—Dr. Neil Kobrin, bestselling author of Emotional Well-Being: Embracing the Gift of Life
Top customer reviews
I usually read historical or contemporary studies about racial bias and privilege so when The Treason of Mary Louvestre came across my path, I assessed it as a light read. I could not have been more wrong. Mary will probably haunt me for years to come! Her story provides an added dimension to my understanding of our country's racialized past, particularly that of a certain "class" of African slave.
Mary Louvestre emerges from My's writing as an authenic woman with dreams and aspirations but she lives as a slave of small privilege in Norfolk, VA just as the Civil War begins. My takes us into Mary's heart where she has love as well as ambition, and where she holds loving affection for almost everyone around her and fate offers Mary a choice: Forsake the crumbs from the master's table to make a huge contribution to her own future and the future of her people, the African slaves whose future lies in the success of the North's efforts.
Beautifully written, this loving portrayal of a creative woman gifted with strength and grit gives a unique perspective into the life of what would have been considered a cut-above even a "house Negro". My Haley offers us an intimate look into Mary's growth as she wrestles within as well as without until she finally delivers an amazing witness of a strong woman insisting on hope and triumph.
Kudos to Mary Louvestre! And, kudos to you, My Haley!
Mary has been a slave for the Louvestre’s ever since she was twelve years old. Even though she is a slave, she is living a life of luxury. She has a nice four-poster bed in a mansion. She enjoys good food from talented cooks. She has been educated to read and write from her masters. She has made friends, and her masters seem to give her everything she has ever asked for. She is also on the rise to fame for being a fashion designer. However, Mary eventually learns that her seemingly perfect life is a facade.
For in Southern society, she is still a slave, and is regarded even by her masters as being three-fifths human. She is treated as a pet and nothing more. The author provides a good motivation for why Mary had to commit treason for the South. At first, she wants the South to win, until she realizes how she and the slaves are being viewed and treated by the Southerners finally hits home. She realizes that by being in the South she can never have the respect she deserves because they view her as property rather than a human being. She does love the South, but she believes that by aiding the north, than not only will other slaves be better treated, but that the South will be a better place for whites and coloreds.
Overall, this is a beautiful novel that is filled with friendship, romance, and adventure. It is about a brave woman that embarks on a dangerous journey because she believes that is the right thing to do. The only thing that I did not like about the novel is that the villains are one-dimensional. They are pure evil and there is nothing good in them. This novel takes its place alongside Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
(I got this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)
Based on a true story you could not help but to admire this woman who traveled on foot from Norfolk to Washington during the hardest season of the year, with a looming war she had to avoid and a head hunter who tried to kill her at all cost.
Not willing to lay down and die, she showed strength and courage during times that most would just stop and reconsider. Her goal were bigger than her life and she had done everything she could to fulfill it.
At first we learn about her as a well known seamstress working endless hours to dress the rich, but as a slave in the South she could never be rich or even have a business on her name. We learn about Simeon who used her talent for his own advantage in becoming a senator, thinking she was fitting for the plans he had. But yet he was used by several people for their own games of power and greed. His wife, Tess-Lucianne was no better and at the end Mary felt betrayed by the very people who called them her family, even treated her as one of them, but the bottom line was she would always be a slave. Many secrets were revealed, secrets that became curses at the end and destroyed many.
During her travels in Norfolk she learned valuable information at the hand of her friend and lover Anders, as well as Simeon, a shipbuilder, and started to plan her adventure. Trained to survive in the wild by her father and aunt she knew what lay ahead but that did not stop her to prepare her journey.
Many things worked against her but every time her strong willed spirit came to the rescue giving you, as reader an in-depth look at these troublesome times. We meet fascinating characters that enhanced the story line, making each scene believable and compelling. Each character was well developed, each having their own personas. With some you could relate, others you could hate and some you could love but at the end it came together and gave us a great book.
The author's writing style invoked a clear picture of the times and the places she traveled. It was very descriptive giving you an authentic view of the places, the people and the clothes they wore. I must say, I really found the dressmaking interesting. The detail to the many dresses had me curious, each item made with innovative thinking and I wish I could own one of her dresses.
The villain, Gates was a sordid fellow for sure. Cruel as they come you could not help but feel sorry for him at some stages in the story. Understanding the hate that had driven him to hate and destroy everything he loathed. He was a real die hard character, power driven and greedy but he really found his match in Mary.
Much older then him, walking with a limp she outsmarted him on several occasions.
Her knowledge and skill working to her benefit and with a whole lot of luck this woman showed it was possible to overcome the hardest task if your heart is right.
A powerful story that I can recommend to readers who love this time in history.