Washington, DC, 1861-1865: Kate Chase is the daughter of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase and is determined to see her father succeed all the way to the White House. Her thrice widowed father needs someone to host the many necessary social events and Kate successfully fills that role. She becomes so good at it that she is the best hostess in Washington next to Mrs. Lincoln, the President’s wife.
Both women share a lot in common, especially in wanting to see the men they love succeed, but they can never be friends. Who will ultimately triumph? Find out in Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini.
I thought this book was interesting. I had never heard of Salmon Chase or his daughter Kate, and their story gave me a new perspective on the American Civil War, especially Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. The History books always seem to paint the Lincolns in a positive light, but the Chases saw them from a different perspective, and not always positive. The Chases were interesting people in their own right as well and I enjoyed learning about them.
While I enjoyed the overall story of this book, I thought it dragged quite a bit. The book covers the entire war and relates what happened to the Chases during almost every month of it, I thought many of these events could have been eliminated or summarized. The book is long, and I think it would have been more effective if it was shorter.
I had a hard time finding any Christian themes in this book. The Chases were Christians and there is an underlying theme of faith throughout, but it is often pushed aside for the events of the story. Every action has consequences is probably the main theme of this book. Many of the things Kate does come back to her later on, some good some bad and she has to deal with them whether she wants to or not.
On the whole this is an interesting story that gives a new perspective on an important time in American history, but it could have been told more effectively. I give it three and a half out of five stars.
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Soli Deo Gloria!