Mrs. Lincoln's Rival: A Novel

Front Cover
Dutton, 2014 - FICTION - 419 pages

You and I are both political creatures, Miss Chase. Neither of us would be happy so far from the center of things.

Kate Chase Sprague was born in 1840 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the second daughter to the second wife of a devout but ambitious lawyer. Her father, Salmon P. Chase, rose to prominence in the antebellum years and was appointed secretary of the treasury in Abraham Lincoln's cabinet, while aspiring to even greater heights.

Thrice-widowed, Chase found himself at a disadvantage without a wife to host social gatherings crucial to influence-building. Beautiful, intelligent, regal, and entrancing, young Kate Chase stepped into this role, establishing a salon at the Chase home that launches a father-daughter partnership bent on achieving the presidency. For her efforts, the Washington Star declared her 'the most brilliant woman of her day. None outshone her.''

None, that is, but Mary Todd Lincoln. Though Mrs. Lincoln and her young rival held much in common - political acumen, love of country, and a resolute determination to help the men they loved achieve greatness - they could never be friends, for the success of one could come only at the expense of the other. When Kate Chase married William Sprague, the wealthy young governor of Rhode Island, it was widely regarded as the pinnacle of Washington society weddings. President Lincoln was in attendance. The First Lady was not.

The intertwining public lives of these two women never failed to inspire headlines, but the true and lasting influence each wrought in private makes, in New York Timesbestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini's skilled telling, for an even more fascinating story. Mrs. Lincoln's Rivalis an astute and lively novel of the politics of state - whether enacted in houses of government or the family homes of its leaders - set against the vibrant backdrop of Civil War Era Washington.

Praise for Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

'History - and its colorful characters - come alive.' USA Today

'Required reading . . . . The story of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and Lizzie Keekley, a former slave who became Mrs. Lincoln's seamstress and confidante. After the president's assassination, Keekley created the Mary Todd Lincoln quilt and also a scandalous memoir. A new spin on the story.' New York Post

'Jennifer Chiaverini imagines the First Lady's most private affairs through the eyes of an unlikely confidante.' Harper's Bazaar

'Any reader interested in President Lincoln, Civil War history, or historical fiction should love this book.'

'Taking readers through times of war and peace as seen through the eyes of an extraordinary woman, the author brings Civil War Washington to vivid life through her meticulously researched, authentic detail. Chiaverini's characters are compelling and accurate; the reader truly feels drawn into the intimate scenes at the White House.' Library Journal

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wearylibrarian - LibraryThing

I chose this book because the Chase family is from Cincinnati. While the book is considered fiction, a lot of historical formation is included. I never realized Salmon P. Chase was such a........jerk ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - brangwinn - LibraryThing

Chiaverini returns to the Civil War in this story of Kate Chase, daughter of Salmon Chase and popular Washington DC hostess. Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker introduced readers to Kate, but this provides a ... Read full review

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About the author (2014)

JENNIFER CHIAVERINI is the New York Times bestselling author of the Elm Creek Quilts series, The Spymistress, and Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker. She lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin.

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