Advance reader reviews of The Secrets of Mary Bowser

The Secrets of Mary Bowser

by Lois Leveen

The Secrets of Mary Bowser
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  May 2012
    496 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book


Page 1 of 3
There are currently 21 member reviews
for The Secrets of Mary Bowser
Order Reviews by:
  • Karla M. (Sicklerville, NJ)


    Glad I Kept Reading
    I found the first portion of the book a little slow but I'm glad I stuck it out because this was a great book. The story is wonderfully told and all the characters are so full of life you can't help but feel like you are right there with them. I love that Mary Bowser is such a strong woman character; especially for the time period. I could see this book becoming a movie because the plot is so fascinating.
  • Kimberli M. (Jessup, MD)


    It pulls you in
    I would highly recommend The Secrets of Mary Browser. It is written with incredible detail that not only tells you a story, but teaches you about a period of history in the United States that still influences our lives today. Mary was an incredibly courageous woman who risked everything to try to bring freedom to slaves. Great read!
  • Jan M. (Jenks, OK)


    History made easy
    I'm not a good history student, so this book was a delightful experience for me. A history lesson made easy! Mary Bowser's "secrets" gave this reader a look at slavery and the civil war from an entirely different perspective. I was appalled by the fact that slaves were forbidden to learn to read. I was aware that many were illiterate, but it just really had not sunk in that they were kept that way intentionally.

    The courage and determination of Mary Bowser was no less than heroic. Then to have risked everything to return to servitude was beyond brave. This writer was able to give her readers a look at the horrific events of the civil war from the perspective of one who was living through the difficulties. I realize the actions and conversations were fiction, based on facts, but the writer presented them in such a way that this reader almost felt a part of the story.

    A beautifully written book that I will most certainly recommend to my book club.
  • Sylvia J. (Los Angeles, CA)


    This is why I love historical fiction!
    This book is a classic example of why I love historical fiction. Ms. Leveen was able to fill every page with such rich detail bringing each character to life in such a fully dimensional way and at the same time she was able to show the struggles, suffering and mixed bag that slavery represented. I truly enjoyed being able to see Mary go from young slave girl to the free woman of color who was brilliantly educated and a shrewd spy during the Civil War. I highly recommend this book to everyone but in particular I recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction.
  • Mary P. (Bellingham, WA)


    The Secrets of Mary Bowser
    This is one of the best books I've read in recent years.

    While it is fiction, based on a small bit of probable history, it reads like a true story, told by a participant in an amazing part of American History. You have to admire Mary Bowser, who follows her heart to do the right thing, despite life-threatening danger.

    I enjoyed learning about the different layers of society among African-Americans in those years around and including the Civil War. It is revelatory.

    I would recommend this book whole-heartedly to Book Clubs and individuals who want an absorbing, thought-provoking read.
  • Rachel B. (Waynetown, IN)


    Very touching and informative
    I have a special place in my heart for historical fiction, and this was a really amazing book. What makes it more inspiring and interesting is the real life and events it was based on. Sometimes I hear people lamenting about the state of things, and I read a book like this and think how nice the world could be if we were all so brave and willing to make the kind of sacrifices and chances Mary did. The events and characters were believable, and I agree with the other readers who have said that they enjoyed the perspective of a city slave. I am also very used to the story of the slaves on the plantations and such, but it was nice to read of the experiences in Richmond, away from the fields. Pacing was a little slow in the middle, but not enough to stop my reading, or be too distracting. Definitely would recommend.
  • Lisa F. (Newton, MA)


    Well Written Story
    Mary Bowser was a real person and this book combined fact with fiction to fill in the gaps. I enjoyed this book very much and learned about the Civil War, the Underground Railroad and how blacks were treated in the Union North, that they really were not allowed to live totally free. Reading about Mary's life was interesting, intriguing and I learned many new things about this time period. A wonderful read! I'm going to choose it for my book club when it's my turn.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.