Book Review – Defiant Brides by Nancy Rubin Stuart

11 09 2012

Note:  This book will be released on April 9, 2013 by Beacon Press

Title: Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women and the Radical Men They Married

Author: Nancy Rubin Stuart

Rating: 4.5 Stars of out 5 Stars

Defiant Brides is a side-by-side telling of the lives of two Revolutionary Women – Lucy Flucker Knox, wife of Henry Knox and Peggy Shippens Arnold, wife of the infamous Benedict Arnold. The book details the backgrounds, courtships and marriages of the two couples, also providing information on their more famous husbands’ contributions to the revolutionary war and post-war activities. The grand summary of this book is to suggest Shippens Arnold as more valiant model of women of the time for her patience, sacrifice and perseverance in times of trial.

For the lover of American history, this was a great book. Having read a fair number of bios on Revolutionary War figures, Defiant Brides added information to my previous store of knowledge. Stuart breaks down Arnold’s turncoat activities and the events that lead to the capture of Major Andre. We see some of the jovial and personable Knox – would have liked to have some of his contributions more detailed. Most of the Knoxs’ side of the story was about their great love and devotion to one another and the tragedies often suffered in the loss of 10 of their 13 children. But none-the-less, the book fills in gaps about the main characters that are often overlooked in the general study of the Revolutionary War.

Overall: The lives of the Knoxs’ and the Arnolds’ ran on perpendicular courses in the midst of the Revolutionary War. The women married beneath them, but personalities, circumstances and outcomes had more differences than similarities. Were the brides defiant? Defiant in their pursuit of love, but submissive to their situations. Perhaps that was the tie that bound them in the author’s mind. I don’t know if I would go as far to say which one of the women might have trumped the other in the overall game of life. While the author is building a subtle case for the exoneration of Peggy Shippen Arnold throughout the book, it does not really detract from the overall story. These two impressive women stood on the sidelines in life, but should not be forgotten in death.

The work was well annotated, and researched, easy and enjoyable to read and comprehend.

Recommend for those who enjoy lite history biographies and women’s studies.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.




One response

19 01 2013
Release Date of Books I’ve Reviewed « Shelly's Journal

[…] Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women and the Radical Men They Married by Nancy Rubin Stuart – April 9 […]

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