Monday 4 February 2019

Book Review: Dear George, Dear Mary by Mary Calvi (Historical Fiction)

Title: Dear George, Dear Mary
Author: Mary Calvi
St Martin's Press

Publication Date: 12 February 2019
eBook - EPUB
Historical Fiction
ARC via NetGalley


Unrequited love might have sparked a flame that ignited a cause that became the American Revolution. Never before has this story about George Washington been told. Crafted from hundreds of letters, witness accounts, and journal entries, Dear George, Dear Mary explores George’s relationship with his first love, New York heiress Mary Philipse, the richest belle in Colonial America.

From eighteenth century elegant society to bloody battlefields, the novel creates breathtaking scenes and riveting characters. Dramatic portraits of the two main characters unveil a Washington on the precipice of greatness with his insecurities and his inspirations, using the very words he had spoken and written, and his ravishing love, whose outward beauty and refinement disguise madness in elegant clothing.

Dear George, Dear Mary unveils details of a deception long hidden from the world that ultimately led Mary Philipse to being named a traitor, condemned to death and left with nothing. While that may sound like the end, ultimately both Mary and George, achieve what they had always wanted - freedom.

Dear George, Dear Mary is a book about which I am a little on the fence. On the one hand it's a sweeping historical romance, set in my favourite time period and therefore certain to please me on many counts. On the other, it posits a theory about the causes of the revolution and George's antipathy towards the British that seem somewhat farfetched, and which ignore the many socio-political factors at play. I also found the pacing a little slow, and the book in general overly long for the story being told. So, a mixed bag. It has a number of good points, but also some aspects that didn't sit well with me. Of course, that is only a personal reaction to the political and theoretical side of the tale. Those solely interested in an historical tale of unrequited love with find much to like here. As such, I am giving it three stars.

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