Let’s Talk About… Fates and Traitors by Jennifer Chiaverini *Spoiler Free*

I finished a book!! This is the first book I have managed to finish (for fun) while at college this semester so I’m very proud of myself! Wanna know my secret for finding time to do this? I have a life-proof case on my phone and read eBooks in the shower… I’m not at all ashamed. If you follow me on Goodreads, you’ll see that my progress on books is usually a slow crawl during school months.

Fates and Traitors is a novel about the life of John Wilkes Booth, the man who murdered president Abraham Lincoln in 1865. I was super interested in this book just from the title when I saw that the digital ARC was available on Edelweiss earlier this year. (Fun fact: I read the prologue of this on a bus in Scotland in May, but I didn’t come back to it until August) I thought this was a really interesting perspective on the life of a great American villain. It’s told from the perspective of the five women closest to John Wilkes, and also from his perspective. What I loved most was that the ending came full circle. I feel like with history there’s a need to have closure for one event so you can move on, but sometimes that closure just doesn’t exist because life goes on anyways. Reading this book has made me really curious about how much of this story is based on real events. I feel like I need to do some in depth research on the life of John Wilkes Booth, but I like that it has inspired me to learn more. I have always loved historical fiction, I just read it so infrequently because there really aren’t a ton of historical fiction novels in the teen sections of bookstores so I think I will definitely be picking up some more as I browse through the fiction sections. I think they have become a bit more popular since the explosive popularity of Hamilton last year so there are some new ones out that look cool.

I read the prologue quite a while ago, but  remember that it was the description of how John Wilkes dies and basically sets the ending for you so that it doesn’t have to happen later. I LOVED this! I think this story would have been so much more boring if Jennifer had left the death until the end because everyone already knows that John Wilkes dies shortly after he assassinates the president. There’s no need to leave the readers in fake suspense for an event that they already know happens so I thought it was really clever to just get that out of the way, and also to use it as a way to set up the foundation for the characters that I introduced throughout the rest of the book.

I really enjoyed reading about the reactions of John Wilkes’ family throughout the creation and after the execution of his plan. I had no idea that John Wilkes Booth had such a large family (he was the second youngest of ten children although this book only acknowledges about half as many children). Looking quickly at the Wikipedia pages about Booth and his father tells me that most of the events and backstories provided are true. This makes the book even more enjoyable to me, I love that i have learned something while enjoying a story, it makes it seem so much more worth while! Overall, I greatly enjoyed this historical novel, I recommend you pick it up (fair warning, it’s a bit slow at first but if you make it through a decent chunk you’ll more than likely be interested enough to see it through)

Mr rating: 4 stars

Hopefully I’ll be back soon with another review!

Katie x



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