4.0 out of 5 stars A solid first outing for Seton.

This book tells the story of Aaron Burr and his daughter Theodosia (Theo). I have to admit I didn’t recall much of Burr from history class outside of the duel with Alexander Hamilton. At the start of the book Theo is 17 and Burr is vice president of the United States. Burr plots to have Theo married to the wealthy but uninteresting Joseph Alston of South Carolina. Burr needs some of that money to cover his debts and also the power of the Alstons to gain him political support in the south. The relationship between Burr and Theo is closer than most father/daughter relationships and Burr is able to manipulate Theo into his increasingly risky and treasonous schemes that distance her ever further from any satisfying relationship she might forge with her husband, and her greatest joy in life is her young son.

There are lots of well known names in the story as Theo interacts with them — Washington Irving (a minor character), Meriwether Lewis (sigh!), Dolly Madison, Alexander Hamilton and more. I love the way she sets her scenes and writes the various dialects, it’s like you really hear them as they would be spoken. Her characters could have been fleshed out better, there is so much subject material in the Burr story and it’s twists and turns that could be turned into a gloriously fat and meaty work of historical fiction. Writers out there — HINT HINT HINT.

Be advised that if you read up on Aaron and Theo on the internet prior to finishing the book you will end up with some spoilers on your hands. However, do look Theo up afterwards and the legends surrounding her mysterious disappearance and the strange ghost that haunts a Carolina shore. Lastly, I was very glad there was not another forward by Philppa Gregory. The one she wrote for Devil Water and the way she obsessed about the too close relationship between father and daughter really irked me to no end.

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