• Gabby Womack

The Secret Wife of Aaron Burr by Susan Holloway Scott⁠⁠

Updated: Mar 5


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Plot:

The Secret Wife of Aaron Burr is a historical fiction memoir of the life of Mary Emmons Burr the life of Veeya, a young orphan girl in Puducherry, who's story becomes one of endless twists and turns. Veeya's uncle sells her to a Madame, upperclass woman, who turns the little girl into her newest "pet." As fortunes turn for the French aristocrats, they must move to their family's sugar plantation on Saint Domingue and choose to bring Veeya--renamed Eugenie to their new home.


Eugenie becomes Mary in the home of her new mistress Theodosia Prevost's home in New Jersey. Just as the violence of the Revolutionary War explodes, Mary Emmon and Theodosia find their lives falling into the deep end with Mary's new husband off to fight and Theodosia's growing closeness to Colonel Burr. Scott imagines Mary's life full of uncertainty as well as pride.


How exactly does this lead to Burr acquiring a secret wife? You're going to want to read to find out.


Verdict:

4.5 out of 5 stars

This author did an admirable job of capturing Mary’s voice despite her absence in the historical documents. I’m glad that she did not sugarcoat the experiences of enslavement under the British and French in India, the Caribbean, and New York.

It was gripping, at times, and it felt so real. I wish there was more of a paper trail on Veeya/Mary but I think the author did a wonderful job of using historical context and compassion to understand Mary’s possible thoughts and actions. ⁠


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