counter create hit Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women and the Radical Men They Married - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

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

Availability: Ready to download

The story of two Revolutionary–era teenagers who defy their Loyalist families to marry radical patriots, Henry Knox and Benedict Arnold, and are forever changed   When Peggy Shippen, the celebrated blonde belle of Philadelphia, married American military hero Benedict Arnold in 1779, she anticipated a life of fame and fortune, but financial debts and political intrigues promp The story of two Revolutionary–era teenagers who defy their Loyalist families to marry radical patriots, Henry Knox and Benedict Arnold, and are forever changed   When Peggy Shippen, the celebrated blonde belle of Philadelphia, married American military hero Benedict Arnold in 1779, she anticipated a life of fame and fortune, but financial debts and political intrigues prompted her to conspire with her treasonous husband against George Washington and the American Revolution. In spite of her commendable efforts to rehabilitate her husband’s name, Peggy Shippen continues to be remembered as a traitor bride. Peggy’s patriotic counterpart was Lucy Flucker, the spirited and voluptuous brunette, who in 1774 defied her wealthy Tory parents by marrying a poor Boston bookbinder simply for love. When her husband, Henry Knox, later became a famous general in the American Revolutionary War, Lucy faithfully followed him through Washington’s army camps where she birthed and lost babies, befriended Martha Washington, was praised for her social skills, and secured her legacy as an admired patriot wife. And yet, as esteemed biographer Nancy Rubin Stuart reveals, a closer look at the lives of both spirited women reveals that neither was simply a “traitor” or “patriot.” In Defiant Brides, the first dual biography of both Peggy Shippen Arnold and Lucy Flucker Knox, Stuart has crafted a rich portrait of two rebellious women who defied expectations and struggled—publicly and privately—in a volatile political moment in early America. Drawing from never-before-published correspondence, Stuart traces the evolution of these women from passionate teenage brides to mature matrons, bringing both women from the sidelines of history to its vital center. Readers will be enthralled by Stuart’s dramatic account of the epic lives of these defiant brides, which begin with romance, are complicated by politics, and involve spies, disappointments, heroic deeds, tragedies, and personal triumphs. 


Compare

The story of two Revolutionary–era teenagers who defy their Loyalist families to marry radical patriots, Henry Knox and Benedict Arnold, and are forever changed   When Peggy Shippen, the celebrated blonde belle of Philadelphia, married American military hero Benedict Arnold in 1779, she anticipated a life of fame and fortune, but financial debts and political intrigues promp The story of two Revolutionary–era teenagers who defy their Loyalist families to marry radical patriots, Henry Knox and Benedict Arnold, and are forever changed   When Peggy Shippen, the celebrated blonde belle of Philadelphia, married American military hero Benedict Arnold in 1779, she anticipated a life of fame and fortune, but financial debts and political intrigues prompted her to conspire with her treasonous husband against George Washington and the American Revolution. In spite of her commendable efforts to rehabilitate her husband’s name, Peggy Shippen continues to be remembered as a traitor bride. Peggy’s patriotic counterpart was Lucy Flucker, the spirited and voluptuous brunette, who in 1774 defied her wealthy Tory parents by marrying a poor Boston bookbinder simply for love. When her husband, Henry Knox, later became a famous general in the American Revolutionary War, Lucy faithfully followed him through Washington’s army camps where she birthed and lost babies, befriended Martha Washington, was praised for her social skills, and secured her legacy as an admired patriot wife. And yet, as esteemed biographer Nancy Rubin Stuart reveals, a closer look at the lives of both spirited women reveals that neither was simply a “traitor” or “patriot.” In Defiant Brides, the first dual biography of both Peggy Shippen Arnold and Lucy Flucker Knox, Stuart has crafted a rich portrait of two rebellious women who defied expectations and struggled—publicly and privately—in a volatile political moment in early America. Drawing from never-before-published correspondence, Stuart traces the evolution of these women from passionate teenage brides to mature matrons, bringing both women from the sidelines of history to its vital center. Readers will be enthralled by Stuart’s dramatic account of the epic lives of these defiant brides, which begin with romance, are complicated by politics, and involve spies, disappointments, heroic deeds, tragedies, and personal triumphs. 

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    The Colonial

    Historian Nancy Rubin Stuart returns to the Revolutionary War era with a dual biography of two leading ladies, with her sights set on the lives and relationships of both Lucy Flucker Knox and Margaret “Peggy” Shippen. Having previously written a phenomenal chronicle of Mercy Otis Warren’s life and times, Stuart sets out in her introduction with a determination to answer critical questions revolving around the two wives’ relationships, decisions, and actions that would later impact both their fut Historian Nancy Rubin Stuart returns to the Revolutionary War era with a dual biography of two leading ladies, with her sights set on the lives and relationships of both Lucy Flucker Knox and Margaret “Peggy” Shippen. Having previously written a phenomenal chronicle of Mercy Otis Warren’s life and times, Stuart sets out in her introduction with a determination to answer critical questions revolving around the two wives’ relationships, decisions, and actions that would later impact both their future livelihoods and overall social standing. She also makes it clear that while both indeed came from similar class backgrounds, they should not be judged solely on the basis of their choice in husbands—nor for one being branded a “Loyalist” over the more welcoming “Patriot” label. With the opening chapter discussing Peggy’s teenage introduction to Philadelphia society via a British masquerade ball, Stuart easily weaves in a gripping narrative strung with an assortment of facts such as her father, Edward Shippen, being acquainted with fellow Junto Club member Benjamin Franklin. Italian in name and celebrated with Turkish costumes, this “Mischianza” gala was presented to the Howe brothers for their recent victories by the budding officer, John André, whom Stuart insists was amicably attached to the flirtatious and beautiful Shippen from that night on—not romantically as the long-held rumor has suggested. Easily keeping the reader’s attention and sticking with a well-structured pace, the following chapter appropriately switches to Lucy Knox’s upbringing and early life, proving to choose love over her family’s deep Loyalist ties by swiftly marrying the radically-minded Henry Knox in 1775. Indeed, her parents would go on to shun and snub the couple for years to come, intentionally skipping their wedding and leaving Lucy heartbroken as they sailed for Nova Scotia and England one year later. Well-researched and rich with primary sources, letter after letter between both women’s attachments and liaisons are dutifully picked apart—praising the birth of a child, the direction of a battle, promotions, death, worry, and of course love and passion. A unique and interesting part of this dual biography involves Stuart weaving together the instances in which these historical figures happen to coincidentally meet and become acquainted with one another—with Benedict Arnold and Lucy Knox traveling together by coach to Valley Forge, and Henry Knox befriending British officer John André on two separate occasions, among other happenstances: That month, as two other blizzards swept over the region, burying Philadelphia and New York in five feet of snow, both Peggy and Lucy remained in suspense: Peggy, in luxurious surroundings at the Masters-Penn mansion, and Lucy, at Knox’s simpler quarters in Morristown. Had the two women met, they would have discovered much in common that chilly January. Born to privilege and linked to the Revolution through their husbands, both women were pregnant and both hoped for Arnold’s acquittal. The infamous betrayal and treason at West Point is discussed in great detail, with explanations of the meetings and incognito letters between Major André and both Peggy and Benedict Arnold, while also including his subsequent capture and Arnold’s eventual retreat to the British. Here, Peggy plays a marvelous role as a raving mad damsel in distress—with Stuart characteristically capturing all aspects of her frantics from that eventful day, until her eventual agreed upon release to the British months later. Although split into three separate parts, it becomes clear about halfway through the book that Stuart has a tendency to focus more so on the Arnold’s relationship, which leaves the depth and excitement of the Knox’s overall love and escapades paling by comparison. Fortunately, there are not a few clever moments where Stuart grafts together pivotal moments in the Revolutionary War with that of the Knox’s writing to one another—with Henry’s artillery blasting the enemy away with cannonball at Yorktown, and all the while sending updates and everlasting love notes to his Lucy. Stuart not only brings in the occasional new fact and other less-known tidbits from her research of the Revolutionary and Founding eras, but also explains how each couple jointly suffered through the pain and misfortune of losing a child, oftentimes months after a pregnancy. Similarly, both the Knox family and the Arnold’s would live highly beyond their means, displaying their wealth (indeed, increasingly lack thereof) with fine dress and gourmet dining, as well as stately mansions and apartments. One of which, Montpelier—the Knox’s grand estate in Maine—Stuart describes in exceptional detail by noting the architecture, landscape, guests, and activities of the day. Never ceasing to disappoint, Defiant Brides stays faithful to both of the wives' final days spent as widows, where Lucy would live distraught and mourning her late husband with the last of only three of their thirteen surviving children—along with a happy and growing brood of grandchildren. Conversely, Peggy would rally in spirit and in society by paying off Arnold’s debts and providing education and expenses for not only their own children, but honorably those of his prior marriage and to his sister, Hannah. Stuart’s biography stands as a tribute to these two women: capturing their affections, flaws, and historical significance as the devoted wives of two generals of the American Revolution. Concluding with the Knox and Arnold family legacies over subsequent generations, a useful index and the few known silhouettes and portraits to survive are also provided. Read the Full Review and More

  2. 5 out of 5

    Louis Muñoz

    In the second sentence of the book, the author states that Peggy Shippen Arnold & Lucy Flucker Knox were both born in 1760, but one sentence later, this author tells us that the two women were born 4 years apart!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gaele

    There must be something in the air. This is the second book that I have read in the past few weeks that is primarily focused on correspondence of the focal characters. In a uniquely parallel perspective of two contemporaries, we follow the stories of Peggy Shippen Arnold, wife of Benedict, and Lucy Flucker Knox, wife of Henry. Both men are familiar to everyone who is familiar with the American Revolution, although in most accounts of the time the women’s contributions to the course of history ar There must be something in the air. This is the second book that I have read in the past few weeks that is primarily focused on correspondence of the focal characters. In a uniquely parallel perspective of two contemporaries, we follow the stories of Peggy Shippen Arnold, wife of Benedict, and Lucy Flucker Knox, wife of Henry. Both men are familiar to everyone who is familiar with the American Revolution, although in most accounts of the time the women’s contributions to the course of history are often ignored in their entirety. A solid grounding in research, providing a curiously parallel track of the lives of these two women allows the reader to enhance their knowledge of some key players in the Revolution, from a different perspective; bringing freshness to the male-dominated history that we are all familiar with. I don’t know that I saw either woman as particularly defiant, perhaps in marrying beneath their established social strata, or in their determination to persevere all the challenges thrown at them in their positions of helpmate and supporter of their husband’s activities. While there is a subtle lean on the part of the author to suggest Peggy Shipton Arnold is more deserving of recognition and a revamp of her image as wife of the most infamous traitor of the time, it did not distract from my reading. Perhaps it is so, far easier to be associated with a man and a name that is not reviled, but the relationship that was detailed between Lucy and Henry Knox was one that felt most modern and contemporary, despite the conventions of the day. This book was an interesting read, providing volumes of information without reading like a history text: annotations are peppered throughout and give additional information, while the reproductions of portraits give face to the people featured in the book. The deft handling of the two stories, to compare and contrast their lives serves to enhance both their stories and is an elegant introduction to their lives. I received an eBook copy from the Publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elsa K

    3.5 I've been reading quite a bit about the Revolutionary War lately and I appreciated hearing the point of view of 2 important women from the time period. I find Peggy Shippen very interesting, did she cause Benedict Arnold to become a traitor, influence him, or just stand by his side like many women of the era did for their husbands? We can't fully know, but as she was paid by the English government and some of her fits of hysteria and burning of papers make it seem like she was involved. I fou 3.5 I've been reading quite a bit about the Revolutionary War lately and I appreciated hearing the point of view of 2 important women from the time period. I find Peggy Shippen very interesting, did she cause Benedict Arnold to become a traitor, influence him, or just stand by his side like many women of the era did for their husbands? We can't fully know, but as she was paid by the English government and some of her fits of hysteria and burning of papers make it seem like she was involved. I found Lucy Knox less interesting, but still enjoyed reading about. I can't even imagine what women of that day went through, not seeing their husbands for years, losing so many children etc. Lucy bore 13 children and only 3 survived! Not all of them died in infancy, some seemed like fluke accidents. So sad! So while the general public might not love this book, I do think someone into the history of the time period who wants to hear a women's voice would enjoy it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I had such hopes for this one, but alas it was not to be. It should be said that this is a review of a DNF, I read enough to know what wasn’t working for me but with the due date at the library’s arrival I had to give it back and I don’t miss it. Proceed with that knowledge, because I’m probably going on a little bit of a rant here. Here we go: I am so freaking tired of women’s stories being told through the lens of the men in their lives as the predominant view. SO. TIRED. This book purports to I had such hopes for this one, but alas it was not to be. It should be said that this is a review of a DNF, I read enough to know what wasn’t working for me but with the due date at the library’s arrival I had to give it back and I don’t miss it. Proceed with that knowledge, because I’m probably going on a little bit of a rant here. Here we go: I am so freaking tired of women’s stories being told through the lens of the men in their lives as the predominant view. SO. TIRED. This book purports to be the story of two women and the radical men they married. Fine. Then it needs to be at least even handed between the genders, if not tipped to the women because the title is literally Defiant Brides. That is not what happened here. Listen, I’m a fan of Henry Knox, you know? Who doesn’t appreciate a bookseller who uses his shipping and organizational prowess to turn the tides of the war? But if I wanted a book about Henry Knox (or, I guess Benedict Arnold) I would have picked up a biography about him. I did not do that. And you know why I don’t read biographies of military officers from any war? I CAN’T STAND THE MINUTIA OF WAR. I’m a history major, I did my time. I respect the hell out of the people who serve, but the history of battles and campaigns bores me to tears. I dared to dream I was safe with this one, as the subtitle says revolutionary era. The time surrounding the war! I can totally dig on the social history surrounding times of conflict. THIS BOOK IS HIP DEEP IN THE EARLY CAMPAIGNS OF THE WAR WITHIN TWENTY-FIVE PAGES. Friends, that was not what I signed up for. And one more thing before I get off my soapbox and go about forgetting I ever wasted time on this book: I was promised previously unpublished writings of these women. I suppose Stuart works them into her narrative, but fuck if I could tell. Skip it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erin Lindsay McCabe

    What I enjoyed most about this book was the glimpses into these women's thoughts and minds through their correspondence and the sense the book gave of what it was like to live through this tumultuous time period. I read the book for research purposes and found much of use, though sometimes the writing style grated on me (if I have to read "subsequent to" instead of *AFTER* one more time, I will certainly scream) and there were a few times I questioned the author's conclusions. Still, it was refr What I enjoyed most about this book was the glimpses into these women's thoughts and minds through their correspondence and the sense the book gave of what it was like to live through this tumultuous time period. I read the book for research purposes and found much of use, though sometimes the writing style grated on me (if I have to read "subsequent to" instead of *AFTER* one more time, I will certainly scream) and there were a few times I questioned the author's conclusions. Still, it was refreshing to see women's roles in the Revolutionary War examined more thoroughly.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Three and a half stars really for this very interesting double biography of the wives of Henry Knox and Benedict Arnold. I think it’s difficult to write a biography of women who weren’t entirely public figures themselves, and I learned many nice pieces of trivia and got a full and sympathetic image of both women and the families around them. I did think there were little errors and hiccups that made this a bit harder to enjoy. Some were small (as another reviewer pointed out, on the first page t Three and a half stars really for this very interesting double biography of the wives of Henry Knox and Benedict Arnold. I think it’s difficult to write a biography of women who weren’t entirely public figures themselves, and I learned many nice pieces of trivia and got a full and sympathetic image of both women and the families around them. I did think there were little errors and hiccups that made this a bit harder to enjoy. Some were small (as another reviewer pointed out, on the first page the author lists their birth years as being identical and then says one was four years older than the other) and some were just nitpicky on my part (she makes it sound like the Washingtons’ son who died after Yorktown was a child, while he was actually George’s 26 year old stepson). Mostly she used sources well, but sometimes the ellipses seemed to have eliminated words that made the syntax difficult to understand, and there were a LOT of names and places to keep track of. My biggest hesitation though was in her stated attempt to do some “both sides” work, to show that Peggy had good qualities and Lucy had flaws, regardless of what their husbands did. Which … fair. But she seemed very fixated on the fact that Lucy complained in her letters a lot about missing Henry, while Peggy really “grew up” and became stoic and resilient after her marriage and after Arnold died. To me that MIGHT be an indication of character … or it MIGHT be that one was married to a charming, cheerful, brilliant man she adored and the other was married to a guy who infuriated everyone he met, went overseas for years at a time, and left behind debts and a possible illegitimate son when he died. (Also, Lucy had 13 pregnancies and buried 10 children, so frankly it doesn’t bother me that she was sometimes snobby with the locals and liked to play cards … I say she gets a free pass for that stuff.) AND also, more than one person from the 20th century was referred to as an “Arnold apologist” who went around paying for memorial plaques and … yeah, sorry, no on that one too. An interesting and ultimately worthwhile snapshot of two interesting women and their families.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rrshively

    This is a double biography of Peggy Shippen Arnold and Lucy Flucker Knox both Revolutionary War era teen-age brides who married "beneath" them against their families' wishes. One married a man who would eventually be known as a traitor and would aid him in this endeavor, and the other married one of the strongest and most effective patriots of the Revolutionary War. Both were deeply in love with and devoted to their husbands throughout their lives. The author was very effective in contrasting th This is a double biography of Peggy Shippen Arnold and Lucy Flucker Knox both Revolutionary War era teen-age brides who married "beneath" them against their families' wishes. One married a man who would eventually be known as a traitor and would aid him in this endeavor, and the other married one of the strongest and most effective patriots of the Revolutionary War. Both were deeply in love with and devoted to their husbands throughout their lives. The author was very effective in contrasting their parallel lives. As a lover of American history, I found this an important book. I enjoyed getting glimpses of other heroes of the time, even a brief glimpse of young Alexander Hamilton as George Washington's aide after reading about him in another book. Although there was quite a contrast in the men, both wanted to live above their means which led to problems as time went by. I highly recommend this book and really would give it 4 stars when compared to other historical biographies. It was well done!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Compares the wife of Benedict Arnold (Peggy Shippen) and Henry Knox (Lucy) as a way of exploring loyalties and personalities during the American Revolution, and in its aftermath. Benedict Arnold famously moved from the Revolution back to the British side, some say encouraged and abetted by his 18 year old bride. Lucy was stalwart in support of the Revolution, but was personally an odd mixture of public joy and private nagging. While interesting, it is a little flat - in some ways these two women Compares the wife of Benedict Arnold (Peggy Shippen) and Henry Knox (Lucy) as a way of exploring loyalties and personalities during the American Revolution, and in its aftermath. Benedict Arnold famously moved from the Revolution back to the British side, some say encouraged and abetted by his 18 year old bride. Lucy was stalwart in support of the Revolution, but was personally an odd mixture of public joy and private nagging. While interesting, it is a little flat - in some ways these two women don't make for an interesting comparison. Notes for self. Wouldn't recommend, but enjoyed.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    HEavily researched, many quotes. Sometimes choppy. A slog of a read in many parts but also a relatively short read. Some interesting things are included but I probably would have preferred a work of historical fiction to this piece of non-fiction, which was boring and/or bland in some spots despite the claim of the characters being defiant. I wasn't shocked by much other than the mortality rate. The book did teach me a few things so it wasn't a waste of time but it took me a long time to get thr HEavily researched, many quotes. Sometimes choppy. A slog of a read in many parts but also a relatively short read. Some interesting things are included but I probably would have preferred a work of historical fiction to this piece of non-fiction, which was boring and/or bland in some spots despite the claim of the characters being defiant. I wasn't shocked by much other than the mortality rate. The book did teach me a few things so it wasn't a waste of time but it took me a long time to get through.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Considering the major error in the very first paragraph (both born in 1760, but “born four years apart” 🙄) it made it difficult to not wonder about the editing of the rest of the book. I felt it was a misnomer to imply this was a look into these women’s lives because it was still all about their respective husbands and then just assumptions about how the women felt or handled various situations.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Travelmaven

    Well written and well sourced story of two young women who lead interesting and challenging lives. Due to the time period, there's more information on their husbands than on the women, but I am happy with the original sources (their letters) and stories that have been told. Well written and well sourced story of two young women who lead interesting and challenging lives. Due to the time period, there's more information on their husbands than on the women, but I am happy with the original sources (their letters) and stories that have been told.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

    I just loved this book! I really did not know much about Benedict Arnold except that he was a traitor. Just an interesting read about the wives of Arnold and General Henry Knox. And lots of history of the Revolution.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Interesting story of two women I really knew nothing about. I thoroughly enjoyed.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Very well done, reminiscent of the book comparing Benedict Arnold and George Washington. Well written.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Roxi

    Texas DAR Book Club - Daughters of the American Revolution

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monica Bond-Lamberty

    Not quite so defiant in my book. Men still idiots.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Beth

    I received a copy of this book as a giveaway on Goodreads. Defiant Brides is a dual biography of Peggy Shippen Arnold (wife to Benedict Arnold) and Lucy Flucker Knox (wife to Henry Knox) by historian Nancy Rubin Stuart. These two Revolutionary era women both married men against their family's wishes. Both women saw their husbands rise to prominence, albeit for different reasons. I have never read anything on either women or their husbands, so I was curious to learn more about their lives and inv I received a copy of this book as a giveaway on Goodreads. Defiant Brides is a dual biography of Peggy Shippen Arnold (wife to Benedict Arnold) and Lucy Flucker Knox (wife to Henry Knox) by historian Nancy Rubin Stuart. These two Revolutionary era women both married men against their family's wishes. Both women saw their husbands rise to prominence, albeit for different reasons. I have never read anything on either women or their husbands, so I was curious to learn more about their lives and involvement in this crucial time period in America's history. I was impressed by the pluck of these two women, who saw what they wanted and went for it, regardless of family approval. Lucy's parents refused to attend her marriage to Henry; "ultimately they 'gave a half-reluctant consent' but 'refused to sanction [the marriage] by their presence'" (20). Yet they also sought what they wanted within their marriages, such as Lucy's letter to Henry insisting on having an equal voice in their marriage. She boldly wrote her husband, "Consider yourself as a commander in chief of your own house, but be convinced...that there is such a thing as equal command" (xv). It seems very evident that Lucy and Henry had a much happier and loving relationship than Peggy and Benedict. Lucy and Henry wrote dozens of loving letters throughout their marriage, and avoided being apart whenever possible. Their love is evident in Henry's letter to his wife, saying, "Those people who love as you and I do never ought to part. It is with the greatest anxiety that I am forced to date my letter at this distance from my love...My Lucy is perpetually in my mind, constantly in my heart" (23). It was devastating to read about the great tragedies Lucy and Henry suffered with the loss of numerous children. At the time of their death, the couple had lost 10 of their 13 children, most as small infants or toddlers but some through illness later in childhood or through freak accident. In contrast to the Knoxs loving marriage, Peggy frequently wrote about the sacrifices marriage required. Her husband's betrayal of his country branded Peggy a traitor's wife to this day. When Benedict died, Peggy fiercely scrambled to pay off his debts and provide for their children, his sons from his first marriage, and Benedict's spinster sister. She was likely similarly devastated to learn Benedict had left provisions in his will for a half-Native American youth who can only be assumed to have been her husband's bastard son. This novel was well researched and Stuart has clearly analyzed numerous primary documents to construct this dual biography. However, I question the suitability of a dual biography for these two women who never met each other in life. While they certainly ran in similar circles and would have known the other existed, aside from their rebellious marriage and the time period, they seemed to have little in common on the surface level. Throughout, as a reader I felt more interest in Lucy's story, and it almost seemed as if more of the book was devoted to her life. However, despite my questioning of the choice to write about both women in a single volume, this was certainly an interesting comparison of the lives of a traitor and a patriot's wife that struggled with many common issues like motherhood and society due to their similar circumstances during America's rupture from Great Britain.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shelly♥

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 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 p 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, this book 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. (And I have never had the pleasure of being the first review of a book on goodreads!)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Demodesrev

    This book is an interesting read, especially for those who don't know much about or are relatively new to American history. In fact, even though I grew up learning American history, this book made me realize how little I actually know about American history - thank you Texas public school system. Anyhow, I've seen a few reviews on this book that complain about the title being misleading or the book's almost equal focus on the husbands as on the wives. And even though I expected more focus on more This book is an interesting read, especially for those who don't know much about or are relatively new to American history. In fact, even though I grew up learning American history, this book made me realize how little I actually know about American history - thank you Texas public school system. Anyhow, I've seen a few reviews on this book that complain about the title being misleading or the book's almost equal focus on the husbands as on the wives. And even though I expected more focus on more defiant women, the title isn't as misleading as many depict; Peggy and Lucy are defiant brides in that they defy their families and conventions to marry the men they did, not necessarily that they are defiant against social convention or in all facets of their life. Also, the subtitle does include their husbands. I did not mind the inclusion of Henry and Benedict, but rather felt that their stories - as husbands to Lucy and Peggy - must be detailed as a shared story with their wives. Neither woman could have been properly depicted if the husbands had not been detailed as well, especially in a society that so heavily regarded men's power in marriages and overall society. At first, I did not appreciate the depiction of Peggy, especially with many comments made by the author which, to me, hint that the author is not as much of a fan of Peggy as she is of Lucy. That was my biggest issue with the book - such as when the author essentially calls Peggy a shallow and selfish child. This she may have been, but Lucy was not perfect either. Although this early depiction of Peggy greatly enhances the juxtaposition of her strength later in life, these occasional comments depict less a historical retelling of these individuals and more the author's personal opinions. Overall, I thought the book was a interesting insight into these individual's personal as well as political lives. The author's depiction of these figures humanizes them greater than any other historical depiction I have read or seen. I received this book through Goodread's First Reads.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stacie Wyatt

    I read Defiant Brides, in exchange for review from Edelweiss. The book was written by Nancy Rubin Stuart. The book was also published by Beacon Press. The book discussed women, who married some interesting men like Benedict Arnold and Henry Knox. Arnold was in the military and then betrayed his country, while Knox was a book seller and patriot. Lucy was married to Knox and Peggy was married to Arnold. Lucy and Peggy are the central characters in the book. Both wives were also dedicated (and supp I read Defiant Brides, in exchange for review from Edelweiss. The book was written by Nancy Rubin Stuart. The book was also published by Beacon Press. The book discussed women, who married some interesting men like Benedict Arnold and Henry Knox. Arnold was in the military and then betrayed his country, while Knox was a book seller and patriot. Lucy was married to Knox and Peggy was married to Arnold. Lucy and Peggy are the central characters in the book. Both wives were also dedicated (and supported) their husband's causes. I have heard of Benedict Arnold before, but I barely recall Henry Knox. I do love how the book focuses on the women, the wives, instead of the men. Most of history, I read, focuses on the men's accomplishments during military wars but don't really focus on how the women were affected. Peggy had to put up with insults, taunts, and isolation because of her husband's actions. Lucy faced the death of 10 of her kids (which I am sympathetic towards). Lucy also wanted an equal say in the household, despite Knox's command in the army. Peggy showed more restraint towards her husband--she also referred to him as "The General" This book was an interesting read. Stuart wanted to show the more human side of Lucy Knox and Peggy Arnold versus their former labels of patriot and traitor. The book shows how women will support and love their husbands, no matter how stupid, dumb, or idiotic they act.

  22. 5 out of 5

    M

    This is a very engaging piecing together of the lives of two women who are little known in United States history. Though they never met, the two led parallel lives during the American Revolution and the years that followed. Because of his infamous treason, Peggy Shippen Arnold's husband Benedict is much better known to history than Lucy Flucker Knox's husband Henry Knox. Knox was, however, an extremely important figure in George Washington's army. He was also the new nation's first Secretary of This is a very engaging piecing together of the lives of two women who are little known in United States history. Though they never met, the two led parallel lives during the American Revolution and the years that followed. Because of his infamous treason, Peggy Shippen Arnold's husband Benedict is much better known to history than Lucy Flucker Knox's husband Henry Knox. Knox was, however, an extremely important figure in George Washington's army. He was also the new nation's first Secretary of War. Life was not easy for either woman. Their marriages to military men forced long periods of separation, frequent moves,and genteel poverty. Neither of their husband's had much business sense, but both women loved to entertain. Both families lived well beyond their means. Knox eventually straightened out his finances but his family was left with little. Peggy Arnold was stunned by the huge amount of debt left behind when her husband died. In the case of Lucy Knox, her marriage left her estranged from her loyalist family which resettled in England after fleeing the Revolution. Peggy Arnold was separated from her family by her decision to follow her husband into exile to London. This well researched books brings to light the lives of two interesting women and the hardships faced during the war and after. An excellent read. The copy I read was from my local public library.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lauretta

    I believe it was a struggle to create a comparative study of Peggy Shippen and Lucy Knox. In the end, the common denominator was that they both ended their lives with financial troubles after the deaths of their husbands. There's no spoiler there - no great surprise for widows at the beginning of the 19th century. Once I got past the numerous editing gaffes, I enjoyed how the author included information concerning the couples after Benedict Arnold's defection. It's the most extensive discussion I believe it was a struggle to create a comparative study of Peggy Shippen and Lucy Knox. In the end, the common denominator was that they both ended their lives with financial troubles after the deaths of their husbands. There's no spoiler there - no great surprise for widows at the beginning of the 19th century. Once I got past the numerous editing gaffes, I enjoyed how the author included information concerning the couples after Benedict Arnold's defection. It's the most extensive discussion I've read of the Arnolds' lives after they left for England. Surprising, in my opinion, was the missed opportunity to discuss Henry Knox's reaction the morning Benedict Arnold leaves for the Vulture. It's an incredible moment in history to have had George Washington, Henry Knox, Alexander Hamilton, and the Marquis de Lafayette all present, waiting, and looking for Benedict Arnold to arrive at his house for a discussion of the fortifications at West Point - - and Arnold's no where to be found! Andre's been captured, and Arnold flees for the Vulture. Washington, Knox, Hamilton and Lafayette are all left to deal with a crazy Peggy. There's mention of Hamilton's reaction, but no mention of Henry Knox's reaction. None that I could find, and I went back and reread that portion. Perhaps there's no record of it??

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    For what it was, Defiant Brides was an enchanting read. I expected a little more insight into the lives of Peggy Shippen and Lucy Flucker, but since there aren't very many first-hand documents of their lives available, I found the way Nancy Rubin Stuart told their stories worked very well. I liked that she didn't make any grand assumptions nor fluffed the stories to make them more intriguing or Hollywood-esque, but simply made logical conclusions based on evidence as to what these ladies may hav For what it was, Defiant Brides was an enchanting read. I expected a little more insight into the lives of Peggy Shippen and Lucy Flucker, but since there aren't very many first-hand documents of their lives available, I found the way Nancy Rubin Stuart told their stories worked very well. I liked that she didn't make any grand assumptions nor fluffed the stories to make them more intriguing or Hollywood-esque, but simply made logical conclusions based on evidence as to what these ladies may have done. As for the story itself, it was entertaining and fascinating without being dry like many historical non-fiction books can be. The two leading ladies were fully fleshed out and I felt like I knew them personally, and could even tell how they would react to different situations based on what I knew of their personalities. The contrast between their husbands, Benedict Arnold and Henry Knox, also provided interesting backdrop to how these ladies lived. Not much is written about the Women of the Revolution, and I honestly never really thought about how the Revolution impacted the wives of these famous men until reading this book. It made the Revolution feel more like the tense, almost disastrous event that it was, instead of the hailed event that it's considered today. A definite read for anyone interested in the lives of the people, especially women, during the Revolution.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Symmons

    I must admit that Nancy Rubin Stuart is both a personal friend and colleague of mine. That does nothing, however, to take away my fascination and the wealth of new knowledge I gained by reading "Defiant Brides." Peggy (Shippen) Arnold and Julia (Flucker) Knox were amazing women during a time when being amazing was am almost everyday occurrence in revolutionary America. Both raised in the favored bosom of wealth and privilege, one chose the role of virtual co-conspirator with her husband Benedict I must admit that Nancy Rubin Stuart is both a personal friend and colleague of mine. That does nothing, however, to take away my fascination and the wealth of new knowledge I gained by reading "Defiant Brides." Peggy (Shippen) Arnold and Julia (Flucker) Knox were amazing women during a time when being amazing was am almost everyday occurrence in revolutionary America. Both raised in the favored bosom of wealth and privilege, one chose the role of virtual co-conspirator with her husband Benedict... a man who's name has become synonymous with treason. The other, often lonely, spoiled and petulant, nonetheless served as the driving force and devoted wife and lover of Alexander Knox, General, revolutionary hero and first Secretary of War. Ms. Stuart has done her research meticulously... no surprise considering her pedigree as an award-winning author, journalist, and professor. I have always been fascinated with this period and the privations and sacrifices made so many to gain our independence. This work displays that and more in startling and insightful revelations. For a fan of the revolutionary period, women's history or a good old fashioned read, this one is not to be missed, Bravo, Nancy!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eliz

    I received this book through the Goodreads First Read program. The premise is interesting, two women living through the Revolution who had elements of being unconventional. Prior to reading this I was at least slightly familiar with both women. I think the material the author used was not enough to support her premise. There is not only more about Peggy Shippen than Lucy Flucker, but way too much is more about the men in their lives instead of them. The material on Lucy might have warranted an ar I received this book through the Goodreads First Read program. The premise is interesting, two women living through the Revolution who had elements of being unconventional. Prior to reading this I was at least slightly familiar with both women. I think the material the author used was not enough to support her premise. There is not only more about Peggy Shippen than Lucy Flucker, but way too much is more about the men in their lives instead of them. The material on Lucy might have warranted an article, but she seemed more of interruption in the Arnold's story. I do think the treatment of Peggy Shippen was very balanced, while setting out to show Benedict was responsible for his own decision, unlike so many that blame it all on her, it didn't absolve her of her involvement. Andre is a tragic figure, and I liked his story being told.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    For a book that claims to place more emphasis on the women of the American Revolution, this book misses it's mark, and by a very wide margin. Much of the book focuses on Benedict Arnold and Henry Knox, with facts about their wives-mostly their reactions to their husbands' actions-woven in at key points. The author also attempts to make connections between the two women that are tenuous at best. As a student of the American Revolution and a living historian of that period, I found this book serio For a book that claims to place more emphasis on the women of the American Revolution, this book misses it's mark, and by a very wide margin. Much of the book focuses on Benedict Arnold and Henry Knox, with facts about their wives-mostly their reactions to their husbands' actions-woven in at key points. The author also attempts to make connections between the two women that are tenuous at best. As a student of the American Revolution and a living historian of that period, I found this book seriously lacking. I was hoping for insight, and for a deeper understanding of women's experiences during that time; what I got was a basic history of the war and its aftermath, with some women thrown in. Overall, this is a quick, mildly interesting read. If nothing else, it has me interested in doing further research on these two women.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brent Soderstrum

    I won this book through GoodReads first read program. This book is as dry as sawdust. I enjoy history and minored in it in college but this book was very hard to plow through. It is about the brides of two very different revolutionary war characters. The first was Lucy Knox, the wife of Secretary of War Henry Knox. The second was Peggy Arnold, the wife of Benedict Arnold who became a traitor to America when he didn't receive the love and adoration he felt was due him as a general for the Colonial I won this book through GoodReads first read program. This book is as dry as sawdust. I enjoy history and minored in it in college but this book was very hard to plow through. It is about the brides of two very different revolutionary war characters. The first was Lucy Knox, the wife of Secretary of War Henry Knox. The second was Peggy Arnold, the wife of Benedict Arnold who became a traitor to America when he didn't receive the love and adoration he felt was due him as a general for the Colonial Army. I did learn about Arnold's military injury which almost cost him his leg and led to him walking with a limp the rest of his life. Also the Knox losing so many children to death throughout their marriage. Other then that not much there to enlighten you.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Smith

    I enjoy biographies of women from US history - so this is a book I was bound to like. That said, I feel like I got a much better understanding of Peggy Arnold and was happy to watch her grow into a mature, responsible woman. I often forget that women married so young in those days so they were still children, so the choices they make have to be viewed from the perspective of their age and the guidance of their (sometimes much) older husbands. I was also shocked by the number of children who died I enjoy biographies of women from US history - so this is a book I was bound to like. That said, I feel like I got a much better understanding of Peggy Arnold and was happy to watch her grow into a mature, responsible woman. I often forget that women married so young in those days so they were still children, so the choices they make have to be viewed from the perspective of their age and the guidance of their (sometimes much) older husbands. I was also shocked by the number of children who died. Lucy Knox was pregnant 14 times from the age of 18-41. She had 13 live births and one stillbirth. TEN of her 13 children died. Their losses are incomprehensible. If nothing else reading this made me even more grateful for being born when I was and appreciative of the women who came before me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    A fairly quick read with some interesting tidbits about Lucy Flucker and Margaret Shippen, the wives of Henry Knox and Benedict Arnold respectively. As always, I am amazed at the strength of parents to have to deal with losing so many children young (Lucy and Henry birthed 13 children, but only 3 lived to adulthood). I also learned more details about the Revolution but didn't feel like I was reading a textbook, which is always nice when it comes to nonfiction. The aim of juxtaposing these lives, A fairly quick read with some interesting tidbits about Lucy Flucker and Margaret Shippen, the wives of Henry Knox and Benedict Arnold respectively. As always, I am amazed at the strength of parents to have to deal with losing so many children young (Lucy and Henry birthed 13 children, but only 3 lived to adulthood). I also learned more details about the Revolution but didn't feel like I was reading a textbook, which is always nice when it comes to nonfiction. The aim of juxtaposing these lives, I think, made them more interesting to the lay reader than they would have been on their own and served to highlight the influence these ladies had. Not too dense and even has some voyeuristic qualities to keep the non-historian entertained.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.