Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival

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Mrs. Lincoln's RivalMrs. Lincoln’s Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the 1850s Kate Chase was a political powerhouse.  Her goal was the election of her widowed father, Salmon Chase, to the Presidency of the United States.  She would serve as his First Lady.  After he loses the Republican nomination to a relatively unknown man named Abraham Lincoln, Kate spends the war years advising her father in the Senate. 

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Kate Chase was a political strategist at a time when women weren’t considered to have any aptitude for such things.  She was also a glamorous socialite and hostess in Washington D.C.  This earned her the contempt of Mary Lincoln, who felt that Kate snubbed her when she was did not appear at the Lincoln stop in Ohio.  No amount of explaining that the Chases were in Washington at the time would appease Mrs. Lincoln.  This started a social rivalry for the duration of the Lincoln presidency.  Kate’s marriage was the social event to attend in Washington for everyone but Mrs. Lincoln who refused to appear.

Jennifer Chiaverini wrote about Mary Lincoln in her previous book, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker.  Like that book, this one looks at an unknown story during a famous time in history.  The story was interesting but I give the book 3 stars instead of 4 because the writing is not the greatest.  She gets the story told which is important to me but it is clunky in places.

I enjoyed learning about a woman who was politically hungry and who pushed her father possibly harder than he would have done himself.