Hanging Mary by Susan Higginbotham
The untold story of Lincoln’s Assassination
1864, Washington City. One has to be careful with talk of secession, of Confederate whispers falling on Northern ears. Better to speak only when in the company of the trustworthy. Like Mrs. Surratt.
A widow who runs a small boardinghouse on H Street, Mary Surratt isn’t half as committed to the cause as her son, Johnny. If he’s not delivering messages or escorting veiled spies, he’s invited home men like John Wilkes Booth, the actor who is even more charming in person than he is on the stage.
But when President Lincoln is killed, the question of what Mary knew becomes more important than anything else. Was she a cold-blooded accomplice? Just how far would she go to help her son?
Based on the true case of Mary Surratt, Hanging Mary reveals the untold story of those on the other side of the assassin’s gun. (publisher)
I have to confess that I don’t know much about Lincoln and hadn’t ever heard of Mary Surratt before. So this was all very new for me. I don’t usually read books about US history but I’ve loved Higginbotham’s previous books and wanted to give this a chance. And I’m glad I did.
Mary Surrat is a widower living in Washington trying to make living after her husband’s death left her in debts. She started to run a boardinghouse and business has started to pic up when President Lincoln is assassinated and the whole house is under suspicion. The man accused of the murder, John Wilkes Booth, is a friend of Mary’s son Johnny and has been spending time in the boardinghouse. Johnny is also one of the accused and Mary can’t believe her son has anything to do with the murder.
Nora Fitzpartick is one of the boarders who befriends Booth and becomes a suspect because of her friends.
It started little slow but soon started to pick up the pace and I wanted to keep reading wanting to know what would happen.
I resisted googling what would happen hoping someone would believe Mary and give her pardon. I liked Mary and Nora, even if Mary was little too blind to see what her doted son was up to. Nora was loyal to her friends until the end and trying everything she could do to save Mary.
I really liked this and I learned so much more about the period.
Published: Sourcebooks (March 2016)