• The Secrets of Mary Bowser

  • A Novel
  • By: Lois Leveen
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 16 hrs and 25 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (212 ratings)

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The Secrets of Mary Bowser

By: Lois Leveen
Narrated by: Robin Miles
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Publisher's Summary

Based on a remarkable true story, The Secrets of Mary Bowser is an inspiring tale of one daring woman's willingness to sacrifice her own freedom to change the course of history.

All her life, Mary has been a slave to the wealthy Van Lew family of Richmond, Virginia. But when Bet, the willful Van Lew daughter, decides to send Mary to Philadelphia to be educated, she must leave her family to seize her freedom.

Life in the North brings new friendships, a courtship, and a far different education than Mary ever expected, one that leads her into the heart of the abolition movement. With the nation edging toward war, she defies Virginia law by returning to Richmond to care for her ailing father - and to fight for emancipation. Posing as a slave in the Confederate White House in order to spy on President Jefferson Davis, Mary deceives even those who are closest to her to aid the Union command.

Just when it seems that all her courageous gambles to end slavery will pay off, Mary discovers that everything comes at a cost - even freedom.

©2012 Lois Leveen (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

What listeners say about The Secrets of Mary Bowser

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful performance of a great story.

This was a wonderful story that was masterfully performed by Robin Miles. Much more than reading the story, she brought to life each of the characters with distinctive voices that really brought the whole story to life. Set mostly in the south 150 years ago, the characters include male and female slaves, wealthy slave owners, and the rest of society including highly educated as well illiterate characters. This is the best performance I have ever listened to and because it is a really good story I enjoyed it very much.There are many aspects of the lives of the people living in that time leading up to and including the Civil War, that were brought out in different and thoughtful ways. I highly recommend this audiobook.

5 people found this helpful

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Impressive

Any additional comments?

An amazing combination of fact and fiction in this historical novel. I commend the Lois Leveen and Robin Miles for the creation of this excellent novel!

3 people found this helpful

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Civil War Era Story

I really enjoyed this book. I learned some things about the Civil War and the perspective of Mary was very interesting. There were some parts that I thought were tedious and long, but luckily, those were rare. Overall, it was very enjoyable and the narrator and writing were very good. I forgot at some points that this was a fictional account of Mary's life.

3 people found this helpful

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Still a man's world, but women have come so far!

Where does The Secrets of Mary Bowser rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This historical novel opened my eyes in an unexpected way and is one of the best books I've listened to on audible. Set in my home state and even in a city where I lived, I was really surprised to learn about the statutes that state legislators put on the books, particularly regarding emancipation and education of slaves. These laws now seem impossible to believe and drove the necessity of keeping deep secrets to protect and bind families of freed slaves. Since Daniel Day Lewis portrayed Abraham Lincoln in the recent Spielberg film, I had a refreshed perspective that truly benefited from viewing the issues from other vantage points. Seeing the events through the eyes of a young emancipated girl made this story extraordinary. Lois Leveen has a storytelling gift and the performance by Robin Miles was wonderful.

2 people found this helpful

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Ripped From the History Books

Would you listen to The Secrets of Mary Bowser again? Why?

Based on a true story, this was enjoyable and informative. Robin Miles is one of my favorite narrators.

2 people found this helpful

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Great narration of a great story!

This was a beautifully narrated story that brought history to life. Dramatized but also educational.

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Informative

Loved the narration and information provided. I was not aware of Mary Browser until listening to this book. Great information!

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Loved this story and narration.

Of all the historical fiction books I've read on the Civil War and slavery, this has been one of the very best. What an amazing person Mary Bowser must have been and there must be so many more people like her whose stories will never be known. I was glad to get a glimpse of what her life might actually have been like and could tell the author was obviously very diligent in their research. Read this book!

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Riveting!

Enjoyed storyline and how blacks fought for their freedom with wit and wisdom. Wonder what Mary and Wilson would do in the fight that still continues....in the year of our Lord 2021?

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This is history that creates our present.

The story is told from a perspective with a voice that needs to be heard today. This is history that creates our present. The story is as enlightening as the performance is engaging! -kg