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Cover for The First Lady and the Rebel

The First Lady and the Rebel

A Novel

Susan Higginbotham


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From celebrated author Susan Higginbotham comes an incredible book about Abraham Lincoln's First Lady and, on the other side of the Civil War, her sister.

A Union's First Lady

As the Civil War cracks the country in two, Mary Lincoln stands beside her husband praying for a swift Northern victory. But as the body count rises, Mary can't help but fear each bloody gain. Because her beloved sister Emily is across party lines, fighting for the South, and Mary is at risk of losing both her country and her family in the tides of a brutal war.

A Confederate Rebel's Wife

Emily Todd Helm has married the love of her life. But when her husband's southern ties pull them into a war neither want to join, she must make a choice. Abandon the family she has built in the South or become a true rebel woman fighting against the sister she has always loved best.

With a country's legacy at stake, how will two sisters shape history?

A Civil War book about two women determined to do the right thing, The First Lady and the Rebel is sure to inspire fans of Marie Benedict and Stephanie Dray.

Praise For The First Lady and the Rebel: A Novel

"Historical fiction at it best: A unique, intimate view of a character we thought we knew. The Civil War comes to life through two sisters on opposite sides, one the first lady of the not-so United States. And through it all, a fascinating family saga. I learned a lot and loved this book." — Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of American Duchess

"Susan Higginbotham's The First Lady and the Rebel is a meticulously researched and powerfully written account of the complicated and compelling relationship between the Todd sisters. Higginbotham's two female protagonists are bonded by blood and love, but pulled apart by war. Set against the sweeping backdrop of our nation's Civil War, this is the tragic and true story of human hearts both fierce and fallible, of deeply mixed loyalties, and of the imperfect but inspiring individuals who were asked to do the unimaginable. Moving and enlightening." — Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Empress

"Susan Higginbotham has done it again—crafted a richly detailed novel that immerses readers in America’s Civil War. The First Lady and the Rebel explores the tragic story of a family and a nation torn apart, while shedding light on rarely reported events in the personal life of Abraham Lincoln. Mary Todd Lincoln, the President’s wife, and her sister, Emily Todd Helm, are devoted to their husbands and to each other, yet find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict as they face overwhelming grief and loss. The novel presents a devastating time and place rendered so vividly you’ll feel as if you’d lived through the war yourself. Higginbotham’s painstaking and extensive research is evident from the engaging first chapter to the novel’s moving conclusion. For those who like their historical novels based on real people, this book is a must-read." — Amy Belding Brown, author of Flight of the Sparrow

"Higginbotham does a great job portraying her characters with complexity and nuance, while also illuminating the circumstances of a war that tore families apart. Historical fiction enthusiasts will delight in this revealing view of the relationship between Union supporter Mary and her Southern-sympathizing sister." — Publishers Weekly

"This work pays meticulous attention to historical detail while weaving an enthralling tale of the private life of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, as well as the ups and downs of Mary’s relationship with Emily. This page-turner will please those who enjoy Civil War–era settings." — Library Journal

"Higginbotham is a meticulous researcher, and The First Lady and the Rebel reveals a tenuous, often fraught relationship, not uncommon between two sisters, that will fascinate her readers." — Booklist

"Well-told and enjoyable and solid piece of historical fiction." — All About Romance

"It is well-researched and full of detail about American history" — Historical Novel Society

Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492647089, 400pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2019

About the Author

Susan Higginbotham is the author of seven historical novels, including Hanging Mary, The Stolen Crown, and The Queen of Last Hopes. The Traitor's Wife, her first novel, was the winner of ForeWord Magazine's 2005 Silver Award for historical fiction and was a Gold Medalist, Historical/Military Fiction, 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards. She writes her own historical fiction blog, History Refreshed. Higginbotham has worked as an editor and an attorney, and lives in Maryland with her family.