Read Mrs. Lincoln's Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini Online


Kate Chase Sprague was born in 1840 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the second daughter to the second wife of a devout but ambitious lawyer. Her father, Salmon P. Chase, rose to prominence in the antebellum years and was appointed secretary of the treasury in Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet, while aspiring to even greater heights. Beautiful, intelligent, regal, and entrancing, young Kate Kate Chase Sprague was born in 1840 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the second daughter to the second wife of a devout but ambitious lawyer. Her father, Salmon P. Chase, rose to prominence in the antebellum years and was appointed secretary of the treasury in Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet, while aspiring to even greater heights. Beautiful, intelligent, regal, and entrancing, young Kate Chase stepped into the role of establishing her thrice-widowed father in Washington society and as a future presidential candidate. Her efforts were successful enough that The Washington Star declared her "the most brilliant woman of her day. None outshone her." None, that is, but Mary Todd Lincoln. Though Mrs. Lincoln and her young rival held much in common—political acumen, love of country, and a resolute determination to help the men they loved achieve greatness—they could never be friends, for the success of one could come only at the expense of the other. When Kate Chase married William Sprague, the wealthy young governor of Rhode Island, it was widely regarded as the pinnacle of Washington society weddings. President Lincoln was in attendance. The First Lady was not. Jennifer Chiaverini excels at chronicling the lives of extraordinary yet littleknown women through historical fiction. What she did for Elizabeth Keckley in Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker and for Elizabeth Van Lew in The Spymistress she does for Kate Chase Sprague in Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival....

Title : Mrs. Lincoln's Rival
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780525954286
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 432 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Mrs. Lincoln's Rival Reviews

  • Erin
    2018-12-12 05:51

    Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....I've come to the conclusion that I must approach Jennifer Chiaverini's work with a certain degree of caution. She isn't a bad writer, she actually has a great command of language and prose, but I find her brand of storytelling less than satisfying. My biggest concern is her tenancy to substitute fact based exposition in place of original content. This reliance makes her narratives interesting, but relatively dry and noteworthy for their lack of depth and momentum. To put it simply, one might as well read a nonfictional biography. To my mind, historical fiction is about combining fact with imagination and I don't think Chiaverini excels in creating an appropriate balance between the two. To make matters worse, I don't feel Mrs. Lincoln's Rival has a realistic central theme. Kate and Mary spend very little time in one another's company and short of a few jealous and belittling thoughts and remarks from Kate, the tension seems largely one-sided and grossly exaggerated. The blurb itself actually offers a great example of this sensationalism as it draws attention to Mrs. Lincoln's absence from Sprague wedding on November 12, 1863. Billed as the social event of the season, one might easily think this a deliberate slight, but the incident strikes a much more somber tone when one examines why the socially awkward first lady might have shunned an unnecessary public celebration. Following the tragic passing of her eleven year old son William on February 20, 1862, Mary Todd Lincoln entered a state of mourning. Victorian etiquette regarding death is far too complicated to explain here, but it dictated everything from the clothing one might wear to the functions they might attend. Duration was dependent on one's relationship to the deceased, but according to The Lincoln Institute, Mary Todd continued to exhibit her grief long after the customary period of observance and did not shed her mourning attire until early 1865. I understand the appeal of a social rivalry, purported cat fights have been selling magazines and newspapers for generations, but the idea isn't quite as provocative when one of the so called-combatants is a grieving mother. Call me crazy, but perspective actually makes the idea shallow, disgraceful and I'll say it, rather ridiculous.I think I've made it pretty clear that I struggled with both the style and content of this book and while I've granted it three stars, know my rating is a generous one, based on the historic scope of the novel rather than genuine appreciation for the narrative.

  • Diana
    2018-11-18 22:48

    This really pains me to write this, but this book is just not enjoyable. I have read almost all of the authors previous works & thoroughly enjoyed them (The Spymistress was awesome). Yes, the book was well-written & well-researched. Unfortunately, there was no 'Rivalry' to speak of, therefore no real drama. The protagonist of the book, is a young, entitled brat who relies on her father's success to advance her social standing. So in the end, we have a daughter of a Cabinet member versus the First Lady of the USA. That is not even a competition, for goodness sake! And Kate's father was a traitorous, duplicitous, narcissist who could not even handle his own finances. And Kate's husband was a scoundrel. The only likable characters in the novel were Pres. Lincoln & Kate's sister, Nettie. Skip this, and read "The Spymistress", you will thank me later!

  • Erin
    2018-11-25 01:10

    2.5 rounded up to 3 stars Well, I am glad that I gave myself a night to sleep on how I would approach this review. Combing through the reviews of other readers, I confess that they just might have stated all the the reasons this book didn't work for me. The book implies that the rivalry between Kate Chase and Mary Todd Lincoln was certainly the talk of Washington . The prologue sets us off for what I truly did feel was going to be a cat fight, but I suppose I should have been thinking about it from the perspective of a 19th century political watcher.

  • Katie/Doing Dewey
    2018-12-16 01:03

    Kate Chase, known as the Belle of Washington in the civil war era, was as beautiful and charming as she was politically savvy. Her good humor and social graces earned her the friendship of many but Mrs. Lincoln perceived her social success as a threat. This rivalry was only one of the challenges she faced while managing her father's political career and her many suitors.I went into this book with high expectations, having read several great reviews of the author's earlier books. I was immediately disappointed by the sparse prose and stiff dialogue. Although I could see someone living in the Civil War era speaking as formally as this book was written, combined with the third-person perspective, it left me feeling disconnected. Sometimes it seems as though the author is just trying to include all the details she could find out. She often mentions battles or people that she describes minimally and that don't add to the story.The details she included could also be very interesting. The way people lived, the progress of the war, and the political process at the time all fascinated me. One detail of the times actually led to my biggest problem with this book. Kate feels guilty over letting a suitor kiss her. She acts completely subservient to the men in her life and is happy to devote her life to first her father's and then her husband's career. And when she ends up in an abusive relationship, she blames herself! All of this is in keeping with the times, but some indication from the author that this is unacceptable now would be necessary for me to recommend this book, especially to younger readers.While the author mentions in the author note at the end that Kate eventually got a divorce, the book leaves her relationship story completely unresolved. The political plot is also fairly anticlimactic since we know that neither Kate's father nor her husband ever become president. At the end of the book, this left me unsure what the focus of the plot was supposed to be. Despite these negative comments, if you can accept the probably accurate but unfortunate representation of women's rights, this was a nice light read which gave an interesting glimpses of life during the Civil War. It's not the finest historical fiction I've read, but still might be worth picking up if you have an interest in the time period.This review first published on Doing Dewey.

  • Wanda
    2018-12-15 00:47

    Mrs. Lincoln's Rival is a work of fiction that is inspired by historical facts. The author did a tremendous job with the details of the Civil War, as President Lincoln struggles with the difficult realities of that time. At times I felt bogged down with political details and almost abandoned the book, but kept reading and I'm so glad I did.The author paints a stunning picture of Kate Chase who is elegant, outgoing, and filled with charm and I soon became engaged with her willful character. Kate was a true and loyal daughter to Salmon P Chase and they both had an ardent desire for him to become the President of the United States. Kate was very involved with her father's political career, and as his eldest daughter, Kate would have become First Lady since he was a widower. But their ambitions are thwarted when the Republican Party selects Mr Lincoln as their candidate and Mr Chase is sworn in as Secretary of the Treasury. It was rather ironic that Mr Chase ran the Treasury with skill, but his own finances not so well.And the story unfolds through the Civil War, President Lincoln's days in office, the rivalry between Mrs Lincoln and Kate Chase, and finally the assassination of President Lincoln.I became most engaged in the storyline during the rather turbulent relationship between Kate and William Sprague, the "Boy Governor" from Rhode Island. 30 year old Sprague was a cavalry officer and fueled with charm. He was very wealthy, worth millions, and owned cotton mills in Rhode Island. His accomplishments were quite extraordinary, but Kate was warned that he was less than he seemed. The writing is simple and flowing and easy to read. I found the rivalry between Mrs Lincoln and Kate Chase to be secondary to the storyline and is certainly not what grabbed my attention. If you have any interest in the Civil War, there is a wealth of information, and much to be learned from this book. My rating is 4 stars.

  • Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
    2018-12-10 07:09

    DNF...couldn't get past the 100 page mark. Boring...boring...ZZZZZZI have way too many other books waiting for me so I'm moving on.

  • WC Beaver
    2018-11-18 07:01

    If indeed, as author Ms Chiaverini says, Kate Chase is truly one of the most fascinating women ever to grace the swamps of Washington, there must exist a dearth of available candidates. It is true, however, that Kate wields significant influence over her inestimable father, Salmon Chase, but she is not likable. Mrs Lincoln is not likely to win friends and influence people to a greater degree than Kate.This fictionalized historic biography is more a recollection of Secretary of the Treasury Chase and his intimacy, both favorable and otherwise, with the president, than it is a telling of Kate's conflict with the "hellcat", Mrs Lincoln. Salmon Chase, after all, who considered himself a favorite, was defeated by Lincoln in the election of 1860, but accepted his cabinet position with the expectation that his desire for the office of chief executive would be realized in four years.Kate's eventual marriage to William Sprague, boy governor of Rhode Island, is fraught with dysfunctional behavior. John Hays, Lincoln's secretary, is a delight, as is Kate's younger sister, Nettie, who many times surpasses Kate's perception of significance.A strong point of the book is the accuracy of events relating to the development of the impending conflict and resulting battles of the civil war, Lincoln's handling of and Chase's view of the war, the Emancipation Proclamation, and what to do about the issue of slavery. Characters, both significant and lesser, fit in precisely where they are supposed to.Kate's courting and marriage to Sprague is a major distraction, as is the elaborate detail and description of balls, levees, and other expensive soirees entertained by the elite of Washington.

  • Christine (KizzieReads)
    2018-11-15 23:59

    I know this was a fictionalized account of true happenings in history, but I found that it was mostly small snippets of story around the actual history. I would have liked a bit more story and a little less name dropping and political endeavors. It just felt like a lot of history telling with a small amount of story surrounding it. Since I am Canadian, and only know of the major historical figures, I was constantly having to search Google to see what these people looked like, while this is not the author's fault, I just felt out of the story as I had to continually do this. The writing was good, I just wanted more a story surrounding these major events in history.

  • Cathy Daniel
    2018-12-09 04:58

    I discovered why I didn't care for this one very much even though I love the writing. I just didn't find the characters very likable and if I don't like a character, it's hard to like the book. I love the author and didn't have the heart to rate lower though I skimmed the middle to end.

  • Victoria
    2018-11-30 23:48

    I won an Advance Reader's Copy of this novel through the Goodreads First Reads program. I must first say that I was thoroughly impressed with the subject matter and the level of details and research put into the novel. In my opinion, it is comparable to Antonia Fraser and Alison Weir's level of detail. The novel is about Kate Chase Sprague the daughter of Salmon P. Chase who was the Treasury Secretary for President Lincoln. It details Kate's impressive determination to assist her father in his bid for the presidency. Her father was Lincoln's rival, and as a result Kate is Mrs. Lincoln's rival. This story does not, however, focus solely on Mrs. Lincoln and her relationship with Kate, as it does Kate's relationship with politics. I found Kate rather unlikeable, and elements of "daughter knows best", such as seeing the error in her father's ways at the age of 18 extremely off-putting. I'm sure it's to give the reader the insight into her intelligence and her passion for her father's campaign, but I found those moments hard to swallow. I think it's a compliment to Chiaverini that she presented us with a character that was not only intelligent, charming, but entitled, quick tempered and stubborn. I feel that this balance to her character, while aggravating to the reader, makes her more human than most heroines. I think many of the complaints about Kate come from the fact that when we read a novel we don't always want to read about the faults that we may find in ourselves. So while Kate frustrated me to no end, I can't deny the excellent composition, giving insight to the political landscape during the American Civil War.

  • Kelley
    2018-12-06 22:54

    As a long time fan of Chiaverini, I've been looking forward to reading this novel.After reading "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker", I expected something different than this novel. I expected it to be mostly about the rivalry between Kate Chase and Mrs. Lincoln; instead, it was about Kate's life during Lincoln's tenure as president. Again, Chiaverini's research was impeccable and the fictionalization of the characters believable. Kate Chase was a woman far ahead of her time in a political sense and I found her story fascinating. Her unfortunate marriage to William Sprague was well described as was her independent spirit. She was a much more likable woman than Mary Lincoln, although she was calculating in her own way. I enjoyed "Mrs. Lincoln's Rival" as much as I enjoyed "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker". While Mrs. Lincoln was featured in the title of each, we learn of her through the observances of others.I love history and have always read a lot of historical fiction, but I think I learned more about the frustrations of President Lincoln with his generals in these two novels than in all the others I've read. Ms. Chiaverini did an excellent job of setting her story in the time period and describing that period better than many others I've read over the years.

  • Pamela Beckford
    2018-11-28 01:44

    After having read Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker and absolutely loving it, I was anxious to read another book from the exact same time. The author has such a command of descriptions and the history and portrayed Kate Chase as a powerful political and social young woman. I would like to have gotten more of the rivalry between Miss Chase and Mrs. Lincoln though. The story follows Miss Chase and her father over several years. I felt the book ended rather abruptly however. While it was a fairly long book, it could have had a more complete ending. This book wasn't as good as Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, but not from want of an interesting subject. It seemed to drag in a few spots, but only for a few pages. And, like I said, the ending was too abrupt for my liking. Still, this was a good book with some very interesting passages. I do recommend the book.

  • Karen
    2018-12-14 01:50

    I got to page120 and didn't continue with this book because I felt the author was too historically humdrum. When I read historical fiction, it is to get away from the tedious fact-gathering of nonfiction. It is always refreshing to have historical fiction novels which delve into characters centered in historical times. Ms. Chiaverini did just that with her previous novel, "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker". But, she misses the mark with "Mrs. Lincoln's Rival". I do look forward to future historical fiction books by Ms. Chiaverini, because I have read all of her previous quilt story books, and of course thoroughly enjoyed "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker".

  • Ruth Chatlien
    2018-11-28 06:56

    I found this book unsatisfying. We get only a brief chapter of Kate Chase's life—the Civil War years, in keeping with the theme of her supposed rivalry with Mrs. Lincoln. I think Kate Chase deserved better.

  • Tori
    2018-12-12 03:01

    I couldn't find a really likeable main character.

  • Judie
    2018-12-06 06:11

    Kate Chase was the elder daughter of Salmon P. Chase, Abraham Lincoln’s rival for the Republican party nomination for President in 1860, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, and appointed by Lincoln to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Her mother died when she was not yet five. Her father remarried twice and was widowed twice. Kate became her father’s official hostess, confidant, and political advisor. MRS. LINCOLN’S RIVAL primarily focuses on the years 1859 through 1865, the year before Lincoln was nominated, through his assassination. While Mary Todd Lincoln is not mentioned very much in the book except in instances of her performing or not performing her mostly social duties as First Lady and as the mother of a child who died, the title of the book comes from the role that Kate played as the Belle of North which rivaled and overtook Mrs. Lincoln’s social position. Mary Lincoln comes across as a petty, extravagant woman with a terrible temper. She strongly disliked the Chases, partly because they were not present in Columbus, Ohio, when the train carrying her and Abraham Lincoln stopped there enroute to DC. The fact that they were already in DC didn’t seem to matter. She maintained a grudge against them, even refusing to attend Kate’s wedding to William Sprague, former governor of Rhode Island, US Senator, and military leader. Kate Chase comes across as beautiful, wise (especially politically), and full of herself. Her main goal was to help her father get elected President and she put down anyone who got in his way. She deeply resented anyone who had more political clout than her father. She desperately wanted to be First Lady. She also did not want her father to remarry. There is a lot of general information about specific actions during the Civil War. It seems, however, that the horrific events on the battlefields did not diminish the party scene in DC. More attention is given to who was there, what they wore, how the room was decorated, who provided the entertainment, and what they ate. Dinner at the White House often began at midnight. The book details her relationship with John Hay, President Lincoln’s assistant secretary and William Sprague. Jennifer Chiaverini provides a lot of references for more information about Kate Chase as well as a short epilogue about what happened after Lincoln’s death. I found much of the language stilted; conversations did not sound natural. Some of the information seemed illogical. In one case, an opponent is said to have had voters driven to the voting booth and given $50 to vote. That seems like an excessively high amount, even for today let alone 1860. I wonder if this early-twenty-something woman was really more politically astute than most of the men who had more education and experience than she did. The book has too much unnecessary detail and description, almost as if the author felt compelled to tell everything she knew. It tended to make the story drag. Based on MRS. LINCOLN’S DRESSMAKER, I wonder how much of the story was written by the author and how much was taken almost verbatim from other sources. She also doesn’t explain how Kate and her father’s relationship developed. When she was born, he wrote a disparaging comment about her in the family Bible and later sent her to a boarding school when she and her stepmother didn’t get along. Something had to happen to bring them closer and have him rely on her so much. I first read MRS. LINCOLN’S RIVAL quilt series novels and enjoyed them. She is a good writer. I hope she returns to them.

  • Marcy
    2018-11-19 22:51

    Kate Chase, the daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury, was a beautiful debutante who was her father's advisor and confidante. In place of her mother, who died, Kate accompanied her father to the White House balls and high society dinners. Kate's father had hoped to win the the Republican presidency, but Mr. Lincoln was the proclaimed winner. It was Kate's dream and her father's ambition to become the president in the future. It is hard to know what caused the rivalry between Mrs. Lincoln and Kate, but once Mrs. Lincoln showed her animosity towards Kate in a private conversation, Kate was determined to give the best parties in her father's newly decorated house, making Kate the belle of Washington as well as the most beloved young woman. Kate really could never have been Mrs. Lincoln's rival, for Mrs. Lincoln was not well loved by Washington Society. It was her husband who was revered for the successful end of the Civil War and end of slavery. Mrs. Lincoln's son died in the White House, leaving Mrs. Lincoln bereaved and bitter. Kate, although more loved by Washington society had her own misfortunes. She married a rich soldier, a governor of Rhode Island, who Kate had aspirations that if her father would not become the President of the United States, her husband would. Little did she know when she said yes to marriage that her husband had a split personality, keeping important secrets from her that would impact her married life.Although Kate and Mrs. Lincoln were rivals, neither had the luck or good fortune to "win." You, the reader, will find out why. I learned a lot about the Lincoln presidency and politics, but it slowed down my reading as a textbook would. This book was more about politics than the rivalry of two women. I enjoyed Jennifer Chiaverini's first book more.

  • Kris - My Novelesque Life
    2018-12-14 04:51

    MRS. LINCOLN'S RIVALWritten by Jennifer Chiaverini2014, 435 PagesGenre: historical fiction, american history(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).Rating: ★★★★Kate Chase Sprague is the eldest daughter of an ambitious lawyer, Salmon P. Chase who had his eye on the Presidential seat. With the death of his second wife, Kate becomes Salmon's hostess. She was at his side to attend parties and threw parties on his behalf. Kate saw herself as the First Lady as her father rose in politics. Unfortunately for Kate and Salmon, Abraham Lincoln would become President and thus putting Kate and Mary Todd Lincoln at odds.While Kate liked Mr. Lincoln she felt snubbed by his dull wife. Mary on the other hand thought Kate was snubbing her because Kate felt she was the rightful First Lady. The two would try to outdo the other through proper social circles.Kate then focuses on her own life and falls for an ambitious Rhode Island politician William Sprague. The two political minds seem perfect for one another or do they?I enjoyed this novel but it is a bit overly descriptive in the day to day activities I appreciated most of the acts as I did not know too much about Lincoln's presidency or the key players. At the time I found the main character, Kate Chase, to be arrogant but she did not turn me off reading the book. Other than Lincoln and Kate's younger sister most of the characters seemed unlikeable - very flawed but realistic characters. I really enjoyed listening to this novel in audiobook format.k (My Novelesque Life)My Novelesque Life

  • Nathalie S
    2018-11-18 22:46

    I really enjoyed reading "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" so I was anxious to read "Mrs. Lincoln's Rival" and was not disappointed. Jennifer Chiaverini offers rich details of this time period and is truly a master story teller. The "rival" is Kate Chase, daughter of Salmon P. Chase who served as governor of Ohio and later as Secretary of the Treasury in Abraham Lincoln's administration. The story is even more compelling as these are real life characters in U.S. history. I looked up their photos online which enriched the story. I've read of those women whose husbands or fathers are in the political arena. It's interesting and at times, unbelievable, to hear of their behind the scene work and am amazed at their loyalty. Kate Chase and Mary Todd Lincoln (whose hellcat reputation was apparently well deserved) do have a rivalry in Washington City's salon circles. I sided with Kate the whole book especially as she was able to still reach out to Mary Todd Lincoln in her hour of need, at the death of her sons and husband, compassion which neither reciprocated nor acknowledged. The whole Governor William Sprague episode broke your heart because, as an outsider, many red flags appeared in their early relationship. Kate who was so savvy in many ways was blinded by love in this most important part of her life, as many are. Kate had her faults too but overall, she still remained a compelling character. The story telling was enhanced by reader Christina Moore's masterful rendition.

  • Linda Anderson
    2018-11-20 00:58

    The writing is not stellar nor is there suspense in this work of historical fiction. The book was more about Salmon and Kate Chase and their father-daughter relationship than about the rivalry between Kate Chase and Mary Todd Lincoln. The approach to the political climate was most interesting. The author probably did depict the 1850's and 1860's very historically. I enjoyed the book from a detailed account of the political times of the Civil War. The day to day activities of the characters was fascinating. Kate Chase was a remarkable woman and had the courage to divorce a man who mistreated her in 1882. Although, Mary Todd Lincoln was in the book, that was certainly not a central theme of the book. I had not realized the extent that the railroad tracks were destroyed in 1861. I had also not realized how DC being in the center of Maryland and Virginia during that time affected the residents of the city. For the first time, the spectators at Bull Run finally made sense to me from a human perspective. I knew some of the details of the Union Generals, but this book filled in a lot of details for me, which I enjoyed. Overall, for a more high interest book than a biography, I thought it was good for the genre it represents.

  • Julia
    2018-12-15 04:08

    Good but not great novel about Kate Chase, the daughter of Salmon Chase. Her father was Secretary of the Treasury during the U.S. Civil War (this is historical fact, so I don't think it needs to be in spoiler tags even though the book starts before that).The title is misleading - there is very little about Mrs. Lincoln in this book. In retrospect I realize that since Kate was hoping that her father would win the presidency instead of Lincoln, and that she (Kate) would serve as First Lady because her father was widowed, this could be what the "Rival" portion of the title means - rivals for position of First Lady. But I never felt the rivalry while reading.I have enjoyed most of Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts books, and been pulled into those stories and characters. In contrast, with Mrs. Lincoln's Rival I learned some interesting facts in U.S. history, but never felt really pulled into the story.

  • Peggy
    2018-12-16 02:04

    I struggled to read most of this book because of the great detail the author put into the historical facts. Most of this information I already knew. However I am so very glad that I finished the book. The story is about Salmon P. Chase and his daughters Nettie and Kate during the Lincoln Presidency. Kate was a social butterfly and her whole life was involved in promoting and protecting her father Salmon P. Chase. I knew very little about this family and I felt the author gave an interesting portrayal of their lives. I wish she would have dealt a little more with Mary Todd Lincoln whom I find a very interesting person. She mostly told the stories of how eccentric Mrs. Lincoln was but I found it so interesting that Mrs. Lincoln also visited the soldiers on a daily basis and never exploited the fact. There was so much going on politically during this era that I was unaware of. If you are interested at all in this time frame I would recommend this book for reading. Just don't expect to skim over it as there is so much detail to take in to account. I can hardly wait to read Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker now!

  • Cara
    2018-11-30 23:52

    I originally read this author's series about a circle of quilters. I liked those, and then she started adding flashbacks to explain some of the quilters' family history. The historical parts soon made the modern parts seem really boring by comparison, so I'm really happy to see her writing whole historical novels.I really enjoyed this book, although it made me sad how just a few bad decisions can totally change the course of a person's life and basically ruin it. (view spoiler)[I'm not just talking about Kate marrying William, but also her father publishing that pamphlet that made all the political people hate him. (hide spoiler)]I was actually surprised not to be more upset when President Lincoln was shot. I cried for the first two casualties of the war, and I really liked President Lincoln. I don't know if it was because I knew it was coming or what, but I was surprisingly unmoved by that part.Anyway, this was an interesting story about a real woman I had never heard of, and I really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes view of 19th Century politics.

  • Andrea Stoeckel
    2018-11-29 06:07

    This is a ho-hum attempt to again hop on the Lincoln bandwagon. I'm sorry, there is little new except to make Mary Todd Lincoln look bad.Kate Chase Sprague was her father's chatelaine after the death of her (step)mother(s), running the house, taking care of her sister, becoming her father's helper and right hand in personal and political roles.The book traces the dicey history of the Republican Convention of 1860 (remember, they were the liberal party at that time) through the death of Salmon P. Chase and President Lincoln. It is a look at the mores of the young country, the ethics of respect, and the way wives were (not) treated.As a born Rhode Islander, I knew of Sprague and his wife. I knew he was young when he took office, that it was a marriage where 4 children were born, and that they divorced acrimoniously in 1882. I knew Kate died in her father's home in 1899, and that her only son suicided.IMHO, Ms. Chiaverini should stick to her quilt series, this book doesn't live up to its hype

  • Christina
    2018-12-14 06:11

    The title is misleading. The "rivalry between Kate and Mrs. Lincoln is never really explained. We are periodically reminded that they dislike each other but that's about it. Also, that whole story is such a minor part of the book. In fact, Mrs Lincoln is only mentioned a handful of times. I know so little of Mrs Lincoln, that even though this is historical FICTION, I was excited to learn more about her. I felt the purpose of the book ended up being to describe the events surrounding the civil war,and focused heavily on President Lincoln and his close cabinet members. I really had nothing to do with any rivalry between Ms Chase and Mrs Lincoln. Had I wanted a historical fiction about Lincoln and the politics surrounding the civil war I would have search a book with another title. When I picked this up, I thought it would focus more on Mrs Lincoln and her "rival" Ms Chase, and their relationship. I skimmed through quite a bit during the second half of the book, and still was able to grasp the story. I had to force myself to finish it.

  • Alethea White-Previs
    2018-12-14 04:44

    Chiaverini's first novel, MRS. LINCOLN'S DRESSMAKER, was wonderful. Rich in historical detail, bravely exploring a relationship never much spoken of... I assumed the follow-up, this novel, would be just as riveting. It was not. Kate Chase, daughter of Lincoln cabinet member and future Chief Justice Salmon Chase, came across as a whiny, entitled brat. I cannot count the number of times the narrative is interrupted for Kate to have yet another thought of "that should have been my father's," or "he was cheated out of the presidency." Kate is made out as a woman who strictly adheres to the Washington rules of the social set, yet she spends many an idle moment bemoaning her father's unfair loss of the Republican nomination in 1860. Chase's story is indeed one that deserves a bit of attention, but Chiaverini's characterization of her as a spoiled rich girl begins to grate on the nerves early on in the novel's progress.

  • Sofia
    2018-11-26 00:43

    Mrs. Lincoln's Rival is about Kate Chase Sprague, the daughter of politician SP Chase. I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be a page-turner, educational, interesting, and relaxing to read. I enjoyed all the details about the politics and society in Washington in the 1860's, and the civil war.The title of the book is really just a way to introduce you to Kate. The rivalry is only a small part of the book, as are the notes about Mrs. Lincoln. though this is fiction based on history, I found myself getting to know, and admire, President Lincoln like never before. Chiaverini gives you a very good sense of his character. After reading it I was interested to learn about the lives of all the main characters. Chiaverini really brought them to life, which is the mark of a great writer in my book.A great read!!

  • Amy
    2018-12-16 04:44

    I really enjoyed this book! I've always been interested in this time of American history and really liked Mrs. A Lincoln. This was along those same lines with insight into the political machinations of the time and the power some women held behind the scenes. The personal life of Kate Chase was no less intriguing, but much more depressing. I kept hoping she would not marry William Sprague or that he would change. That did not happen, but I suppose disheartening endings are unavoidable in books based in history. Now, I'm just sad for the ending of her life, but immensely glad I read about the rest of her life. The rivalry with Mrs Lincoln wasn't truly the focus of the book, but I don't have a problem with that because the title is what intrigued me and interested me, which I doubt a title of Kate Chase would have done.

  • Donna
    2018-11-29 23:01

    Really this should be 2 1/2 stars. I can't really bring myself to say I liked it but it does rate higher than 2 stars. Part of my problem is the dialogue is so stilted. I realize it is reflective of that period but it is cringe worthy at times. The other part of it is Katherine Jane Chase was a conniving bitch. I could not like her in any sense of the word. I swear, if the First Lady had given me the stink eye at any point in our interaction I would have made myself scarce from that point forward. Miss Chase didn't appear to be that humbled...bold heifer! And finally, I felt bogged down by the political detail...I was reliving my college history classes! Those are the things that brought it down from 3 stars for me.

  • Diane
    2018-12-10 05:06

    I was disappointed while reading this book-it was more about the government and events within the Lincoln administration than a rivalry between A daughter of a cabinet member and the First Lady. The Spymistress and Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker were thoroughly enjoyable and well written, but Mrs. Lincoln'sRival leaves a lot to be desired. It definitely lacked a story of rivalry! It certainly opened my eyes to the undesirable characteristics of Kate and Salmon Chase and Kate's husband William Sprague! I hope the next Novel of Jennifer Chiaverini's that I read will bring back the good feelings I had with her aforementioned books.