The Secret Wife of Aaron Burr
Now available in stores and online.
Inspired by a woman and events forgotten by history, bestselling author Susan Holloway Scott weaves together carefully researched fact and fiction to tell the story of Mary Emmons, and the place she held in the life—and the heart—of the notorious Aaron Burr.
He was a hero of the Revolution, a brilliant politician, lawyer, and very nearly president; a skillful survivor in a raw new country filled with constantly shifting loyalties. Today Aaron Burr is remembered more for the fatal duel that killed rival Alexander Hamilton. But long before that single shot destroyed Burr’s political career, there were other dark whispers about him: that he was untrustworthy, a libertine, a man unafraid of claiming whatever he believed should be his.
Sold into slavery as a child in India, Mary Emmons was brought to an America torn by war. Toughened by the experiences of her young life, Mary is intelligent, resourceful, and strong. She quickly gains the trust of her new mistress, Theodosia Prevost, and becomes indispensable in a complicated household filled with intrigue—especially when the now-widowed Theodosia marries Colonel Aaron Burr. As Theodosia sickens with the fatal disease that will finally kill her, Mary and Burr are drawn together into a private world of power and passion, and a secret, tangled union that would have shocked the nation . . .
Praise & Reviews
“Scott’s deeply empathetic heroine is sure to keep readers hooked; both her inner strength and the strength of her relationships—such as the connection she has to her fellow enslaved people in India—elevate and anchor the story…. a moving and vivid work of historical fiction.” – Publishers Weekly
“Scott (I, Eliza Hamilton), has taken on a difficult task here in imaginatively illuminating the life of a woman hidden in history: Mary Emmons, the longtime family slave then freed mistress of Aaron Burr. Her life starts in her native India, as the outcast daughter of rape by an English soldier, and goes through horrific trials and masters before she’s bought and brought to America by Theodosia Burr’s first husband. In that New Jersey household, Mary finds love with a free Revolutionary War soldier who tries to buy her freedom before he dies in battle. Quick-witted, practical, and accomplished, Mary becomes a neighborhood sage while still in her twenties. Aaron Burr sets his sights on her even while he’s wooing Theodosia. Their complex, unequal relationship grows over the years and through Theodosia’s childbearing, death, and the birth of Mary’s own two children by Burr. Through all, her dream of freedom for herself and her family never dies….Modern echoes of political discord leap off the page as Burr and the new American government grow increasingly unstable. Impressive research, details, and an unforgettable cast of characters led by a woman of courage and spirit spark a story infused with heart. Highly recommended.” — Editor’s Choice, Historical Novelists Society Review
“Scott has created a memorable protagonist whose persistence and courage are often inspiring.” – Library Journal
“Power, passion, secrets…the new saga by bestselling historical author Susan Holloway Scott has it all. This novel follows notorious politician and Revolutionary War hero Aaron Burr and Mary Emmons, the intelligent and strong handmaid to Burr’s wife, Theodosia. But when Theodosia passes away, Mary and Aaron can’t deny their connection. Part fact, part fiction, this tale captivates.” - Women’s World Magazine
“If you enjoy novels set during the American Revolution and all the “players” of the time, The Secret Wife of Aaron Burr is definitely for you. With thorough research author Susan Holloway Scott gives voices to characters that will stay with you for a long time….I adored this book. Mary Emmons is a fantastic character and a woman that gave birth to leaders in the abolitionist movement in the early 1800s. Enslaved as a child in India to a French aristocrat and sold once more to the husband of Theodosia Prevost, she ended up in the British colonies and stands as one of the best, well-rounded female characters I’ve ever read about. While little is known about her other than her journey from India, her place in the Prevost/Burr household, and her children with Burr, Scott gives life to a woman that readers can easily see as the mother of an abolitionist. Strong, clever, and always biding her time, Mary is a character that every woman can look up to….A must-read book for those that enjoy historical fiction.” – Reads & Reviews ★★★★
“I loved this book! I was hesitant to read about Aaron Burr because I am such a Hamilton fan, however, I actually really enjoyed learning about Burr. There is a lot of historical detail in the book which I really enjoyed. I also enjoyed reading about the politics of the time from the perspective of Burr and his party….By far my favorite part of the book was the character of Mary Emmons. Her story is absolutely fascinating….Scott has the amazing ability to bring history to life without boring the reader and I could not put this book down. I highly recommend this book to historical fiction fans and anyone who just wants to read a fascinating story.” – The Bookish Blonde
“While you likely remember Aaron Burr as the Vice President of the United States who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, you may not know anything about his secret lover, Mary Emmons. Inspired by actual historical events, Scott tells a powerful story about how Aaron Burr and Indian-born servant Mary Emmons began a relationship that would have scandalized the country. Scott has made a habit of authoring books about woman who are often passed over in history. Her earlier works, including I, Eliza Hamilton and Duchess: A Novel of Sarah Churchill show her skill in both reimagining the past and crafting thoroughly enjoyable historical fiction novels.” - Early Bird Books
“There are only a few books that I have given 5 stars to, and I am proud to say that this book is one of them! This history nerd LOVED this book! It was so meticulously researched and it showed throughout the whole book…. And as much as I loved reading about this time period, what I enjoyed most was how the author made you feel as you were in the story. I was totally sucked into this world, so much so that I could hear, see and feel everything that Mary felt. The anguish, the sadness, the fear, every emotion leapt off the pages and kept me up late many nights, past my bedtime. It also left me weepy, many times. Those that enjoy historical fiction will enjoy this book. I know I did.” – Fox & Books
Featured title for October, 2019, Kobo Between the Chapters Book Club
Featured title for October, 2019, MaryJanesFarm Farmgirl Book Club
Featured title for October, 2091, Women’s World Magazine Book Club
Interviews & articles
Three Books Based on Little-Known Historical Women by Kimberly Laws, BookBub
America’s Founding Father Aaron Burr’s Relationship with Indian Woman from Calcutta Comes to Light by Suman Guha Mozumder, India Abroad
Aaron Burr, vice-president who killed Hamilton, had children of color by Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian