FINISHING BECCA: A Story About Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold by Ann Rinaldi

FINISHING BECCA: A Story About Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1778 Rebecca Syng, the teenager who narrates this story, is sent to be a lady's maid in the Shippen household in Philadelphia. Becca's father had been a successful silversmith before he fell on hard times and then died, leaving his family to fend for themselves in the country. There Becca's mother married a good-for-nothing man who drained what was left of her meager resources so that she had to supplement their farm's income by sewing for the fine ladies of Philadelphia. Becca is sent to the Shippens to care for their beautiful and spoiled youngest daughter, Peggy, and at the same time to develop the polish that she would once have received in finishing school, which she can no longer afford to attend. Although the Revolution is raging (Becca's brother is fighting with General Washington), the Shippens entertain the British officers who occupy Philadelphia, attend their balls, and flirt with their soldiers. Peggy is especially flirtatious, and Becca observes as she falls for a handsome British officer and then, when the British are forced to leave, for the American dandy Benedict Arnold. Peggy marries Benedict and Becca watches in horror as Peggy convinces him to betray his country. Rinaldi (The Fifth of March, 1993, etc.) takes her role as a historical novelist seriously, to which her long and informative endnote attests. This tale of treachery comes alive under her pen.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1994
ISBN: 0152050795
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace