SHARE Book Club

The Secrets of Mary Bowser, by Lois Leveen

Based on the remarkable true story of a freed African American slave who returned to Virginia at the onset of the Civil War to spy on the Confederates, The Secrets of Mary Bowser is a historical novel celebrating the courageous achievements of a little known but truly inspirational American heroine.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What is your interest in history?
  • Why might the author have chosen to fictionalize this story instead of producing a non-fiction work, which is her background?
  • What does it allow the author to do with the story?
  • Was she successful in her approach?
  • What in the book surprised you?
  • Were you able to determine what was true and what was imagined?
  • After reading this fictionalized account, what did you want to learn more about?
  • Did you do any research after reading the book on what you were curious about?  If so, what did you find out?
  • Are there other historical fiction books you would recommend?
  • Would you recommend this book to a friend?