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Who was the Mysterious 355? Culper Ring members such as Robert Townsend and Hercules Mulligan are well known for the part they played in the Revolutionary War, but who was the mysterious 355 that could “outwit them all?” Inspired by many of the same characters featured in AMC’s Turn and the Broadway musical Hamilton, 355: The Women of Washington's Spy Ring chronicles the Who was the Mysterious 355? Culper Ring members such as Robert Townsend and Hercules Mulligan are well known for the part they played in the Revolutionary War, but who was the mysterious 355 that could “outwit them all?” Inspired by many of the same characters featured in AMC’s Turn and the Broadway musical Hamilton, 355: The Women of Washington's Spy Ring chronicles the lives of three remarkable women who use daring, skill, and, yes, a bit of flirtation, to help liberate America. British sympathizer Margaret (Meg) Moncrieffe expects to find the carefree America she remembers as a youth when she returns from her Irish boarding school. Instead she finds the new country at war, with her father on one side and her new love, Aaron Burr, on the other. When her misguided attempt to end the war results in dire consequences for the Continental Army, Meg switches allegiances in order to amend the damage she caused. After her husband Jonathan is captured by the British and dies aboard one of the notorious prison ships, a pregnant Elizabeth Burgin realizes she is stronger than she once thought. When a prominent member of the Culper Ring enlists her help on a heist of the prison ships, Elizabeth readily accepts, putting herself and her family in jeopardy in order to save the lives of strangers. Patriot Sally Townsend wants nothing more than freedom for America. When her family is forced to take in enemy soldiers, Sally seizes the opportunity to garner information from them and pass it on to her brother, Robert, knowing that one false move could result in the noose for both of them. Instead of finding herself in danger when British intelligence officer Major John André shows up at her family’s doorstep, Sally finds herself falling in love. But Major André is playing the same dangerous game as her and Robert, albeit for the other side. Told from the viewpoints of these three women—including the one operating under the code name 355—355: The Women of Washington’s Spy Ring is an absorbing tale of family, duty, love, and betrayal.


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Who was the Mysterious 355? Culper Ring members such as Robert Townsend and Hercules Mulligan are well known for the part they played in the Revolutionary War, but who was the mysterious 355 that could “outwit them all?” Inspired by many of the same characters featured in AMC’s Turn and the Broadway musical Hamilton, 355: The Women of Washington's Spy Ring chronicles the Who was the Mysterious 355? Culper Ring members such as Robert Townsend and Hercules Mulligan are well known for the part they played in the Revolutionary War, but who was the mysterious 355 that could “outwit them all?” Inspired by many of the same characters featured in AMC’s Turn and the Broadway musical Hamilton, 355: The Women of Washington's Spy Ring chronicles the lives of three remarkable women who use daring, skill, and, yes, a bit of flirtation, to help liberate America. British sympathizer Margaret (Meg) Moncrieffe expects to find the carefree America she remembers as a youth when she returns from her Irish boarding school. Instead she finds the new country at war, with her father on one side and her new love, Aaron Burr, on the other. When her misguided attempt to end the war results in dire consequences for the Continental Army, Meg switches allegiances in order to amend the damage she caused. After her husband Jonathan is captured by the British and dies aboard one of the notorious prison ships, a pregnant Elizabeth Burgin realizes she is stronger than she once thought. When a prominent member of the Culper Ring enlists her help on a heist of the prison ships, Elizabeth readily accepts, putting herself and her family in jeopardy in order to save the lives of strangers. Patriot Sally Townsend wants nothing more than freedom for America. When her family is forced to take in enemy soldiers, Sally seizes the opportunity to garner information from them and pass it on to her brother, Robert, knowing that one false move could result in the noose for both of them. Instead of finding herself in danger when British intelligence officer Major John André shows up at her family’s doorstep, Sally finds herself falling in love. But Major André is playing the same dangerous game as her and Robert, albeit for the other side. Told from the viewpoints of these three women—including the one operating under the code name 355—355: The Women of Washington’s Spy Ring is an absorbing tale of family, duty, love, and betrayal.

30 review for 355: The Women of Washington's Spy Ring

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    I feel this book will be most appreciated by those with some knowledge of the American Revolutionary War and the key characters involved. Unfortunately, as a Brit, I don’t fall into that category so, as well as having never heard of the Culper Ring, I found myself confused at times by who was on what side, especially as various terms were used for the supporters of each faction – Whigs, Tories, Loyalists, rebels – and, of course, people supporting one side might be masquerading as supporting the I feel this book will be most appreciated by those with some knowledge of the American Revolutionary War and the key characters involved. Unfortunately, as a Brit, I don’t fall into that category so, as well as having never heard of the Culper Ring, I found myself confused at times by who was on what side, especially as various terms were used for the supporters of each faction – Whigs, Tories, Loyalists, rebels – and, of course, people supporting one side might be masquerading as supporting the other or switch sides! The book opens with a prologue set in 1939 that recreates amateur historian, Morton Pennypacker, receiving important information in his search for the identity of all the members of the Culper spy ring. I must admit I thought this was an unnecessary bit of whimsy on the part of the author until I read the Bibliography and the Author’s Note at the end of the book. After that the book switches frequently between the points of view of three real life women: Margaret (Meg) Moncrieffe, the daughter of a British naval captain; Elizabeth Burgin, the wife of a man captured and imprisoned by the British; and Sarah (Sally) Townsend, the eldest daughter of a Quaker family, supporters of the drive for Independence. Covering the years from 1776, the book recounts how the three women become involved in espionage, each for different reasons. For Meg, it’s in an attempt to end the war to protect the lives of her father and the man she has fallen in love with, fighting on the opposite side. For Elizabeth, it’s the desire to help men in the same position as her husband. For Sally, it’s all about the cause of independence. I liked the way the book showed how women played a role in the outcome of the conflict in the only ways open to them: using a little flirtation to gather information, observing troop movements, acting as couriers for secret messages. Of the three, I found Elizabeth’s story the most interesting and engaging because of the more active nature of her involvement and the ingenuity she showed. Although the women may not have been on the front line it was a dangerous game with serious consequences for those found guilty of spying. I liked that the epilogue provides information about what happened to the three women after the book ends. And the identity of 355? The author makes her choice (and provides her reasons for it in her Author’s Note) but you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Really it’s more like 3.5 stars. First I have to say the kindle version had several errors in it. A few times Oyster Bay was written as Oyster Bar and I have random =* throughout the text. The story was one I know a bit about but enjoyed a different perspective of being told by the women. It was harder in the beginning to get into it because there are so many characters and a lot of jumping around but once the story really starts it was hard to put down

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gotohawaii

    A close look at 3 female spies during the Revolutionary War. Good stories about each of them. Will recommend to friends.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Abbie

    3.5-4. I liked this book... I wanted more Burr love story. Love the Culper ring. Need to watch TURN again.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Jack

    The Ladies’ TURN I am a huge fan of the AMC TV show Turn and streamed each season on Netflix as they were available. So when I saw this book at my favorite book review site, I knew it would be right up my alley. And I was right. While, of course, every detail in this book cannot be historically accurate, the author has done an excellent job researching the times and the stories of these particular three women. I love the amount of detail that she shared, both of history and of the settings. I'm a The Ladies’ TURN I am a huge fan of the AMC TV show Turn and streamed each season on Netflix as they were available. So when I saw this book at my favorite book review site, I knew it would be right up my alley. And I was right. While, of course, every detail in this book cannot be historically accurate, the author has done an excellent job researching the times and the stories of these particular three women. I love the amount of detail that she shared, both of history and of the settings. I'm a very visual reader, and I could visualize each of these women and their surroundings as they lived their lives. The book is set up with the first scene set in the late 1930s, where an amateur historian is attempting to figure out who the mysterious “355” is, as mentioned in Culper Spy Ring documentation. It's noted that the person is “a lady,” but no further details are given. This historian posits that it must be one of the three women, and those are the ladies at the heart of this novel. I like that the author showed the women and the war from both patriot and loyalist perspectives. We don't hear often enough about the women who help shape history, so I appreciate this book for that fact as well. Each of these women lived very different lives and yet still made an impact despite the fact that their lives were so constrained by societal expectations and cultural norms. They are certainly women who could empower future generations, if their stories were more widely known. If you, like me, enjoyed the series Turn, you will see or hear mentioned a few familiar characters. I found that added even more enjoyment of reading the book. If you have any curiosity about female spies, the Revolutionary War, or the Culper Spy Ring, you may very well enjoy this fictionalized account that touches on all those elements. I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review. My book blog: https://www.readingfanaticreviews.com

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melanie S

    Women warriors in a covert war Superbly researched and well-written, 355: The Women of Washington's Spy Ring is a remarkably skillful blend of American Revolutionary War history and modern women's fiction. Author Kit Sergeant gives readers an overview of the conflict and the roles of major players, but the heart of her story is the incredible courage and the outrage of three colonial women whose lives were forever changed by that war. Sally, from a staunch Quaker family with strong ties to the re Women warriors in a covert war Superbly researched and well-written, 355: The Women of Washington's Spy Ring is a remarkably skillful blend of American Revolutionary War history and modern women's fiction. Author Kit Sergeant gives readers an overview of the conflict and the roles of major players, but the heart of her story is the incredible courage and the outrage of three colonial women whose lives were forever changed by that war. Sally, from a staunch Quaker family with strong ties to the rebellion; Meg, daughter of a British officer and loyal to the crown; and Eliabeth, pregnant wife of a shopkeeper who fought for freedom and died a British POW, are the three heroines who (as we now know) could have been part of the Colonial Army's intelligence gathering efforts. The fascinating transformation of these three, from typical women of their time and class to patriots and spies, is a tour de force in how the personal becomes political, and how the world map may change in consequence. Gifted with wit, charm, and keen intelligence, these are the women who made America, and whose legacy of courage still inspires American female patriots. My only issue with the book is the author's regrettable tendency to sprinkle modern idiom into her characters' dialogue: "Let's do this" is NOT a colonial era catchphrase. That anachronistic annoyance aside, 355 is four-star fine reading for history buffs and fiction fans alike. This is a voluntary and independent review of an ARC from eBook Discovery.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Day

    This novel weaves together the stories of 3 ladies - real women - who might possibly have been our gal 355. There is a decent story in there, but the writing is lacking. I kept wondering if it was a young adult novel, and literally went to Goodreads to check multiple times. lol Once I'd sit down with it, I would get absorbed into the tale, but it would take me a few pages to acclimate to the clunky writing. It was just very risid, and was more tell not show. Characters could have been more flesh This novel weaves together the stories of 3 ladies - real women - who might possibly have been our gal 355. There is a decent story in there, but the writing is lacking. I kept wondering if it was a young adult novel, and literally went to Goodreads to check multiple times. lol Once I'd sit down with it, I would get absorbed into the tale, but it would take me a few pages to acclimate to the clunky writing. It was just very risid, and was more tell not show. Characters could have been more fleshed out and the world more developed. Also, I read it on Kindle (I think I got it for, like, 99 cents), and I am not a huge fan of e-readers (I love me my hard copy still), so, that probably affected my enjoyment. I am a huge history nerd, and I am obsessed with this time period - and the NY spies - so, I still enjoyed it enough. I felt like the first half was very heavily influenced by TURN, but as we got into the novel, Sergeant was able to make the characters more of her own. She had a pretty good balance on not making them all good or bad (unlike TURN). Overall, I got my money's worth. It wasn't bad, it just could have been so much better. I might give the rest of the series a look-see, too - just not right away. Google the real players - the non-fiction stuff is AMAZING! 3 to 3.5 stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michaela

    I read a well written Revolutionary War series in my teens and looked forward to this book. I was not disappointed. Another great one of female spies In the war. I found the level of interaction between the Whigs and Tories very interesting. In some areas, only in avid battle are they considering the other to be enemies - very unlike common held view today - while in others there seems to be “spying” on each other left and right. Unlike the Civil War where there were mostly clear lines, this mus I read a well written Revolutionary War series in my teens and looked forward to this book. I was not disappointed. Another great one of female spies In the war. I found the level of interaction between the Whigs and Tories very interesting. In some areas, only in avid battle are they considering the other to be enemies - very unlike common held view today - while in others there seems to be “spying” on each other left and right. Unlike the Civil War where there were mostly clear lines, this must’ve been very confusing as families and neighborhoods would have been split. I really liked how intertwined these characters were. It felt more like one big story rather than being disjointed on different areas of the war- however, His may be simply because the area for this war over is less than the area in the previous ones, be that as it may, I still hold that I like the intertwined factor better. All in all, an amazing book. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    355: The Women of Washington's Spy Ring (Women Spies Book 1) by Kit Sergeant is Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller and Adventure. Kit Sergeant was a new author for me and is now a new favorite author. I received a copy of 355 from my local library and could not put it down. Warning causes late night reading. 355 is such exciting historical faction that I immediately purchased it and Underground (Women Spies Book 2). 355 and Underground in the Women Spies Series appealed to me having grown up 355: The Women of Washington's Spy Ring (Women Spies Book 1) by Kit Sergeant is Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller and Adventure. Kit Sergeant was a new author for me and is now a new favorite author. I received a copy of 355 from my local library and could not put it down. Warning causes late night reading. 355 is such exciting historical faction that I immediately purchased it and Underground (Women Spies Book 2). 355 and Underground in the Women Spies Series appealed to me having grown up listening to family history, Revolutionary War Ancestors, American History and the DAR. This is a well written historical and a book to add to your must read list.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid Farkas

    I was a bit disappointed the Title made me think it was a spy novel but instead it was more of a female History of washington and some parts were good but mostly it dragged on. "I recived this book for free fromebook Discovery review thisis my honest REview.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Watkins

    Set in the time of the Revolutionary War, this spy story is based on fact and events surrounding the period. It is generally well-written, although a little dry at the time, nevertheless my interest was held all the way through. The women who made up the 355 spy ring were ordinary human beings with the dreams and desires of every woman who has ever lived. However, they were caught up in a war, not of their making, but one that impacted their lives at the deepest level. A couple of things came ou Set in the time of the Revolutionary War, this spy story is based on fact and events surrounding the period. It is generally well-written, although a little dry at the time, nevertheless my interest was held all the way through. The women who made up the 355 spy ring were ordinary human beings with the dreams and desires of every woman who has ever lived. However, they were caught up in a war, not of their making, but one that impacted their lives at the deepest level. A couple of things came out of this book, the first being that war brings a chasm between families, friends and business acquaintances, loyalties are divided and survival of the fittest is the order of the day. The second is that woman of the era were considered blind, deaf and incompetent, based solely on their gender. With the result, when they became involved in the war at different levels, their contribution was overlooked, making them the perfect vehicles to carry messages. I found the book informative and may have enjoyed it more if I had been part of the US schooling system and American history had been part of my curriculum. As an outsider, I nevertheless found it interesting. The book ends on a fairly sad note, but with positive results. I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily post this review. This is my honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    E-Reader. History Story This book starts in June 1776 & end in 1779. The number 355 are women spies for the Continental Army headed by General George Washington. One the woman was Elizabeth Burgin, who pregnant with her third child.  And husband Jonathan died on a British prison ship. She agreed with others to try save as many men a prison ship. They used a bottle of rum with a small vial put in the rum so the guards would go to sleep.  She told one the guards she had letter for husband & many wool E-Reader. History Story This book starts in June 1776 & end in 1779. The number 355 are women spies for the Continental Army headed by General George Washington. One the woman was Elizabeth Burgin, who pregnant with her third child.  And husband Jonathan died on a British prison ship. She agreed with others to try save as many men a prison ship. They used a bottle of rum with a small vial put in the rum so the guards would go to sleep.  She told one the guards she had letter for husband & many wool blankets.  When that man was given the letter he was able read code.  The Hudson River was frozen so they used a sleigh to push across the frozen river. Over 200 men were freed from that prison ship. Another woman was Margaret (Meg) Moncreffe who was forced by her father to marry a British officer John Coglan. He was very mean to her. There are too many characters in this book you need to read it! I hope this war that took place so many years ago, that you will be to understand whats happens in this book. Some parts will not be easy to read, like someone is ale be hold their drink high, shout out cheers to King George.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    This book is about George Washington's Culper Spy ring during the Revolutionary War. Really interesting historical details and seeing the times through the 3 woman highlighted in the book. The book isn't the best in writing but I was caught up in the story of the 3 woman and I loved the historical details that the writing level didn't really bother me. In today's age, it is all about "girl power". So it's really great to read about some woman who did great and dangerous things to help our countr This book is about George Washington's Culper Spy ring during the Revolutionary War. Really interesting historical details and seeing the times through the 3 woman highlighted in the book. The book isn't the best in writing but I was caught up in the story of the 3 woman and I loved the historical details that the writing level didn't really bother me. In today's age, it is all about "girl power". So it's really great to read about some woman who did great and dangerous things to help our country win the war and be created. There are also famous men like Major Andre, Aaron Burr, Hercules Mulligan, George Washington, etc.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liz Wahba

    Exciting, Animated History Kit Sergeant does a great job of enticing the reader to learn more about the Revolutionary War, through this exciting and tragic tale of the women who aided the Continental Army. The shift of revisionist history to include these stories has been 1 of my favorite things about recent history books, and it's good to see historical fiction researching with attention to detail. The 3 women that we follow are different than what you would expect if you have seen TURN: Washing Exciting, Animated History Kit Sergeant does a great job of enticing the reader to learn more about the Revolutionary War, through this exciting and tragic tale of the women who aided the Continental Army. The shift of revisionist history to include these stories has been 1 of my favorite things about recent history books, and it's good to see historical fiction researching with attention to detail. The 3 women that we follow are different than what you would expect if you have seen TURN: Washington's Spies on AMC, but the real history incorporated in this book makes the stories compelling. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys this era of history, and anyone Interested in women's role in American history.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carla Aeiker

    It was an informative book. In the beginning I didn't get why the author separated out the 3 main characters but she did a good job of "inter-twining" the characters towards the end. I didn't like the ending. I feel that the ending could have been a bit more exciting and pulled the characters together a bit more. She could have explained the encrypted messages a bit more like who was 355 in the story and not in Epilogue.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This is a very informative, historical story about the Revolutionary War. A spy named 355 who took part in George Washington's spy ring during the war. Well written and researched throughly by this author. The spy is a very strong, courageous and feisty woman . She took many dangerous risks to help. All for the cause. A great read for history buffs. The true historical events that take place were fascinating to me. A Definite must read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Book one in the Women Spies a well written story that takes you from June 1776 until October 1779 and the women Elizabeth Burgin, Meg Moncrieffe, and Sally Townsend who played a part in the American Revolution. Being Canadian I had to think as I read this story. I would recommend it as once I started reading I was not putting this book down until I finished it. What a story! I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marisa Pullan

    Great historical fiction The story went at a quick pace. I happened to read this alongside Netflix 's TURN: Washington's Spies, making this an unintended complementary companion. Many of the stories lined up nicely as possibilities happening outside of what I was watching. Of course, some of it didn't line up at all, but was still an enjoyable read. I would recommend this book to those that enjoy historical fiction.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brad Ocampo

    Fantastic read, great book I love reading stories, both fiction and non-fiction, from this time period. Once I started this book, I didn’t want to put it down- it pulls you in and keeps you reading. It’s vivid details make you feel like you’re right alongside with the characters...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I enjoy reading books about The Revolutionary War period. Since I knew nothing about Washington's spy network, I found it interesting. However I was not wowed by it. It focuses on three women who could have been part of Washington's spy ring. I wasn't motivated to do more research in this area after reading this book as I generally am.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jorey

    Initially the story line was difficult to keep track of with so many characters. I should have made a character map! Eventually the story took over and I found myself caring about the protagonists. It just seemed like it took a long time to get to that point.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Allison O'Malli

    Book is well written. I loved how it focuses on women in the revolutionary war time period, which I feel, we do not really hear much about. It was well researched, and I loved learning about how the codes were written. I loved the characters and how diverse they were. I recommend this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Heinrich

    Spies and romance Who is 355? A man or woman? In this novel of the Revolutionary War, is an interesting theory; full of spy rings, politics, pillage, atrocities and a spin of romance.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy Scott

    Although we probably will not know exactly what happened, Kit Sergeant has created a scenario that brings history to life. I highly recommend this excellent historical novel. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Hummel

    Loved it! Captivating American history as it should have been taught in school. I read this after "My Dear Hamilton" and I didn't want to put it down. These women were the backbone to what our founding fathers needed

  26. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Loved the book, but As I've said many times, the editing of ebooks is nearly no existent. The stories are fascinated, especially because women were in the center of everything. However, authors, editors PLEASE proofread.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    It turns out that I don't enjoy history too much. There was way too much jumping around with the three main female characters. Also, I read for happy endings. I won't read any more of these. I could barely make myself finish it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Deseree

    Unusual Times begat Unusual Times I liked this book. It was fairly easy reading and was pleasurable. It was ironic that I was reading this book at a time when our republic is in grave danger. This made it even more important.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tonya

    Horrible. Historically false. Couldn't get past page 27. I understand it's fiction but it is so off and so many levels I couldn't read any more.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I enjoyed this book very much. It was a different subject matter and I enjoyed the historical part.

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