TODAY   |  March 19, 2014

Author tells surprising story of Benedict Arnold’s wife

Author Allison Pataki, daughter of former New York Gov. George Pataki, shows her love for American history with her first novel, “The Traitors Wife.” She says she would spend hours outdoors and as long as she had a good book she never felt alone.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> everybody knows benedict arnold that betrayed america and fled.

>> did you know arnold's wife peggy was the master mind behind the treason? we hear the incredible story in the best selling book "the traitor's wife."

>> it's based on a true story . you tell it so well. you weed in lots of characters. tell us the threat of the story.

>> absolutely. the raw history is something people are more or less familiar with. you know to be called benedict arnold is not a good thing. what people didn't know was that there was a juicy back story. his wife, beautiful, intelligent, charming young woman . the british spy was her former lover. it was a love triangle .

>> the way you tell it is so unique. you don't tell it through her perspective of his. you tell it through a third party.

>> peggy , the traitor's wife is the fascinating character you are seduced by and impulsed by. i don't want to tell it from her perspecti perspective. who would have better access to her? her maid.

>> the one that change as her drawers.

>> she's in the bedroom and watches the seduction with the spy.

>> she's a young girl that comes from nothing. she's dazzled by peggy , her beauty and wealth. she's important to the story.

>> she has to stand up for herself.

>> what's fascinating about you -- i was wondering if you read a lot. i loved how you went off in the woods, were an observer, a bookworm.

>> absolutely. that's how i was inspired to write this story. when benedict and peggy were plotting this treason that would have ended the revolution. i grew up in their hometown. when i was in the area and discovered hey, he had a wife that was actually a more interesting character, i thought that's a really good book.

>> you were outside in the woods. there's a sign or something that says benedict's route?

>> exactly.

>> that's crazy.

>> yeah. there was a beautiful portrait of peggy on the historical marker next to it with this hair do and beautiful ball gown. it was drawn by the spy. i thought why is his wife drawn by his conspirator?

>> she was a shut. every great novel needs a good shut.

>> what does your dad think of the book?

>> he's a character obviously.

>> what was fun is he's such a history buff. he always taught me history growing up. it was fun to teach him something. we both love that.

>> he's so supportive.

>> where's you're mom today?

>> she's watching.

>> hi mom. i know it will be made into a motion picture . we're excited. so good.

>>> tomorrow from "drop dead."

>> and the cast of " rock of ages ."