I have long been a fan of Dorothy Love’s books but it quickly became apparent that “Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray” would be somewhat different from her earlier novels. Naturally I was a bit uncertain about whether I would like it. I should not have worried – this book was so well written and full of interesting facts that I could hardly put it down.
There were so many events and details in “Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray” that never graced the pages of my history books. Indeed, I found myself researching some of them to find out if Ms. Love found these facts through her own research or if they were just part of the story. She definitely did her research. My education obviously had huge gaps in American History – whether because of bias or lack of time I cannot say.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, especially getting an intimate view of the wife of General Robert E. Lee which also showed me a different aspect of his life. The strong friendship that developed between Mary Lee and her slave Selina was inspiring and illustrated another viewpoint of the relationship between slave owners and their slaves. This book is a must for history buffs as well as those interested in the Civil War.
A copy of this book was provided for review by the author.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
A general’s wife and a slave girl forge a friendship that transcends race, culture, and the crucible of Civil War.
Mary Anna Custis Lee is a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and heiress to Virginia’s storied Arlington house and General Washington’s personal belongings.
Born in bondage at Arlington, Selina Norris Gray learns to read and write in the schoolroom Mary and her mother keep for the slave children and eventually becomes Mary’s housekeeper and confidante. As Mary’s health declines, Selina becomes her personal maid, strengthening a bond that lasts until death parts them.
Forced to flee Arlington at the start of the Civil War, Mary entrusts the keys to her beloved home to no one but Selina. When Union troops begin looting the house, it is Selina who confronts their commander and saves many of its historic treasures.
In a story spanning crude slave quarters, sunny schoolrooms, stately wedding parlors, and cramped birthing rooms, novelist Dorothy Love amplifies the astonishing true-life account of an extraordinary alliance and casts fresh light on the tumultuous years leading up to and through the wrenching battle for a nation’s soul.
A classic American tale, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray is the first novel to chronicle this beautiful fifty-year friendship forged at the crossroads of America’s journey from enslavement to emancipation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A native of west Tennessee, Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels.