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.
This wonderful story begins when Mary and Robert fall in love with each other. Selina is a young black slave whom Mary is teaching to read and write. Soon, Selina is put to work as a house slave, personally serving Mary and her mother. The author explores Selina's yearning for freedom and Mary's difficulties at being left alone to raise her family while her husband serves in the military. Duty, friendship, freedom, and southern culture are some of the themes the author explores in this novel. Beautifully written and well researched, the author has excelled at accurately depicting the tumultuous years before and after the Civil War, especially family/plantation life and slavery in the South. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Mary, her endurance in the face of illness, and her dedication to her slaves. This was a touching, human story about a fascinating woman of history. Definitely worth reading!
Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog, http://greathistoricals.blogspot.ca, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit http://www.historyandwomen.com.