Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dorothy Love: Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray

By Kelly Bridgewater

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.

Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray: A Novel
From Barnes and Nobles
My Thoughts:

Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray is a forty year narrative from the perspective of Robert E. Lee, the leader of the Conferedate Army during the Civil War, wife and one of her slaves, Mrs. Gray. Dorothy Lee research is well done. I really enjoyed learning more about the woman behind a leader during a horrible time in our nation's history. Even though their relationship was frowned by so many people, Lee and Gray kept their relationship strong even after death. I have heard the story about Robert E. Lee but to see him as a loving husband and father shows a loving man behind his actions. I enjoyed traveling the decades with Lee and Gray and watching their relationship change from a nine and twenty-one year old to fifty and seventy-one year old. The story shows their changing relationship even among the tension rising in the country. The story features both women's perspective, so I could understand and empathize with each individual character. Letters, however, is another form of telling the story for Love. The theme of enduring friendship shined from every page in this novel. Even though, I usually don't read books written in the nineteenth century, I really enjoyed this book.

I received a complimentary copy of Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray from Thomas Nelson and the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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