Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray: A Novel
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Thomas Nelson / 2016 / Paperback
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Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray: A Novel

Thomas Nelson / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

Based on the letters and diaries of the Lee family---an intriguing story of the friendship between a mistress and her slave that transcended politics! Heiress Mary Custis Lee and housekeeper Selina meet as teacher and student. In the tumult of war, Mary becomes a Confederate refugee while Selina aspires to freedom. Will their friendship endure? 384 pages, softcover from Nelson.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 384
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.40 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0718042441
ISBN-13: 9780718042448

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Publisher's Description

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.

Author Bio

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. Facebook: dorothylovebooks Twitter: @WriterDorothy

 

Editorial Reviews

'Love (Carolina Gold), known for her works of historical mystery and romance, takes on a new challenge in this biographical novel, which traces the relationship between the wife of Robert E. Lee and Selina Norris Grey, a woman enslaved by the Lee family, between 1827 and 1873. Love writes that her inspiration for the novel was “to bring Mary Anna Randolph Lee out of the shadow of her iconic husband... and to explore the friendship between Mary and Selina.” She succeeds on both counts, creating a sympathetic portrait of these two women that both engages and educates the reader. '
4 1/2 stars. 'Based on letters and journals of Mary Anna Custis Lee, the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, the wife of General Robert E. Lee and the heiress to the Arlington House and all of General Washington’s personal belongings. The historical details are incredibly accurate; some of the facts are surprising to learn. Mrs. Lee was often misunderstood, and some believed her to be a spoiled only child who always wanted her way. She is portrayed as a loving, giving woman. Readers will appreciate the research the author did to create a beautifully written novel. This is the first ever book to chronicle the long relationship between these two women.'

Product Reviews

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  1. Semmie
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Tale of Courage & Friendship
    November 2, 2016
    Semmie
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Dorothy Loves Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray is a delightful rendering of the real-life story of Mary Custis Lee, wife of General Robert E. Lee and great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, and her trusted servant and housekeeper, Selina Norris Gray, who helped preserve the relics of George Washington himself.

    The novel follows the 50-year relationship between the two women, going back and forth between the perspective of both women. Starting from the time Mary becomes engaged to Lee, while Selina is still a child, we continue to see how their lives intermingle all they way through and past the Civil War.

    Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray is an amazing, well-researched piece of historical fiction, bringing these characters back to life. It is a tale of friendship and heroism and loyalty and duty. Although misguided at times, both women have a strong sense of moral decency and courage.

    Ms. Love does a great job at getting to the true depths of these characters. As a person who grew up in the North all my life, she does a great job of presenting the other side of the story to me helping me to see the struggles southerners had, including their struggles against slavery and the decision to enter the Civil War even important players in the war like Robert E. Lee. Ms. Love does a great job humanizing these people they arent just characters taken from the pages of history books. They were real people with real struggles and real emotions, and she does an amazing job portraying that.

    Anyone who loves history in general, the Civil War, the battle against slavery, and the Antebellum life will love Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray.

    Five stars out of five.

    Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
  2. Lights in a Dark World
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great historical read!
    October 13, 2016
    Lights in a Dark World
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Based on true events, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray tells the story of the friendship of Mary Custis Lee and her serving Selina Norris Gray. When the Civil War erupts and Mary is forced to leave her beloved Arlington behind, she entrusts the care of her estate to Selina. This friendship lasts a lifetime until Mary passes away.

    I absolutely loved this book. I found it interesting to read because it was a story you don't really read about. It seems to me it was unheard of for a slave and a mistress to have such a friendship as Mary and Selina had back then. I highly recommend this book especially if you like historical fiction.

    **I received this book free through the Fiction Guild program. I was not required to write a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
  3. Michelle K
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Great Historical Story
    October 3, 2016
    Michelle K
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    I was amazed by the amount of research that must have gone into the writing of this story. Based on Mrs. Robert E Lee and one of her family's slaves, this is a fictionalized account of both their lives from childhood until death. The history of the story was fascinating and I really enjoyed the glimpses into the personal lives of the Lee family. They definitely went through their share of heartache. While this wasn't a light story, it didn't get too difficult to read either, as the family was mostly kind in the ways they treated their slaves. At times, it felt like the author was painting everything a little too rosy, but while many slaves suffered greatly, I'm sure there were some that were treated better.

    I felt the story moved along at a nice pace, given the amount of time it had to cover. When they were young, Mary Custis and Selena Norris weren't really friends, but as they go through life, they were drawn closer to each other. The story is written from the first person perspective of both Mary and Selena, and doesn't follow a strict timeline.. At times, that made the story a little more difficult to follow, as something would happen in Mary's life, then we go to Selena's view where it hasn't happened yet, but I enjoyed having the two perspectives.

    I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the Civil War era. It's a stand-alone story. I enjoyed both being entertained and feeling like I was learning some history. I've always enjoyed learning more about that part of our nation's past.

    I received a copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.
  4. Stephie
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good historical book!
    September 20, 2016
    Stephie
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    This is a good book. It had a little bit of a slow start. But I quickly got into the book and really liked it. Such a great story of the friendship between two women. I also love the history intertwined into the story. I will be reading this book again. I was sad to see the story end as I got really interested in the book.

    *I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review!
  5. mjk108
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray: A Novel
    September 17, 2016
    mjk108
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    I had hoped for a few hours alone with him, but the first great lesson of my marriage had been that duty would always and forever come before personal pleasures.

    Mary Custis Lee, great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, grew up reciting history and memorizing the writings of George Washington as a young girl. As Mary matures and becomes a young lady, she falls in love with Robert E. Lee and ultimately marries the young lieutenant, who would later become a well known Confederate general. Marys heritage as heiress to Arlington, a premier home in the Virginia countryside complicates her life as she struggles with her desire to find ways to free slaves and provide education for them.

    Selina Norris is a young slave girl at the Arlington estate whose life becomes intertwined with Mary Lees from the time she is a young girl in Marys schoolroom until later in life when Mary leaves the keys to Arlington in her trusted hands as she flees to safety during the war.

    This story spans the lifetime of two women whose lives were entwined over the course of many long years. Both women marry, have families, and struggle through one of the greatest wars this nation has ever endured.

    Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray is a novel that highlights friendship and bonds that transcend race and social status. An excellent historical biography based on historical information taken from Marys letters, journals, and family records. I enjoyed the historical perspective of the book and the core of the story is very interesting. Readers of historical fiction, particularly those interested in the Civil War, will enjoy this novel.

    This ARC copy was received from Thomas Nelson as part of the Fiction Guild Team Challenge in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

    Dorothy Love website

    Dorothy Love Facebook
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