Publication Date: June 2016
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Copy from publisher as a “Fiction Guild Team Challenge” book
“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. Mary’s 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 Lee’s from the time she is a young girl in Mary’s 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 Mary’s 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.