MRS. LEE AND MRS. GRAY
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.
Mary Anna Custis Lee, along with her mother, taught the slaves they owned how to read and write. They were also part of the group that would send African Americans to other countries, believing that was their only chance of surviving. Selina Norris Gray was a slave who was allowed to also learn how to sew and grow a garden. When the Civil War comes to Arlington House, Mary and the children are forced to leave. She gives direct orders that Selina is in charge, as she is the only person she trusts to keep everything safe from the Union troops. While General Lee is gone, Mary takes care of their children on her own, not knowing if her husband will come back alive. She continues teaching slaves even though it is against the law. As years go by, Mary’s health declines and it is Selina who takes care of her until Mary’s death. (THOMAS NELSON, Jun., 400 pp., $15.99)