“A bird doesn’t live in the nest where it was born, but in the sky in which it flies.”
Dorothy Love’s Mrs Lee and Mrs Gray (Thomas Nelson, 2016) tells the story of two women, one white and one black, before, during, and after the American Civil War who develop a friendship which at times transcends the racial divide between whites and blacks and the social divide between slave and free and other times are constrained by them.
Based on historical research, Love brings to light a 50 year friendship between Mary Anna Custis Lee, the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington and the life of Robert E Lee and Selina Norris Gray, a slave who is taught by Lee and then entrusted with the Arlington estate when Lee is forced to flee due to invading Northern Army.
While Mrs Lee and Mrs Gray is an excellent piece of historical fiction, it is also a powerful story of a friendship of two women who chose to be friends, though the differences between the two main characters were large. Love’s portrait of both women as well their friendship is honest, warm, and in this reviewer’s opinion, realistic. Attention to historical detail is outstanding. But what makes this novel alluring and a must read is the lesson of friendship that thrives in spite of barriers, political, social, and racial. A lesson I think that we need to experience again today.
A wonderful work, I gave Mrs Lee and Mrs Gray four-stars on Goodreads
Note: I received a review copy of this book from Smith Publicity in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.