Publisher's Synopsis: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.
"Slavery is a terrible legacy.
But the problem is one that can be resolved only gradually,
and with God's help."
In 1873, "there was a time when Arlington was a magical place." A place in which Mary Anna Custis Lee knew thousands of rolling green hills, working in her mother's gardens, and the joy of teaching the children how to read, write, and do their sums. Her days were endless, her upbringing was comfortable and her determination to help in the efforts of the American Colonization Society was her cause. As the only surviving child of George Washington's grandson she valued the history and personal belongings of America's first president. Her heritage and her Arlington home were part of a legacy that would touch many lives. Yet, her love of her husband Robert E Lee would prove to be her most treasured blessing.
For Selina Norris Gray her training as a seamstress for the main house didn't go as planned. Her first worry was about her learning once Miss Mary married. She knew that one day freedom would come, she knew she had to learn a skill that could take her beyond Arlington. Years later, she would pick up the guardianship role for Arlington and Mrs. Lee. Her devotion to Mrs. Lee would become the saving grace of Washington's Arlington, as well as the most valued friendship of two extraordinary women.
"How much of life is by one simple moment decided."
The seamless weaving of these women's lives is profound. There is so much more to the story of Mrs. Robert E Lee. So much more to the story of a slave girl waiting for her freedom. So much more of an insight as to the character of General Robert E Lee. As these lives unfold, as a reader, you will be encouraged with their loyalty, their love and their determination. Historical facts that were not made known until a trunk was discovered in 2007, will open your eyes into the depths of what it means to be an American; one who is focused on others and making choices that are sound and just.
"True friendship is a plant of slow growth and must
undergo and withstand
the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."
Meet the Author:
"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."