american history / book blog / book reviews / books / historical fiction / love story

Sunday Scoop

Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule

By Jennifer Chiaverini


Hi!! It is time for another edition of the Sunday Scoop!! Yes it is Sunday already. It is hot and humid today. It can’t decide if it wants to rain or not. Happy Father’s day to all the Fathers out there. I hope everyone gets their grilling in before it rains.

This book was provided to me by NetGalley as an e-book. It was released March 2015. I have read and review other books by Chiaverini and this one does not disappoint!! It is 400 pages and I believe that it is only available in hardcover and for the kindle right now. Ahhh!!! Another great civil war story!!

In 1844, Missouri belle Julia Dent met dazzling horseman Lieutenant Ulysses S Grant. Four years passed before their parents permitted them to wed, and the groom’s abolitionist family refused to attend the ceremony.

Since childhood, Julia owned as a slave another Julia, known as Jule. Jule guarded her mistress’s closely held twin secrets: She had perilously poor vision but was gifted with prophetic sight. So it was that Jule became Julia’s eyes to the world.

And what a world it was, marked by gathering clouds of war. The Grants vowed never to be separated, but as Ulysses rose through the ranks—becoming general in chief of the Union Army—so did the stakes of their pact. During the war, Julia would travel, often in the company of Jule and the four Grant children, facing unreliable transportation and certain danger to be at her husband’s side.

Yet Julia and Jule saw two different wars. While Julia spoke out for women—Union and Confederate—she continued to hold Jule as a slave behind Union lines. Upon the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Jule claimed her freedom and rose to prominence as a businesswoman in her own right, taking the honorary title Madame. The two women’s paths continued to cross throughout the Grants’ White House years in Washington, DC, and later in New York City, the site of Grant’s Tomb

This is an insightful look at the difficulties presented when a southern belle falls in love with a man of the Union. We see changes brought about in both the North and the South and the free and the slave population. I liked that Jule became an independent successful business woman. We learn much about Julia, Jule and President Grant. Julia and Jule’s story alternate back and forth and parallel each other. This brings out the contrast between the two women. The end of the book spotlights General Grant and we get a feel for how he was not only a great general, but a great person.

The book is written in the same familiar style as her other books. It is like sitting down with an old friend. I feel that this is certainly just as good as her other books!! It was exactly what I would have expected from her!!! If you have the chance read some of her other books as well they are all great!!! I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars!!!




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