Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule

Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule

Book - 2015
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In 1844, shy Missouri Belle Julia Dent met Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant, a brilliant horseman and reluctant soldier. The two fell deeply in love, but four years passed before Julia's father permitted them to wed. The groom's abolitionist family refused to attend the ceremony.

Despite her new husband's objections, Julia kept as her slave another Julia, known as Jule. Since childhood they had been companions and confidantes; Julia was gifted with prophetic dreams, which Jule helped her interpret. Julia secretly taught Jule how to read, while Jule became her vision-impaired mistress's eyes to the world. But beneath the gathering clouds of war, the stark distinctions between mistress and slave inevitably strained and altered their tenuous friendship.

As Ulysses rose through the ranks of the Union army during the Civil War, he often summoned Julia and their four children to join him at military headquarters. The general's wife rarely failed to bring her favorite maid along, tearing Jule from her own beloved husband, whom she had secretly married in defiance of the law. Both women risked certain danger as they travelled to and from the field of war, but for Jule the hazards of travel also brought knowledge and opportunity.

Even as Julia Grant championed the Union cause and advocated for suffering women on both sides of the brutal conflict, she continued to hold Jule as a slave behind federal lines - until the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation inspired Jule to make a daring bid for freedom. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule is the first novel to chronicle the singular relationship between these two remarkable women, bound by light and shadow.

Praise for Jennifer Chiaverini and her novels

'History - and its colourful characters - come alive.' USA Today on Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

'A must-read book . . . Chiaverini has a knack for finding fascinating, if unheralded, women in history - she favors the Civil War era - and shining a light on them with readable historical novels.' New York Post on The Spymistress

'The book will appeal to anyone who loves a novel filled with the appearance of numerous fictional accounts of and appearances by the figures who shaped America's history during the period of the Civil War.' on Mrs. Lincoln's Rival

'Jennifer Chiaverini imagines the First Lady's most private affairs through the eyes of an unlikely confidante.' Harper's Bazaar on Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

'Jennifer Chiaverini's latest bestseller will thrill Civil War buffs and anyone who loves reading about American history and the contributions of women to the momentous events that formed this country.' on The Spymistress

'In addition to simply being fascinating stories, Jennifer Chiaverini's novels go a long way in capturing the texture of life for women, rich and poor, black and white, in those perilous years.' Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Mrs. Lincoln's Rival

Publisher: New York, New York : Dutton, [2015]
ISBN: 9780525954293
Branch Call Number: CHIAVERINI
Characteristics: 386 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Missus Grant and Madame Jule


From the critics

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Aug 28, 2015

I received an Advance Reading Copy of this. I enjoy historical fiction but this seemed to get a bit text booky to me at times. I ended up glossing over the last 100 pages. I was saddened that there was not more about Madame Jule in the book. I cannot speak to how historically accurate the book is. I did not find this to be a difficult read.

Jul 17, 2015

Like this book better than Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker. I found it a quick read and it had more interesting ideas to ponder. It was refreshing to me to see the Civil War from Grant's viewpoint which might have caused me to like it better than Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.

Apr 28, 2015

Jennifer Chiaverini's forays into historical fiction are far more worthwhile than her Elm Creek series and less precious.I found Mrs Grant and Madam Jule an easily digested, informative read.The juxtaposition of the 2 women's lives as with Mrs Lincoln's Dressmaker, is well considered.The civil war in America and the years that followed were fraught as its citizens came to terms with the abolition of slavery. Gone with the Wind it isn't but nonetheless readable for all that in a less demanding way.

Apr 25, 2015

There was much more information on the civil war itself than I expected. I did learn a lot although not that interested in battles and troop strategy.
The story of each woman was fully developed and very captivating.
Although I can never understand how humans can justify owning other humans the slow dawning of Mrs. Grant as to why it was wrong gave me some perspective.

Apr 24, 2015

I enjoy historical fiction and was looking forward to this book. I was disappointed to find that the title and novel description are misleading. Only a small part at the beginning of the book are about the relationship between Mrs. Grant and her slave, Jule. Jule's separate life is sprinkled into the book here and there, but she never has contact with Mrs. Grant again throughout their lives. The majority of the book is about Julia Dent Grant and her love, support, and sacrifice for her husband, General Ulysses Grant. Although I learned much about President and Mrs. Grant, I found it to be a slow read.

athompson10 Apr 24, 2015

I thought Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker was much more historically based than this one. This could be classified as a romance novel as easily as historical fiction, because a LOT of it is Mrs. Grant's mooning over her husband.

Apr 14, 2015

In her well-researched fictional accounts of Civil War women, continues to weave the story of relationships between black servants and their white employers/masters. The books need not be ready in order of publishing, but I was glad I read Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker and Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival before I read this account of Ulysses S. Grant’s wife and her slave Jule. I appreciated how she told both the point of view of Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Grant in the battlefield visit to Richmond. My admiration for President Lincoln continues to rise as he had so many challenges with his temperamental wife. I thought this book did superb job of showing how white southern women saw their household help as “servants” and not “slaves, and were unable to understand how blacks could be unhappy. As in the other books the story of the maid, Jule, who later escaped slavery and became a successful hairdresser was poignant.


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