Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule

Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule

A Novel

Book - 2015 | First edition
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"Imagines the inner life of Julia Grant, beloved as a Civil War general's wife and the First Lady, yet who grappled with a profound and complex relationship with the slave who was her namesake-until she forged a proud identity of her own. 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. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule is the first novel to chronicle this singular relationship, bound by sight and shadow"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Dutton,, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780525954293
Branch Call Number: F CHI NVD
Characteristics: 386 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Mrs. Grant & Madame Jule


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Oct 14, 2020

This is my second attempt to read one of this author's books, and I had just slightly better luck than I did the first time around, when I attempted to read 'Mrs. Lincoln's Rival'. Yet again, I was bored out of my skull and couldn't finish it.

From what I did read, I very much liked the character of Jule and thought her very interesting and would have loved to have heard more of her story. Julia Dent, on the other hand, was so insipid that I just could not go on. And the silly concept that Julia could see the future in her dreams? Please, spare me.

Very disappointed.

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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