The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker and Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival 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.
Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, Fates and Traitors, Enchantress of Numbers, and other acclaimed works of historical fiction, as well as the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series. She lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin.
“[Chiaverini’s] depiction of the essential decency of some of our nation’s early leaders is a high point.” – Booklist
“Chiaverini’s fans will love this light historical romance.” —Kirkus
Praise forJennifer Chiaverini and her Novels
“History—and its colorful characters—come alive.” –USA Today
“Jennifer Chiaverini imagines the First Lady’s most private affairs through the eyes of an unlikely confidante.” –Harper’s Bazaar
“Chiaverini has drawn a loving portrait of a complex and gifted woman . . . Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker helps to illuminate the path on which her long and remarkable life led her.” –St. Louis Post-Dispatch Praise for The Spymistress
“[A] must read book . . . Author 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
“Compelling.” –Historical Novel Society
“Jennifer Chiaverini’s latest bestseller will thrill Civil War buffs and anyone who loves reading about American history and the contribution of women to the momentous events that formed this country.” –Bookreporter
Praise for Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival
“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
“Filled with details of the social intrigue, slights and innuendo that occurred between the two, 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.” –Bookreporter — Chiaverini