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- KurzbeschreibungFrom New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer Chiaverini, the first novel to chronicle the singular relationship between Julia Grant, beloved First Lady, and the courageous woman who was her slave and namesake.
In 1844, shy Missouri belle Julia Dent met Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant, brilliant horseman and reluctant soldier. The two fell deeply in love, but Grant's abolitionist family refused to attend their wedding. For despite her 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 to read, while Jule became her vision-impaired mistress's eyes to the world. But as Grant rose through the ranks of the Union army during the Civil War, the stark distinctions between mistress and slave strained their unlikely friendship. Both women risked certain danger as they traveled to and from General Grant's military headquarters-until the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation inspired Jule to make a daring bid for freedom.
- AutorJennifer Chiaverini
- VerlagPenguin LCC US
- Seiten432 Seiten
- Gewicht321 g
- LeseprobeChapter One
The slaves froze when they heard the old master shouting from the big house, conversations cut off in midsentence, hands grasping spoons hovering between bowls and hungry mouths. Even the little ginger-colored maid strained her ears to listen, dreading to hear her own name bellowed in anger.
For a long, tense moment she heard only the crackling of the fire from within the kitchen house and birds chirping overhead, but then Tom shook his head and resumed eating. "It ain't us," the lanky coachman said through a mouthful of oat porridge. "Something happened in the city, but it ain't nothing to do with us."
Quickly the slaves finished their breakfasts, scraping their bowls with their carved wooden spoons and licking off every last savory morsel before rising and darting to work. Only the little ginger-colored maid hung back, reluctant to return to the big house and whatever storm brewed within. She busied herself gathering up the dirty bowls and spoons and carrying them to the washbasin, but as she rolled up her sleeves, the cook shook her head. "Poppy can help me with that. You best be running off." Annie was only twenty or thereabouts, but she was the best cook in the Gravois Settlement and proud of it. "Miss Julia be looking for you. Stay out of the old master's way and you be all right."
Glumly she nodded and hurried away. She found Miss Julia seated on the front piazza, frowning anxiously at her hands in her lap, a red ribbon bobbing atop her thick, glossy, dark hair in time with the swinging of her feet. She glanced up at the sound of her maid's bare feet on the well-worn path-her expression sweet, her skin soft and rosy-but she held her head awkwardly, tilting it this way and that, trying to fix her gaze on her maid despite her cross-eye. "There you are," Julia cried, bounding out of her seat and down the stairs. She seized her maid's hand and pulled her along, her glossy curls a dark cascade down her back as they ran. The maid's spirits rose as they left the big house behind. She knew where Julia was leading her-to the stables and the family's horses.
They heard Gabriel, the stableboy, singing before they reached the corral, before they saw him emerge from the stable, a sturdy, russet-colored boy of ten years leading the missus's favorite bay mare by the reins. The boy with the voice of an angel had been given a name to suit when he had been brought into the Dent household four years before. He had been called Tom then, but the old master had renamed him for the sake of the elder Tom, the ebony-skinned coachman. The maid thought it strange that she had not been given a new name too, since she shared one with her mistress
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