Lady of Arlington

Lady of Arlington

A Novel Based on the Life of Mrs. Robert E. Lee

by Harnett T. Kane
Publisher: Doubleday & Company
©1953, Item: 91419
Hardcover, 288 pages
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Subtitle- "A Novel based on the Life of Mrs. Robert E. Lee", this underscores the importance of remembering that Harnett Kane has taken some liberties, perhaps, with historical fact, but in so doing has created a lively, moving story of Mary Custis, who became the beloved wife of the South's great general. One meets her in girlhood, when she set her will against her ambitious parents, and won out in her determination to marry the young second lieutenant, whose promises for advancement looked slim. Gently reared, she was ill-prepared for the rigors of army life, but somehow their love weathered the hardships, and their marriage withstood the threats of illness, invalidism, poverty, separation. The children came rapidly; the young engineer was shifted from post to post. And then came the supreme test:- the offer of command of the Union forces- or loyalty to his native state, Virginia. The rest of his story is history; and somehow this part of Mary's story grows a bit static as the war forced continued moves- and successive losses took their toll. Finally surrender -- and the peace of the final years in Lexington. Closer, one might say, to Bride of Fortune than to any other of his books, the sympathetic handling of the Lee's story holds greater promise of general appeal than could any telling of the story of the Jefferson Davises. As always in Harnett Kane's biographical novels, there is a sense of period and background, authentically portrayed....Not a very profound study, this is nonetheless pleasant reading. Plus reading at young adult level.

Kirkus Reviews issue: September 1, 1953

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