My Dearest Julia: The Wartime Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Wife


source: purchased
title: My Dearest Julia: The Wartime Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Wife A Library of America Special Publication
genre: historical non fiction
published: October 18, 2018 by Library Of America
pages:166
first line: My Dear Julia

about:
The Civil War’s greatest general as you’ve never seen him before—a revealing collection of letters written by Ulysses S. Grant to his wife Julia, introduced by Ron Chernow.

Ulysses S. Grant is justly celebrated as the author of one of the finest military autobiographies ever written, yet many readers of his Personal Memoirs are unaware that during his army years Grant wrote hundreds of intimate and revealing letters to his wife, Julia Dent Grant.

Presented with an introduction by acclaimed biographer Ron Chernow, My Dearest Julia collects more than eighty of these letters, beginning with their engagement in 1844 and ending with the Union victory in 1865. They record Grant’s first experience under fire in Mexico (“There is no great sport in having bullets flying about one in every direction but I find they have less horror when among them than when in anticipation”), the aching homesickness that led him to resign from the peacetime army, and his rapid rise to high command during the Civil War.

Often written in haste, sometimes within the sound of gunfire, his wartime letters vividly capture the immediacy and uncertainty of the conflict. Grant initially hoped for an early conclusion to the fighting, but then came to accept that the war would have no easy end. “The world has never seen so bloody or so protracted a battle as the one being fought,” he wrote from Spotsylvania in 1864, “and I hope never will again.”

my thoughts:
I purchased a copy of My Dearest Julia: The Wartime Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Wife this summer while visiting Grant Cottage. This is a collection of 84 letters that Grant wrote to his wife Julia while he was in active service. The letters begin while he and Julia were engaged and he was fighting in the Mexican American War and go on through the Civil War up until his final letter to Julia that he wrote at what is now known as Grant Cottage.

I’m a history buff and I find anything Civil War related to be really interesting. I’m a fan of Ulysses S. Grant, he’s a fascinating historical figure. What makes him a favorite is that when I first started reading and learning more about him, his love for his wife Julia and for his family really stood front and center.

I enjoyed this collection of his letters because they provide a first hand/in real time account of what was going on during these battles. I found it fascinating that Grant was taking the time to write these letters to his wife from battlefields, with everything that was going on around him. I suppose writing to her was therapeutic for him during immensely stressful and scary times. The first letters were written during his 2 year engagement to Julia, and you see him really focusing on her getting her parents permission to marry him and he keeps bringing up his speaking to her father about it. You can tell Grant was worried her family wouldn’t approve of him. As the letters go on they are married with children and the loving tone of the letters is the same, but he’s worried about her and the children and he’s always writing about seeing them, whether Julia can visit him etc. He sends her money he wants her to make sure the children have a good teacher and are learning etc. You see Grant as a father and husband in these letters.

I found this to be a great collection, I’m glad Julia saved the letters. I wish the publisher would have included maybe a note as to where the letters were taking place. I wound up googling certain dates for context. For example, each letter starts with Grant naming the date and place: “Tacabaya Mexico, January 9th 1848”, so I would search dates and places to get an idea of where Grant was at that time and what was going on. I wouldn’t be able to rate someone’s letters, but I’d give this a 5 out of 5 because you get an intimate and interesting glimpse into Grant’s personal life. You also see what a great writer Ulysses S. Grant was. The last letter included is one of Grant’s final ones to Julia when he knew the end was near and it once again shows you how till the very end Grant was all about his family. Do I have a slight Ulysses S. Grant crush? Perhaps.

“I hope dearest that you had a very pleasant trip. I know that you have thought of me very often. I have dreamed of you several times since we parted.” Detroit Michigan April 27th 1849– My Dearest Julia: The Wartime Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Wife, p. 65

In going away now I feel as if I had some one else than myself to live and strive and do well for. You can have but little idea of the infulance you have over me Julia, even while so far away.” N. Orleans Barracks La. July 11th 1845– My Dearest Julia p. 19

“I feel proud of the Army at my command. They have marched day and night, without tents and with irregular rations without a murmur of complaints. I write in very great haste.” Grand Gulf Miss. May 3rd 1863– My Dearest Julia p. 121

“The world has never seen so bloody or so protracted a battle as the one being fought and I hope never will again. The enemy were really whipped yesterday but their situation is desperate beyond anything heretofore known. To loose this battle they lose their cause. As bad as it is they have fought for it with a gallantry worthy of a better.” Near Spotsylvania C. H, Va. May 13th 1864 – My Dearest Julia p. 133


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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of My Dearest Julia: The Wartime Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Wife.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 8/14 Updates After Blog Hiatus

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….



Hi everybody. If you’re reading this thank you for stopping by today. I’ve been on blog hiatus since late March. Just life keeping me busy but also my computer sucks and I need to purchase a laptop this way I can blog from the comfort of my couch or bed instead of actually having to log onto this old dinosaur. Also, what’s with the WordPress ads? It seems they’ve taken over, I need to go ad free I guess. If you’re on WordPress are you ad free?

I won’t bore you with too much rambling but I’ve been enjoying my summer, we went on vacation to the lake for a week in June and just the usual other stuff is going on. I’m still working on a hybrid schedule which is great. I’m off work this upcoming week and plan on doing a day trip here or there then lounging in my pajamas as much as I can. We’ve had a very hot couple of weeks here with heat advisories and now it finally seems to be letting up a little. I haven’t read too much lately but I’ll be reviewing what I have been reading. I’ve been crocheting alot.

onto my bookish updates…

recently on the blog: I dove right on in and posted 3x this past week.


Book Spotlight: Ruin: A Novel of Flyfishing in Bankruptcy Debut by Leigh Seippel


Book/Author Spotlight: Little Dirt Road and Juiced by Ted Mulcahey.


I re-read Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice.



in my mailbox:

Oooh! I met Norman Reedus a few months ago!



He was very nice. He gave me a fist bump. He was on book tour for his book called The Ravaged. Unfortunately you couldn’t take a picture with him, you were just allowed to go up and get him to autograph your book but he was so nice and it was worth waiting in line to get to meet him in person. I’m a big TWD fan so this was awesome. He was so Daryl in person lol. I took this pic below while waiting in line to meet him.



The Little House by the Sea (Pennystrand Village Book 1) came via NetGalley/Bookouture. I love this cover and this sounds like a perfect summer read.



I purchased a copy of My Dearest Julia: The Wartime Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Wife A Library of America Special Publication when I visited Grant Cottage again this summer while on vacation. The cottage is near where we stay so I took my parents out there for a guided tour of the cabin. They have a little store on the grounds as well as a small museum. I’ll share my thoughts on this one soon.



That pretty much wraps it up, what have you been up to this summer? What are you reading? Watching? I actually just finished re-watching Midnight Mass last weekend. It is so good and was worth the re-watch. I’ve also been watching Becoming Elizabeth which is very good.

I’ll be blog hopping and catching up a little this week. Stay well 🙂 I’ll close with a few vacation views from June.








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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. The photos here are my own and not be to be removed from this post.

Book Spotlight: Ruin: A Novel of Flyfishing in Bankruptcy Debut by Leigh Seippel 

Happy Saturday, I hope you’re enjoying the weekend. Today I am spotlighting Leigh Seippel’s debut novel called Ruin: A Novel of Flyfishing in Bankruptcy. Read on for details.



Ruin: A Novel of Flyfishing in Bankruptcy” Debut by Leigh Seippel
Publishing date: September 27, 2022
Length: 320 pages
genre: fiction/coming of age

About The Book
This vivid story opens with every couple’s nightmare—the disappearance of their comfortable known world. Ruin’s adventure explores the unpredictable progression of character and chance for Francy and Frank Campbell, newly destitute in their early thirties, along with their lovers and foes. And a murder investigator . . . .

Frank is another dreamer whose life is suddenly burned to the ground. More a disillusioned literature Ph.D. than an experienced financier, he had naively agreed to join his wife’s inheritance with his own personal guarantee of a college friend’s private equity partnership debt.

­The business implosion and subsequent bankruptcy took all their assets. Francy, an orphaned European heiress, now finds herself homeless, still married to pleasant, witty Frank—who had failed to protect them from disaster.

­The couple flees Manhattan to live at a desolate non-working Hudson Valley farm. Frank starts an artisanal brewery with a charismatic new eccentric friend. And, central to the heart of the story, he takes up fly fishing. A local doctor, perceiving Frank’s depression, prescribes that he gain some confidence through self-taught fishing.

Frank’s perceptions on the water are fresh and acute, sometimes colored by his memory of the words of famous writers, now painfully ironic in his life’s new context. ­ The novel weaves together fly fishing and life experiences that ultimately turn shockingly deadly.

And throughout, there is Francy’s story. Now in exile, she re-approaches painting with new and darkly complex emotional energy. Painting in reclusive concentration, she cuts Frank off, tacitly becoming her own woman. Her work’s enigmatic intensity attracts a wealthy neighbor who offers Francy a show in his Manhattan gallery and that attracts a great deal of trouble indeed.

About The Author
Author Leigh Seippel lives in the worlds of Francy and Frank. He has worked a small farm in the Hudson Valley, complete with officious goat herd. Fly fishing has taken him across four continents. He is a past president of The Anglers’ Club of New York, where he now heads its fishery conservation activities.

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice



source: purchased
title: Interview with the Vampire author: Anne Rice
genre: paranormal horror
published: 1976
pages: 350
first line: “I see…”
rated: 5 out of 5 stars

book blurb:
This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside….




My thoughts: *slight spoilers*
Interview with the Vampire is my favorite vampire novel because it’s beautifully written, dramatic and it really is unforgettable. This was a re-read for me and I enjoyed every minute of it. I can see myself reading it again one day.
There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said about this one plus I don’t want to include spoilers so I’ll keep my review short and to the point. The story starts off in modern day as Louis de Pointe du Lac is telling his life story starting from New Orleans 1791. He tells of how he met Lestat de Lioncourt who turns him into a vampire and everything that unfolds after this event.

I loved Interview the second time around even more than the first. I had almost forgotten how creepy Claudia was, the descriptions of her were chilling. Louis describes her as a demonic doll at one point. I loved to hate Lestat as usual. He’s so nonchalant about many things yet you see how much he needs Louis although he tries to hide it. The relationship between this little vampire family was intriguing and messed up on many levels.

Anne Rice does a fantastic job at bringing these characters to life to the point where the reader can almost see and hear them. If I had to pick a favorite I think I’d pick Louis because he is so dramatic but because he also tries so hard to hang onto his humanity. He spends so much time searching for answers as to his existence and he feels guilt at having to drink human blood. He loves Claudia and don’t get me started on Armand.

This one is a classic, I’ve only read the first 2 in the Vampire Chronicals but I plan on reading more. And of course the film version is a favorite and was perfectly cast. Have you read this one or seen the movie?

“It was as if all figures walked and talked on the desolate home of my damned soul.” p.77, Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice

“For I was so attuned to her; I loved her so completely; she was so much the companion of my waking hour, the only companion that I had, other than death.”p.105, Interview With the Vampire

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice.

Book/Author Spotlight: Little Dirt Road and Juiced by Ted Mulcahey

Hello everyone, I hope this post finds you well. Happy Monday! I’ve been on blog hiatus but I’m still around reading and enjoying the summer. What better way to come back to blogland after a break than with a book tour stop?

Today I’m spotlighting author Ted Mulcahey. He is on virtual book tour promoting his two novels, Juiced and Little Dirt Road. These are books 3 and 4 in the author’s series. The first thing that caught my eye about these two books is the cool covers. Read on for more about these thrilling stories as well as a guest post and an author Q&A.


Little Dirt Road synopsis:
The O’Malleys are doing what? How is it possible that dangerous complications arise from their simple vacation in wine country? With their recent move to South Whidbey Island, only the O’Malley’s would stumble upon drug smugglers, embezzlers, and murderers amongst the locals. The quirky, pastoral island, reachable by a less than speedy ferry from Mukilteo or the narrow, deteriorating Deception Pass bridge, is no match for the wicked men about to visit. A notorious drug lord and a nondescript enforcer with freakish hell-raising skills invade the peaceful Pacific Northwest island—where not even the friendly locales and free-roaming long-eared rabbits can soften his homicidal heart. Weeding through the facts and surprisingly connected characters with their trusted friend, Bellevue Detective Bill Owens, the narrative swirls from Mexico to Canada and throughout Puget Sound. It’s a heart-racing and outrageously offbeat adventure for two innocent people, proving once again that trouble will find the O’Malleys without the slightest amount of effort on their part.


Juiced synopsis:
An invention can save the planet?
Somehow, someway the O’Malleys have found themselves in the thick of things once again. On peaceful, bucolic Whidbey Island, they become entangled in a corporate plot to stifle a paradigm-shattering discovery, one that promises to upend conventional thinking, topple markets, and create an entirely new industry. Kevin and Jenne, along with scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, find themselves pitted against a band of bumbling criminals who will stop at nothing to get what they want—including arson and murder. It’s another rollicking adventure for the retired interior designers ably assisted by their favorite detective, the FBI, and Emma, their ever-vigilant German Shepherd Dog.

Author Guest Post:

Gloria Steinem once said “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” That’s how I feel when I’m writing.

If I’m on the golf course, there are times I feel I should be home doing chores or doing something with my wife (although she’s probably just as happy in the garden than having me underfoot).

If I’m doing chores or something with my wife, there are times I feel I should be writing or maybe taking Emma for a walk. When I’m writing, though, I never feel like I’m missing out on something or feeling guilty about not doing something. There are periods I get so lost in the story, the places and the characters that I lose all sense of time. You’d think sitting in a crummy task chair for three hours with no pee or coffee breaks would force an occasional glance at a watch or clock, but that doesn’t happen.

I had dabbled with writing for a long time while I was working. Usually, it was a short story or maybe an article for a trade posting. There were dozens of openings and characters started and discarded over the years. Finally, after we sold our business, I had some time to fill and revisited the remaining detritus of my efforts. I deleted most and kept a few which turned into my first completed novel, Bearied Treasure.

The title was my wife’s idea, and I can’t tell you how many people told me I had misspelled Buried. It’s the story of a fictional cult on a small island just off the coast of Vancouver Island and features a humongous Kodiak bear. Being my first effort, it is riddled with amateurish mistakes, but I still love the characters and literally shed a tear or two when I finally typed the last period.

I think Ms. Steinem had it right, at least for me.






Author Q&A:

What genre do you write and why?
Cozy Mysteries, mostly for an enjoyable humorous journey that takes the reader somewhere else, if only for a little while.

How do you do research for your books?
For Juiced I found a number of articles discussing the projects (including their battery research) at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. For Little Dirt I spent many hours researching harmful drug culture as well as the geography of the Puget Sound waters. For both, my many years in business were immensely helpful.

How did you come up with the ideas for your books?
The idea for Juiced began when I came across an interesting article on vanadium battery technology. For Little Dirt, it was more of a desire to highlight the many beautiful areas of the Pacific Northwest.

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
Mostly the quirky characters I bump into while living on an island.

What makes your books different from other cozy mysteries out there?
The locales and perhaps the sarcastic sense of humor from the principal characters.

What advice would you give budding writers?
Sit down and write. Then when you’re done for the day think about what you’ve written, but write without thinking first—that’s when the real you happens.

What is the last great book you’ve read?
It’s an old one, but Word of Honor by Nelson DeMille made an indelible impression. Probably because I was a junior officer in the US Army during the same period as the story.

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like?
Long.



Author Bio: Ted Mulcahey has lived throughout the US, the past 35 years in the Pacific Northwest. He’s an Army vet, sales and marketing VP, entrepreneur, business owner, avid reader, one of nine children, former caddie, and lover of dogs and golf. The last twenty-five years were spent in partnership with his wife Patte, as the owners of a highly respected and published hospitality interior design firm in the Seattle Area. They’re now living on Whidbey Island and enjoying its rural bliss.
Ted writes about things he’s seen and places he’s been. He tries to incorporate personality traits of people he’s known into his fictional characters, although none of them exist in reality. Many of the locations are real but the names have been changed.




Special thanks to Melissa over at A Marketing Expert (twitter) for making this possible.