America's First Daughter
Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
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THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.
From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.
It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.
Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father's reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.
While engrossing, too much fabricated along the way, especially the romantic role of William Short. I prefer more straightforward accounts of history, a la Doris Kearns Goodwin. Also annoying are way too many fragmentary sentences instead of full ones.
Time and place were so richly described, I truly felt I was transported back in time and was walking in Martha's and Thomas Jefferson's footsteps.
T.J. was such a great man. He had human failings, but there will never be another like him. I thank the authors for their extensive research for this novel. I loved this book.
A highly recommended read!
Rich in history, this fictionalized version of the life of Martha (Patsy) Jefferson Randolph is an absorbing read in a front-row seat to history. I haven't been as absorbed in a book in a long while.