America's First Daughter

America's First Daughter

Book - 2016
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As Thomas Jefferson's oldest daughter, Patsy becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother's death. She travels with him when he becomes American minister to France. It is in Paris that Patsy learns about her father's 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. Her choices will follow her in the years to come, and as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father's reputation.
Publisher: New York, New York :, William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, 2016
ISBN: 9780062347268
Branch Call Number: FIC Dray 3565
Characteristics: 590, 16 pages ;,21 cm
Additional Contributors: Kamoie, Laura


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America’s First Daughter is a fine specimen of historical fiction genre: superbly researched historic facts, artfully woven together events and people, and seamless delivery of the story. From the first page to the last, you can hear the clear and powerful voice of Martha (Patsy) Jefferson, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the United States of America and the author of The Declaration of Independence. It was hard to believe that the book is written by two authors: Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. Their literary symbiosis created a stunningly good book that has one voice, one story, and a sense of wholeness. Bravo!

The novel focuses primarily on Patsy Jefferson, yet there is naturally much attention and exposure given to Thomas Jefferson as well. There are plenty of moments where you may find yourself struggling to solve, alongside with characters, the many philosophical, psychological, and moral issues that come up in life. You will reflect on what it is really like to be a president’s daughter.

From Parisian balls to dish scrubbing, from being admired by the finest men in high class society to ending up with a drunkard husband, from having a loving mother and sisters to losing them, from having a role-model of a father to worrying sick about her father’s reputation, Patsy Jefferson, like a Statue of Liberty that came alive, with stone strong determination overcomes all obstacles and gracefully contributes another chapter to the history of America and its people. (Submitted by Mariya)

Jul 16, 2018

didn't finish. Just OK

rthomson1954 May 17, 2018

Behind every great man is a great woman, in this case one who was willing to put aside her personal life and wishes for those of her father, his career, and their country. While I knew Thomas Jefferson had lost his wife and chose to have his daughter fill in as social hostess at the White House , this well-researched book enlightened me about so many more roles that Patsy played here and abroad in Jefferson's career. Loved the book - learned more than I did in a semester's worth of history classes.

Oct 16, 2017

I love historical fiction and this book is no exception. Like they said at the end, there is a lot of conjecture, as the true story will never be known. I did appreciate the truths that were weaved in the story and truly felt the heartbreak of the deterioration of Patsy's marriage to a man that she obviously had grown to love, at least in this story. I also recommend the children's historical fiction account from the eyes of the Hemings children: Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

Jul 05, 2017

4 stars for this magnificent novel. I was held captive as I read it over the 4th of July week. It made me appreciate the sacrifices women make for their influential men. "Sons of Revolution FIGHT FOR LIBERTY. They give their blood, flesh, limbs, their very lives. But daughters.. .we sacrifice our eternal souls." The opening paragraph is a synopsis of the rest of the novel, for as the story continues, we see how Patsy Jefferson carried the burdens of her father and his entire family until it nearly broke her spirit. But she perseveres.

From an impetuous and blossoming teenager in Paris until the waning years of her life, we see a character who changes and matures and suffers hardships unimaginable by today's standards, yet her devotion to her famous father, despite the flaws she recognizes in him, never wanes. Due to its somewhat overly dramatized nature at times, I would give it 5 stars. But the historical details alone make it a worthy read, then add the authors' incredible character development and you have a memorable and beautiful story.

Jun 10, 2017

A book you could not put down. Having been to Monticello several times the story of Patsy and the love and dedication she devoted to her father was really brought to life in this book .

Apr 29, 2017

I loved this book, learned soooo much about the Founding Fathers, French Revolution,
daily living was so gruesomely hard, the day-to-day management of plantations run with slaves and challenges of those in the South who did not believe in slavery, no birth control, no antibiotics resulting in many childhood deaths and childbirth deaths. I with there were several more books that continued this true saga.

Sep 15, 2016

I thought this was incredibly interesting and just a really good story.

Aug 30, 2016

This is a fascinating read if you are interested in American history. Jefferson's life and the life of his family members will keep you reading until late in the night. One of the best I have read in many years.

Jul 15, 2016

Through extensive research and site visits, these two talented authors brought to life the story of Thomas Jefferson's daughter Patsy. I really enjoyed this work of biographical fiction. Patsy Jefferson had a long, eventful, and interesting life. Through her eyes, this novel skillfully explores both the good and bad of American history. Be sure to read the interview with the authors at the end about how their visits to Monticello and Tuckahoe inspired their writing. After reading this book, I'm inspired to visit these places in person as well to get an even better sense of the complex history.

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