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America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray
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America's First Daughter (2016)

by Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie

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4864030,332 (4.21)45
  1. 10
    Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (VaterOlsen)
    VaterOlsen: This book is written for a younger audience, but is worthy for its view of the Jefferson family.
  2. 00
    My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray (al.vick)
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America’s First Daughter takes up the life of Thomas Jefferson’s oldest child Martha, who was always referred to as Patsy. When Patsy was ten years old her mother died, having famously requested that Thomas Jefferson would not remarry. Technically, he didn’t.
When Patsy was twelve she accompanied her father to Paris and remained with him while he was Minister to France. She attended a convent school until she expressed an interest in converting to Catholicism at which point Jefferson removed Patsy and her sister from the school.
It appears that Patsy’s first love was William Short, her father’s private secretary. But by then Patsy had committed herself to her father. She was seventeen when the family returned to Virginia and married her third cousin Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr.
Patsy gave birth to thirteen children. She lived with her family at various properties including Monticello. She served as hostess when her father became president. She eventually left her abusive husband. When she died her grave was at her father’s feet, still in her father’s shadow. ( )
  Sandra_Wagner-Wright | Jul 26, 2018 |
This engaging account of the life of Martha Patsy Jefferson - Thomas Jefferson's daughter - drew me into the world of her family's life and the early history of the United States. Patsy - as she is known to her family - spends her life devoted to her father. But while he has much affection for his family, his remarkable intellect and leadership skills mean that he is called upon to be a "public servant" again and again. Still, Patsy is often the only one privy to his private moments - moments when grief over the death of his wife almost kills him and moments when he expresses displeasure at how those close to him behave. Over the course of the years Patsy matures and becomes a sought after beauty in Paris - and comes into conflict with her father as to who she should marry. Later her choice settled and and her future course set, she still has much to do with managing her father's household and affairs, and in trying to minimize the effects of poor decisions by relatives and close friends which threaten to drag them down into scandal, poverty or despair. And during it all she is constantly aware of the presence of Sally Hemings - the slave who she has long known is also her half sister. I was enthralled by some of the historical details about the family - some of which were quite shocking. Still in places it was a bit too detailed and I wanted to rush through to a more interesting part. However I would definitely recommend it for anyone who enjoys learning about history as they read a well researched fictionalized account of historical figures. ( )
  debs4jc | Jul 16, 2018 |
Politics haven't changed a bit. If you think they're bad now, read this book. Fake news isn't a new thing, Partisan politics so violent it almost prevented Jefferson from attending his good friend George Washington's funeral; Muslims entertained at the white house to negotiate peace with Barbary pirates, so much history here to soak up in its 600+ pages. But at heart the story of a daughter from childhood to old age, and despite her strength and smarts, diplomacy, and courage, she was still ruled and dictated to by men and a declaration of Independence cowritten by her own beloved father that did not apply to her, nor blacks, nor indians. A compelling and inspiring novel. ( )
  fbswss | Jul 6, 2018 |
This book was really well done. I cared about Patsy from the very beginning, so even though I didn't agree with all her decisions, I deeply felt her highs and lows.

The other characters were well written too. In lesser hands, Tom Randolph could have turned into a caricature of evil, but here he was fleshed out and made far more complicated.

It did annoy me, though, that near the end of the book Martha (Patsy) complained that none of the slaves were brave enough to confront Bankhead. This struck me as an unfair and ungrateful statement, especially given Burwell's (one of the slaves) willingness to protect her from Bankhead at an earlier point in the novel.

Overall I found this book engrossing, I appreciated the authors' notes at the end, and I look forward to their next book. ( )
  ang709 | Apr 6, 2018 |
I honestly don't get it. Completely hated it from the first few pages and I don't want to keep on reading.
  newcastlee | Dec 30, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dray, Stephanieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kamoie, Lauramain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Monticello, 5 April 1823
From Thomas Jefferson to Robert Walsh


The letters of a person, especially of one whose business has been chiefly transacted by letters, form the only full and genuine journal of his life.
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To friendship and perserverance
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Sons of a revolution fight for liberty.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062347268, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 10 Sep 2015 19:53:15 -0400)

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 protege 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.… (more)

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