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America's First Daughter: A Novel by…

America's First Daughter: A Novel (original 2016; edition 2016)

by Stephanie Dray (Author)

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3263333,940 (4.37)33
Title:America's First Daughter: A Novel
Authors:Stephanie Dray (Author)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2016), 587 pages
Collections:Your library

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America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray (2016)

  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.

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I thought this was a very fine example of historical fiction. Throughout my reading of the book, I checked out various characters and events, just to understand the narrative a bit more. I feel that I learned a lot about the Jefferson family. Even though the book was long, my interest never flagged. ( )
  peggybr | Aug 17, 2017 |
Thomas Jefferson's daughter.
Stephanie Dray writes Historical fiction, most recently with Laura Kamoie, but she's also well known as an Historical romance author under the name of Stephanie Draven. Just to confuse matters even more, Laura Kamoie also has an alias as a Romance author, as Laura Kaye. So it's little wonder that this Historical Fiction novel does have a somewhat romantic feel to it. Where it differs considerably is in its length - while both authors write fairly short romance books, America's First Daughter took me by surprise at 580/624 pages (depending on the source). My Kindle percentage seemed to be rising painfully slowly and our book group unanimously decided to delay the discussion for a week.

Stephanie and Laura between them had 17,000 letters written to and from Thomas Jefferson, on which to base their novel, no wonder it took five years to write.
Jefferson lived a double life, advocating freedom for all, while running a farm worked by slaves. He argued that it would be impossible to maintain the farm without slave workers. Meanwhile, on her deathbed, he promised to love none other than his beloved wife, yet formed a life-long liaison with a slave girl in his employ, fathering several children through her.
This book is written from the point of view of his daughter, Martha, known as Patsy. She relinquished many of her personal freedoms in order to stay at her father's side; travelling to Paris with him at a young age and later playing the role of first woman in Washington. She then married Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. and bore twelve children.

Having spent such a long time on this book I was disappointed in the discussion questions provided by the publisher; they tended to run along a similar theme and were somewhat uninspiring. I had to resort to the passages that I had highlighted while reading to keep the discussion motivated.
Although the book was quite hard going, I learned a lot from it and don't regret the time spent. ( )
  DubaiReader | Aug 12, 2017 |
Really good. Fiction, but a lot of good facts (with citations) about Jefferson & his time. Borrowed from Judy B. ( )
  JeanetteSkwor | May 25, 2017 |
This is a fictionalized account of Patsy (Martha) Jefferson Randolph's life, which also gives the reader many glimpses into her devoted relationship with her father. I wanted to emphasize the word fictionalized, because in a Note From the Authors there is a detailed explanation about why they chose to write the story as they did, including the need to take some creative license concerning specific situations. Even with a bevy of historical documentation and primary sources, some details were left open to interpretation, especially regarding events that the family probably tried to keep secret. In those instances, incriminating documents may have been destroyed, as is alluded to in the book. I would not recommend reading the Note From the Authors before beginning the book though, as it gives away too many details.

Overall the dramatized and romantic aspects of the story didn't bother me too much. In fact, it may have been a depressing story lacking in cohesiveness without some of the additions. In most cases, I felt the authors made decisions based on the spirit of existing historical documents. The political and social discussions kept me interested and wondering what was going to happen next. I felt transported to a different time period but then also was occasionally reminded of how some things haven't changed very much in the political realm. Perhaps different technology and tactics are used but the game playing still exists today.

This isn't quite on par with Gone With the Wind as very few can match Margaret Mitchell's eloquent writing style, but I would highly recommend America's First Daughter to readers with an interest in American political history, or southern family sagas.

For More Information: (noting there may be spoilers)



( )
  Lisa805 | Apr 27, 2017 |
America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie is a novel based on the life of Martha Jefferson Randolph, Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter. When Thomas Jefferson's wife lay on her deathbed in September, 1782 she plead with her young daughter Patsy to "take care" of her father. From then until Jefferson's death in 1826 Patsy was his companion, confidant, helpmate and defender.

One of Patsy's first responsibilities was to accompany her father when he became the American minister to France. The authors think that there, at the age of fifteen, she learned of her father's liaison with Sally Hemmings, a slave girl Patsy's age. After returning to America she became the young mistress of Monticello and later the mistress of the White House. She married the man her father chose, and birthed eleven children. Through a tumultuous life Patsy managed family scandal, personal tragedy and financial ruin, continuing to protect her father even after his death in 1826. ( )
  clue | Apr 26, 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.
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)

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