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America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray

America's First Daughter (2016)

by Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6144524,338 (4.21)46
  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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» See also 46 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
My book club recently had the opportunity to read this book, thanks to being part of Harper Collins Publishing Book Club Girls group. We all thought it warranted a 4-star rating, in large part due to the fact that these historic characters were written as real, and often highly-flawed, people. The relationship between Patsy and Thomas Jefferson was centered around a mutual dependence that Patsy in particular allowed to dictate her major life decisions. This began with a deathbed promise to her mother to take care of him, which was too much pressure on a girl of her age and likely absorbed differently than her mother had intended. She prioritized their relationship above all others, even her husband. It was hard not to pity Tom, in spite of his character flaws, after the abuse he suffered from his father and the second-place status with his wife. Another very interesting topic in the book is that of slavery. The book did a great job of navigating the complexities of landowners and the intense decisions they faced regarding slavery. Even though many condemned the practice, the logistics of breaking away were presented in a way that provided an inside perspective on this awful chapter in our history. Another interesting discussion our book club had was around the fact that politics today are so similar to the way it was when our country was first established- the alliances, core belief differences, and career politicians. We were shocked at the extent of Jefferson's debt. Having been a Founding Father, it was assumed that he would have been a wealthy person throughout his life. While this book was slow in places, very dense, and certainly not a mindless read, it succeeded in making history feel real and was very well-researched. Our book club enjoyed a quality discussion! ( )
  ellenmartin | May 27, 2019 |
This book entailed 24 hours of listening. I found it interesting and worth the time spent reading it. Very interesting perspective and the authors admitted there was some embroidery in the book. A good read. ( )
  csobolak | Mar 20, 2019 |
A sweeping story spanning the life of Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter Martha. The author does an amazing job blending fact and fiction seamlessly and bringing to life a past that is difficult to imagine. The writing is superb! ( )
  ErinMa | Feb 22, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I've had this book on my shelf for at least a year, and haven't gotten around to reading it until now. To be honest, even though I love the cover, and the synopsis is intriguing, I found the length of the book a little intimidating! Finally I picked it up and decided to trudge through it, and I'll admit it; after a quick start with the Jefferson family escaping from the British, the story began to drag a bit. But it quickly picked up again and I suspect the 'drag' was because I was getting to know the characters and the 'lay of the land'; where the plantations were located relative to each other. Once I got past that, the story moved very quickly.

I came to the book with a bit of knowledge—a very tiny bit—about Thomas Jefferson, but knew virtually nothing about his eldest daughter, Patsy Jefferson. What a strong woman she turned out to be! And while I'll always appreciate the sacrifices of Thomas Jefferson and his leadership in forming out nation, I now realize he was a flawed man.

The book was everything I ask of historical fiction. It is very well researched and the story flows smoothly. I learned something new (a lot actually!) and I was inspired to read more about it! The authors also included notes at the back of the book, explaining what liberties they took to move the story along—something I consider mandatory for a book to be good historical fiction! If you enjoy reading about our nation's early days and want to learn more about the women and men who played key roles, you definitely should add this book to your list!

I received this book as part of the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. ( )
  Time2Read2 | Jan 27, 2019 |
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 | Jan 14, 2019 |
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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)

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.

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