Sunday, January 3, 2016

AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER: A NOVEL—Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Patsy, shaped the country and its history as no one else could

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, Martha "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 in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France. And it is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that she learns of her father’s liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age.


Patsy too has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé, William Short, a staunch abolitionist intent on a career in Europe. Heartbroken at having to decide between being William’s wife or a devoted daughter, she returns to Virginia with her father and marries a man of his choosing, raising eleven children of her own.

Yet as family secrets come to light during her father's presidency, Patsy must again decide how much she will sacrifice to protect his reputation, in the process defining not just Jefferson’s political legacy, but that of the nation he founded. 

MY REVIEW:  Thomas Jefferson was immeasurably complex--as fascinated with the world as the world would become, and remain, fascinated with the man himself. Jefferson's legacy is indelible, not without scandal, and it continues to evolve. He was a man of words and a man of letters--many thousands of letters and many more thousands of words. After the death of her mother, his eldest daughter, Martha, called "Patsy", would become her father's helpmate and traveling companion, assisting him when he became America's minister to France. "America's First Daughter", by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie, is a first-person telling of Patsy's personal life and her life as the daughter of the brilliant historical icon Thomas Jefferson. Always devoted to her father and his public and political standing, Patsy would sacrifice much of her own personal happiness to protect and preserve the Jefferson name. In her role as a guardian of both her father and the nation he helped to found, Patsy Jefferson shaped the country and its history as no one else could.

Review Copy Gratis Library Thing


Stephanie Dray writes historical fiction and fantasy. Using the transformative power of magic realism, she illuminates the stories of women in history so as to inspire the young women of today. She remains fascinated by all things Egyptian and has–to the consternation of her devoted husband–collected a house full of cats and ancient artifacts.


Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction as the New York Times bestselling author, Laura Kaye. Her debut historical novel, America's First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

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