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America's First Daughter: A Novel

America's First Daughter: A Novel


America's First Daughter: A Novel

ratings:
4.5/5 (46 ratings)
Length:
23 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 1, 2016
ISBN:
9780062463548
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

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Also available as bookBook

Description

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.

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 1, 2016
ISBN:
9780062463548
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer and a teacher. Now she lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.

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4.5
46 ratings / 34 Reviews
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  • (5/5)
    This book did not disappoint. The story is told well, in an interesting way that had me wanting to turn the page. I especially enjoyed getting a ringside seat, so to speak, to the beginnings of our country. I learned much that I didn't know about that period of our history. I did get a little confused at all the Randolphs in the book, but a few quick internet searches helped me out there. To remain true to the characters, there was no other way to write about the various Randolph kin. As any good historical novel will do, it led me to doing more research. I especially enjoyed finding paintings of the people involved in the story and taking a virtual tour of Monticello. This is a book that will stay on my shelf to be read again.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    I received this book as an early review copy from LibraryThing. Nonetheless, it is a book that I might well have picked up on my own to read having visited Monticello a couple of times and liking historical novels. This one did not disappoint, and it gave me a new perspective on the Jefferson family. I went into it knowing next to nothing about Martha (Patsy) Jefferson Randolph. Although a certain amount of the book is by necessity conjecture, the author presented all of it very well and kept this reader's interest throughout. I found it enlightening to learn how hard the "head of the household" had to work in those days even if her house was a plantation home with slaves. During the times when Patsy lived away from home and had no domestic help, it was constant work. And she also bore eleven children as well as raising some grandchildren. She and her father were basically inseparable, and neither coped well without the other. Jefferson's financial woes and the end of Monticello are nicely dealt with in the book. All in all, an enlightening read on a fascinating subject.
  • (5/5)
    I'll be honest, I'm a sucker for historical fiction, especially if it's based on real people, and this novel about Martha "Patsy" Jefferson was set during one of my favorite time periods - the American Revolutionary War Era. I was very much looking forward to reading this. But, it started slow for me. I actually got about 45 pages in, and set it aside to read a couple library books. It didn't immediately grab my attention, and I wasn't really looking forward to picking it up again. But once I got about 75 pages in, it took off, and I was hooked. This book was SO GOOD! This novel covers nearly the entirety of Patsy's life, from her early girlhood in Virginia and Boston, to her years in Paris with her father, where she was educated at a convent school, and the rest of her life as a wife and mother in Virginia. I found myself longing along with Patsy to be with her first love. I hurt with Patsy when misfortune befell her family. I was angry with Patsy when she was mistreated by her husband.I was totally and completely invested in this novel, and found myself reading it every chance I got. It was extremely well-researched and written. If you are a fan of historical fiction, you MUST read this book. Highly recommended!
  • (5/5)
    When the hottest thing is entertainment is Broadway's hit musical Hamilton, the timing is good for a novel about President Thomas Jefferson's daughter Pasty. Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie combined to give us a fascinating look at not only Patsy Jefferson, but also at a fascinating time in our history in America's First Daughter.On Patsy's mother's deathbed, she told young Patsy that it would be Patsy's job to look after her father Thomas and that is what Patsy spent her life doing. She accompanied her father to his post as ambassador to France, served as his hostess when he became President and became mistress of his famous estate in Monticello, Virginia.Patsy also cared for her younger daughter Polly, and then married and became mother to eleven children. The man she married, Thomas Randolph, was left penniless due to a family fight, and he descended into anger and alcoholism which left Patsy to care for her family on her own.Her first love was William Short, a man her father considered his adopted son. Patsy and William's path to a happy future was a rocky one because Thomas Jefferson believed that Short would not be able to provide adequately for his daughter, and would not give his blessing. How different her life would have been if only he did!Short believed that slavery was an abomination, and because Jefferson's home state of Virginia depended on slave labor, this was a problem. Patsy also believed that holding people captive was wrong, and when she discovered that her father was carrying on with Sally Hemings, a household slave and his wife's half-sister, she was bereft and conflicted.I was particularly impressed with how the authors dealt with the complications of slavery in this novel. Jefferson famously wrote that "all men are created equal" while he himself owned slaves and depended on them to operate his beloved Monticello. He had several children with Sally Hemings, children who were slaves on his plantation.There are many wrenching scenes in this novel, but none are more disturbing than the one of Patsy attending an auction of her family's worldly goods, including many of the slaves. She is heartbroken that families will be broken apart and sold South, and yet she feels there is nothing she can do to stop it.We also see in this novel what little say women had in their own lives. There are scenes of domestic violence where women are beaten and abused by their husbands and no one, not even a former President of the United States, is allowed to intervene. Married women are at the mercy of their husbands whims and decisions no matter how intelligent or wealthy they may be.I read America's First Daughter on a plane and was so totally lost in this world I was shocked at how quickly the time flew. Dray and Kamoie clearly did a great deal of research and used letters recently released by the Jefferson estate as a jumping off point. There is a terrific conversation with the authors at the end of the book that should not be missed.I highly recommend America's First Daughter, especially for people who like to read about historical figures. Patsy Jefferson comes alive in this wonderful book, and I am now going to read the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed to find out the real story of Sally Hemings and her children.
  • (5/5)
    Just a remarkable book. I couldn't put it down and couldn't wait to pick it up again. The life of Martha (Patsy) Jefferson. Told in Stephanie Dray's words but from Martha's letters, Thomas Jefferson's letters and numerous other historical artifacts to paint a story around one of America's founding fathers and his daughter.Although the epilog does point out how the author connected the dotted lines from letters and historical documents to write this in the voice of Martha, you do get a sense Ms Dray is not too far off in her interpretation of the woman and the Jeffersons.If you're interested in American History, women's movements, how women were treated and accepted their fates in the 1800s, etc. Or if you just want to throw all the history aside for just a good book about a woman living in a man's world, then do pick this book up. One of the best reads of the year, any year. Well done Ms Dray!
  • (3/5)
    Quite an imaginative, engaging version of a very eventful and consequential life. Touches of history and truth filled in with potent emotion and appropriate details - the very reasons for which I am drawn to historical fiction.

  • (5/5)
    Every individual interested in history should read this book.
  • (5/5)
    Wow. How fun to read, but long. It read like a behind-the-scenes peek at the real family of Thomas Jefferson. Definitely a fictionalized account of the family, and one that the authors admit to, yet one that took advantage of many modern sources. As with any biography, the authors made choices, which they also took pains to explain.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    This was the first book I have read about Patsy Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson's oldest daughter. The book takes you from when she was a young child to her later years as a mother and grandmother. It was a fascinating story and it introduced a lot of the men and women we have read about in history. Patsy's relationship with her father played a large role in his political career as she had to take the place of her mother who had died following childbirth. She never really had the chance to live her own life or follow her own dreams because she always put her father's needs and the needs of the country first. This is a captivating story, well told and very memorable.
  • (5/5)
    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
  • (5/5)
    I love historical fiction based on the lives of real people, and after hearing it mentioned in a course on American Slavery have developed a particular interest in the Sally Hemings/Thomas Jefferson relationship. This novel, based on the life of Jefferson's eldest daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph, nicknamed Patsy, is meticulously researched. At 575 pages, the novel is lengthy, and it took me extra long to read because I found something to Wikipedia in almost every chapter (Did that really happen? - and the answer was usually yes!)My only criticism was that there was a bit of a chick lit feel to much of the story, not generally my favorite genre. If I were editing, I would remove much of the William Short speculation, as the story is remarkable enough without it, and would be more likely to appeal to male readers. Still, I would heartily recommend this novel to those who like women's historical fiction, and will look forward to seeing what this dynamic duo authors next. Readers who enjoy this novel will probably also enjoy the works of Barbara Chase-Riboud, Sally Hemings and America's First Daughter.
  • (5/5)
    Americas First Daughter is by far one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read. This well researched novel brings to light not only the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson but the life his daughter led before during and after his presidency. While it is almost 600 pages, every page was jammed with essential information and facts that brought to life this awesome family. For historical fiction fans and even those that aren't this is one not to be missed. I was sorry when I read the last page. I could have gone on forever.
  • (5/5)
    I received America's First Daughter from Library Thing's Early Reviewers in return for an honest review. I enjoy historical fiction and learning about other times and places. I do not enjoy dry facts and dates which is why I did not enjoy history class in high school. Too bad we couldn't learn history through books like this. Stephanie and Laura did a wonderful job using excerpts from letters by Thomas Jefferson as a timeline for the story of his life described through his daughter Patsy's eyes. This story is as much about Mr. Jefferson as it is Patsy. The places where Patsy lived and everything she witnessed in her life made for a fascinating read. I was never board and appreciated the different views presented by different characters about various subjects important at the time. The liberty the authors take with some of the facts are not at all distracting and since you know this is a novel you expect some of the stories to be embellished. I appreciated the author's note in the back explaining where they took liberty to change some of the facts to make a more enjoyable read. What a perfect time, during our pre-election circus to be reading this account of the early years of America as a nation. Some things never change. For all those people who like to romanticize the founding fathers and like to believe these were better times morally and a more honest time, well I suggest you give this gem a read as well as other honest accounts of that time in our history.If history is your thing I think you will really enjoy America's First Daughter.
  • (5/5)
    This lengthy book is worth the time spent reading it. Based upon Thomas Jefferson's correspondence with family and friends, this historical novel tells the story of the Jefferson family through the eyes of his oldest daughter, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph. When Patsy's mother is dying, 10-year-old Patsy promises her that she will care for her father, and her father promises to never remarry. Patsy takes on the role she promised her dying mother, even to the point of giving up the man she loves to marry another. All through her life, she protects her family's secrets and reputation without regard to her own happiness. While raising 11 children, she must also make decisions between love, duty, and respect.This book does not gloss over Jefferson's flaws as Patsy tries to preserve his reputation in the new county. His choices and decisions are often hard on his family, which takes second place to his devotion to his country.This is a vivid account of a turbulent time in U.S. history as lived by some very real and flawed human beings. Tragedy brings out the best and the worst in a revered by troubled family.
  • (4/5)
    My position on Jefferson has "evolved" over the years from one of total adoration of the mythic founder and writer of the Declaration of Independence, to profound disappointment as the evidence for his relationship with Sally Hemmings came to light (not based on the interracial aspect but the abusive master/slave relationship), to one of appreciation of a complicated flawed man who served his country well but failed in his personal life to live up to his own ideals. This book falls squarely in the last category. Although telling the story from Martha "Patsy" Jefferson's point of view, at its core, this novel is an examination of the man and his times. Thoroughly researched and richly detailed, Dray and Komoie bring a precarious time in our country's history to life. It's clear that Martha Jefferson profoundly affected her father's life, served her country as "First Daughter," and protected Jefferson in death, carefully editing his papers and letters to build the myth we are most familiar with. Jefferson's lifelong affair with Sally Hemmings (half-sister to his dead wife) is handled with delicacy and is thoroughly rooted in the mores of the "Virginia Planter" society. I most appreciated the detailed and proscribed world of women--both free and slave. Martha Jefferson is subject to her father's wishes for marriage and her husband's management of their lives and livelihood. Constantly pregnant, she makes decisions and finds agency within a narrow range of action. Like nearly all women of her time, she can't live according to her own wishes until both her father and husband are dead. But Martha's decisions and actions are rooted in love for both her father and husband. She doesn't question her (or other women's) lot in life. She accepts her role, makes the most of it, and battles life's vagaries with intelligence, grit, and compassion. This is a complicated story told well. Highly recommended.Note: I received a copy from the publisher through an Early Reader program. That did not affect my review.
  • (5/5)
    Very good read and pretty close to fact, as much as could be. I have been to Monticello so it was very interesting to me.
  • (3/5)
    Episodic, with some riveting and other tedious story lines that go on and on an on- leaving the reader waiting for a climax and denouement that never comes. I closed my car’s windows and turned down the sound on the racist narration but kept listening because of the truth of bigotry then and now. The abrupt and disappointing ending mirrors life without saving the novel. It does spark my interest in Thomas Jefferson and his family and provides a truthful account of domestic violence- - so much so that the reader/listener gains an understanding of, “How can she live like that?” or “How can she let that happen?” Further editing and a rewrite in diary form could make this a really good book.
  • (3/5)
    Once again I find myself adrift in a sea of reviewers who think a book is the best ever...I could have squeezed out another star for it if Patsy had just been portrayed as a more likable person. The book's preface where she embarks on editing her father's life by burning correspondence and documents that she would not want to be publicly viewed because they conflicted with the image that she wanted to live on through posterity turned me off entirely. I think it is fair to say it set up a bias for me in terms of how I viewed her throughout the book. Aside from that, the story was engaging enough.
  • (5/5)
    LOVED IT! Although a novel, the authors paid close attention to detail and information was gathered from letters and diaries - so authentic!
    What a great heroine!
  • (5/5)
    Every individual interested in history should read this book.
  • (5/5)
    The idea behind this story is that Jefferson’s daughter Patsy is going through Jefferson's collection of letters after his death. Jefferson was known for being an eloquent writer (having been the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence), and wrote many letters in his lifetime. Jefferson's letters guide us through the life of his daughter Patsy, indeed through history itself, and the resulting story reveals to us Jefferson through the eyes of a devoted daughter.The story opens during the American Revolution, with the Jefferson family on the run and in hiding. Tragedy strikes repeatedly, and Jefferson falls into a depression after the loss of his wife. Being the eldest child, a young Patsy becomes the "woman of the house" at 10 years of age after her mother's death, and it is her job to look after her father and sisters. She takes her duty to her father very seriously, and won't leave his side, eventually accompanying him to France.Patsy is a strong-willed and intelligent young girl who grows to be a well traveled and worldly young woman. She acquires over her youth the social grace to handle herself in politically-charged gatherings, and even smooth things over when her father flubs something. Accompanying them to France is Jefferson’s apprentice William Short. He essentially idolizes Jefferson and would do almost anything for him. He is also quite fond of Patsy. They share the same beliefs about slavery and the “wrongness” of it.Also accompanying the family to France is Sally Hemings, the beautiful slave that is rumored to be the half-sister of Jefferson’s wife. She is also rather intelligent, even regal, and has a will of her own that she will enforce when she feels it necessary.I think we've all heard the stories about Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings. This novel takes the perspective that Hemings and Jefferson may have been in love, or at least had some sort of connection. The story portrays an apparent tenderness and affection between the two, and a long-term relationship resulting in numerous supposed children together.After the first 100 pages, the book held me every moment. I was bored in the beginning by Jefferson and his misery after his wife's death, but once he came out of it and the story picked up, it held my attention and had me craving to know what would happen next.Then I found myself wanting to finish the story, so I could then go on to read up on Jefferson, his daughter and the other characters, to see how much of this story seemed to be true.As Patsy matured and found romantic interests, I found myself concerned that the story may degrade into some tale of flowery romance, but the story in fact maintained its integrity.My final word: The story was slow to start and grab me, but in the end I really, really liked the tale told about Patsy and her life as the daughter of Thomas Jefferson. The authors really brought the characters to life, and made them highly sympathetic. Jefferson is actually a secondary character in this story. It is really all about Patsy-- her strength, her determination, her loyalty and devotion, commitment and constant love. It's an extraordinary tale, with an extraordinary woman and cast of secondary characters, not the least of whom is Thomas Jefferson himself. Jefferson is known for having said "I cannot live without books", and you, my friends, should not live without this one! Get thee to a book store posthaste!
  • (5/5)
    ‘America’s First Daughter’ by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie is a captivating story about Martha Jefferson Randolph, also known as Patsy, President Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter. Although the novel is historical fiction, the authors have devoted much effort to researching documents in order to maintain the historical accuracy of the novel. At the end of the novel, the authors present an explanation of their tedious research to portray the story using historically accurate information, and when they deviated from history in order to present a more succinct and forthcoming story.The enigma of President Jefferson’s life has always interested me. As a man who wrote the Declaration of Independence in which ‘all men are created equal,’ he was known to possess slaves throughout his lifetime. In addition, Jefferson maintained a life-long relationship with one of his mulatto slaves, Sally Hemmings with whom he fathered several offspring. His relationship with Sally was never formally acknowledged while he was alive, but recent DNA tests have indicated that Jefferson was indeed the father to her children. I felt that, while the story is presented in fictional format, the authors present an accurate and fair portrayal of the conflicts to which Jefferson faced between his personal and public life. Although he may have been urged by individuals to support the emancipation of slaves, he could never fully allow himself to risk his political position to do so. Although Jefferson believed in emancipation, he felt that it was a process to be achieved in a future generation. Throughout Jefferson’s life, his daughter Patsy served as his staunchest supporter as she fulfilled the role of First Lady to the President. The story truly captures Patsy’s dedication to her father, as well as her resilience in a tumultuous life as a matriarch to her family through scandals, financial ruin, and tragedy. The authors of this novel portray this brilliant story with well-written and descriptive prose. Although the novel exceeds six hundred pages in length, I am mesmerized by Patsy’s calculating wit and her thought processes in establishing her role in a chauvinistic and bigoted society. Being the consummate romantic, I am also intrigued with her enduring relationship with William Short, an abolitionist and friend to Thomas Jefferson. For me, this novel successfully traverses the layers of dichotomy between slavery and emancipation, as well as the expectations of a woman in colonial times.
  • (4/5)
    Prior to this novel, I had only the roughest idea of Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter and her life, and this book served as a good introduction to Patsy Jefferson Randolph's turbulent life. I really enjoyed the telling of her early years, but after her marriage, I found myself liking Patsy less and wishing she had made very different choices for herself and her family - primarily, not to devote herself to her legendary father quite so much. Nevertheless, this book is a wonderful combination of good writing and interesting history - one that makes me want to learn more about so many of the characters.
  • (4/5)
    This book was very interesting. I liked how the author made Thomas Jefferson and his daughter both human. I guess politicians are the same throughout the ages. Patsy Jefferson was quite a smart woman and that would have been a very hard thing to be during this century. I enjoyed this story.