As you can tell by my other book reviews, I love historical fiction. I love finding out about actual historical events as they are woven into a fictional story. It can be difficult to find books that are researched enough to be considered historically accurate and I have definitely found this accuracy with these authors. America’s First Daughter is the debut novel by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. In my opinion, they checked everything off the list that I look for in a good historical fiction novel.
Book: America’s First Daughter
Author: Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Listening Time: 23 hrs and 28 mins
I ran across this book by accident when it presented itself on my recommended books on Audible.com. I had never heard of the authors before and that is because this is their debut historical fiction novel.
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. ~ Goodreads
I learned so much about this family and the time period from this book, I enjoyed the excerpts from actual letters because it added an authenticity to this fiction novel. The story started off really slow but once it picked up it was hard to stop listening.
America’s First Daughter takes readers from the Virginia plantation to the intrigues of Paris, London, and Washington. And tells the story from the perspective of Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph. The sacrifices Patsy made for her father and for his legacy are staggering. I don’t know that history would’ve embraced him as reverently as it has if not for her efforts.
The narrator, Cassandra Campbell, did a superb job bringing this story to life. These characters became so real that I must admit I cried in some parts of the story.
I highly recommend America’s First Daughter to anyone that enjoys well-researched historical fiction.
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