Thursday, February 9, 2017

America's First Daughter

America's First Daughter
by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:  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 comes America's minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of the French Revolution, the fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father's troubling liaison with Sally Hemmings, 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.  Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions if 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, to Monticello, and even to 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 Jefferson's political legacy but that of the nation he founded.
from the back of the book

Review: This book started so strongly.  I was caught up in the early life of Patsy at Monticello and then in France when Jefferson was the minister to France and even at first when she returned to Virginia.  But once Patsy married and had children and her father was involved in political drama and her sisters-in-law where caught up in scandal, the book slowed down.  There was so much history and that dragged the story down (and I like historical fiction!)  This book is lengthy-580 pages!  You feel that length in the middle when you just want the story to move along.  I feel like more could have been cut out of this book to make it a faster paced book.  I did enjoy the look into Thomas Jefferson's life from a different perspective and the look into a woman's life at that time.  You get more a behind the scenes look in the start of our government and how a woman was able to influence a man out of the public's eye.  Reading the author's note was definitely insightful to know what was fiction and what was not.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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