Monday, June 20, 2016

America's First Daughter

America's First Daughter
By Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
William Morrow, 2016. 590 pgs. Historical Fiction

Authors Dray and Kamoie consulted thousands of letters and primary documents while researching for this rich historical novel of Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph, Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter.

Patsy was a fascinating woman whose life provides a unique perspective of the early days of our country.  Her father’s legacy was larger than life even while he lived and Patsy grew up with the eyes of a nation constantly upon her.  But, the sacrifices and struggles of her life were brought on as much by personal loss as by the upheaval caused by the revolution.

America’s First Daughter presents Patsy as a complex and conflicted personality.  She is vividly described along with the turbulent time she lived in.  A wonderful novel with substance, worthy of the woman it depicts.


1 comment:

SR said...

CZ beat me to reviewing this book! America's First Daughter is an excellent choice for historical fiction readers, as it delves thoroughly into eighteenth and early nineteenth century history. I was especially impressed to see that the authors resisted making Patsy too ahead of her time. So often in historical fiction, protagonists are progressive crusaders who see outside of their own worldview. In this novel, Patsy is deeply troubled by slavery,the limitations placed on women, the rampant alcoholism around her, and the spousal abuse so many women in her life experience. At the same time, though, she is a thoroughly pragmatic woman who works within the failings of her era and at times accepts them as necessary. Seeing things through her lens helped me to understand the historic mentalities that shaped our nation.

I will also add that the audiobook, which is available to Provo Library patrons through Overdrive, is wonderful. Reader Cassandra Campbell's rich voice and slow Virginia drawl bought Patsy even more to life for me.