America's First Daughter
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.
I know the story of Thomas Jefferson and a little bit about his oldest daughter, Martha "Patsy" yet I have never gotten to know either of them as familiar as I have reading this book. Although, Patsy was the strongest voice throughout this book. Because of her having to take care of her father after her mother's death, she came off much older and wiser then her actual age. Her and William's romance was sweet and it felt real despite the age difference. Yet I give it up to Patsy that she had her father's back the whole time despite him not always showing the same dedication to her and her sister.
The two authors blended so nicely together to write this book. It was seamless. I could not tell where one left off and the next picked up. Plus, this book did not feel like you were reading from an old, stuffy history book. I was engaged from the beginning with all of the voices in this book.