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America’s First Daughter

By Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie


580 pages

What’s it about? Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter Patsy had a front row seat to American history.  She witnesses the birth of a New Democratic America, and not long after travels to Paris with her father where she sees another revolution unfolding.  Patsy Jefferson would have much to tell if she were here today.  The authors of this story blend history with supposition to create an interesting version of Patsy Jefferson’s life.What did it make me think about? Where is the truth in history?“History consists of a series of accumulated imaginative inventions.”Voltaire Should I read it? I enjoyed learning more about the history of this time period.  However I can’t say I came away from this book with a better feeling for who Patsy or Thomas Jefferson really were.  The book certainly kept my attention and I was curious about what would transpire, but the formal language put me off at times.  I am certain the authors were going for a certain tone and authenticity, but the formality tended to keep me at arm’s length from the story. Patsy Jefferson certainly was portrayed as a woman that kept her own counsel, and was not forthcoming about what she truly thought or felt.  This includes one of the more interesting storylines- what she felt about Sally Hemmings and her father.  Also, what she truly felt about slavery.  At times I felt that the point of view that the writers were promoting did not transcribe to actual historical events.  But that is the beauty and downside to historical fiction isn’t it? Quote- ​”I couldn’t have abandoned my father.  Neither for William Short nor for God could I have ever chosen a life away from Papa.  The country he’s founded- the land he loved- needed him, and he needed me.”

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