America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie Review + Signed Giveaway

Title: America's First Daughter
Authors: Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie
Historical Fiction
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

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.

Source: e-ARC from publisher
This is my honest review.
Rating: 5 Stars ~ Excellent

I never knew Patsy Jefferson’s life was so fascinating! An absolutely riveting read!

My first thoughts immediately after reaching the end of America’s First Daughter was that Patsy Jefferson led an incredibly captivating and extraordinary life! I didn’t realize the great care she took in selecting which of the thousands of letters her beloved father, Thomas Jefferson, wrote that would be passed down in her family and inevitably preserved as a historical diary. In doing so, she kept many secrets to herself in order to protect her father’s reputation for generations to come. As eloquently explained in the Author’s Note at the end of the book, this gives way to so much interpretation to “fill in the gaps”, so to speak, as to what might’ve happened in her and her father’s lives during an important time period in American history.

Who is Patsy Jefferson? There was so much more to this woman than being the eldest daughter of one of America’s Founding Fathers and third President of the United States. America’s First Daughter describes Patsy Jefferson’s life so fully and in great depth. Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie beautifully present her life in an intriguing way. It starts with Patsy going through her father’s letters and deciding which to keep. As she reads the letters, some of which are excerpted at the beginning of each chapter, she goes through each delicate memory that relates in her past. I thought this was a lovely way to bring fact and fiction together, and it certainly made the plot interesting and flow steadily.

Although Patsy Jefferson had many great opportunities in her lifetime, she wasn’t perfect and made mistakes. America’s First Daughter paints a picture of both the good and bad things that happened or might’ve happened in her life. She was undoubtedly her father’s rock when he needed her the most, and they shared a lifelong father-daughter bond. She was so devoted to him that she sacrificed so much, all while exuding much grace and strength. In a time of great controversy, I can certainly see why she would want to keep family secrets hidden.

Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie, thank you for enlightening us all with Patsy Jefferson’s story! America’s First Daughter was an all-consuming read that kept me up several nights! By the end I felt like I came to fully understand this remarkable woman’s hopes and dreams, strengths and weaknesses, and endearing compassion to those most present in her life.

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~*~ GIVEAWAY ~*~
Prize: America's First Daughter (1 signed paperback, US only)
February 26, 2016-March 11, 2016

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