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America's First Daughter
Cover of America's First Daughter
America's First Daughter
A Novel
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THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERIn a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the...
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERIn a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the...
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  • THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    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.

About the Author-

  • Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women's fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer and a teacher. Now she lives near the nation's capital with her husband, cats, and history books.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2016
    A Founding Father's daughter tells all! At the age of 10, upon the death of her mother, Patsy Jefferson steps into the role of mistress of the house for her father, Thomas. Patsy, our narrator, recounts the story of a man of great contradictions. He proclaims his love for domestic life but is repeatedly drawn to public service and repeatedly fails to manage his great estate, Monticello, losing it after his death to creditors. Then there is the matter of his slaves--"Our slave-holding spokesman for freedom," taunts a schoolmate of Patsy's when Jefferson serves as an American envoy in Paris. His hypocrisy includes a long-standing affair with Sally Hemings, who was not only his slave, but his wife's sister. Authors Dray (Daughters of the Nile, 2013, etc.) and Kamoie (Irons in the Fire, 2007) have performed tireless research. Whether it's detailing Patsy's life as a debutante in Paris, where she dances with Lafayette and witnesses the first flickers of the French Revolution, or recounting the world of a Virginia plantation, they've done their homework. Indeed, their fidelity to history can be excessive: so many Virginia cousins, scandals, and disinheritances can weary the reader, especially when the prose takes a sappy turn ("Watching him struggle against undeserved abuse from such a villain made me forgive him, truly"). Patsy marries her cousin Tom Randolph and bears him 11 children while enduring his abuse, but she remains most devoted to maintaining her father's happiness, property, and legacy. A thorough and well-researched if sometimes flowery saga of the Jefferson family.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Donna Thorland , author of The Turncoat "America's First Daughter brings a turbulent era to vivid life. All the conflicts and complexities of the Early Republic are mirrored in Patsy's story. It's breathlessly exciting and heartbreaking by turns-a personal and political page-turner."
  • Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Empress "Painstakingly researched, beautifully hewn, compulsively readable — this enlightening literary journey takes us from Monticello to revolutionary Paris to the Jefferson White House, revealing remarkable historical details, dark family secrets, and bringing to life the colorful cast of characters who conceived of our new nation. A must read."
  • C.W. Gortner, bestselling author of Mademoiselle Chanel "[A] triumphant, controversial, and fascinating plunge into the complexities of Revolutionary America, where women held power in subtle ways and men hid dangerous secrets. You'll never look at Jefferson or his legacy the same way again."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Authors Dray and Kamoie have performed tireless research. Whether it's detailing Patsy's life as a debutante in Paris, where she dances with Lafayette and witnesses the first flickers of the French Revolution, or recounting the world of a Virginia plantation, they've done their homework."
  • Historical Novel Society, Editor's Choice "This is a stunning historical novel that will keep you up late, hoping the engaging story never ends. Highly, highly recommended!"

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    HarperCollins
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