Book Review: America's First Daughter

Ashley Abbott
Bookworm

“Sons of a revolution fight for liberty. They give blood, flesh, limbs, their very lives. But daughters... we sacrifice our eternal souls.”

4 out of 5 stars

America's First Daughter: A Novel
by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Behind every great man there is an even greater woman.

“I’m not only my father’s daughter, but also a daughter of the nation he founded. And protecting both is what I’ve always done.”

This book truly made me stop and think, quite a bit. Thomas Jefferson seen through the eyes of his daughter and biggest champion, Patsy. All the accomplishments and flaws of the Jefferson family are laid bare to the reader. Convincing look into the contradictory mind of an 18th century woman.

"Tom would be the slaveholder—not me. And I knew it was considered only right and proper for every genrty bride to be given not only a settlement like this, but also a maid... By all the traditions of our country, this was no more than Papa ought to have given me, plus Sally Hemings besides. But there was no question that he’d keep her for himself, just as he’d promised."

Sally Hemings is present and interwoven into the story as a graceful mistress (although I'm uneasy as to how one can be a “mistress” when enslaved.) Probably the most heartbreaking aspect for me. The author does a good job of showing how women and slaves had to think and act in order to survive. When you don’t have a legal voice, you have to be clever and sometimes heartless.

Four stars because it took a few chapters for me to really fall into this book. I found myself annoyed with the MC in the beginning, but once she was out of her adolescence I was captivated.

Enlightening read.