Blog Tour Book Review: America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

America's First Daughter coverAbout America’s First Daughter

• Paperback: 624 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (March 1, 2016)

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.

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Happy Wednesday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. I’d like to send a big thank you to the authors, TLC Book Tours and William Morrow for giving me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

America’s First Daughter is a work of historical fiction based on the letters of Thomas Jefferson and is about his daughter. It is also told from her perspective and tells of the story of her family and the sacrifices they made for our country.

I loved this book. Going into this book I didn’t know much about Thomas Jefferson and his family other than the basic information that stayed with me over the years since my last US History course in college. I feel like I don’t read as many books based during this time period as I would like, so I think this was a really good start for me. I am also always intrigued to read about the women behind the men of history whether it’s nonfiction or historical fiction but I especially love historical fiction. This story gripped me from start to finish. It was sweeping and compelling and even though I read it in a day I felt like I savored it, it was definitely a great read.

I loved reading about Patsy and experiencing this piece of history through her eyes. I enjoyed catching a glimpse of Thomas Jefferson through the eyes of his daughter and catching a glimpse of places like Paris during this time. My heart also broke for her at certain points in the story and I also swooned a few times. Definitely gripping!

This book is over 500 pages so before I started it, I was pretty intimidated as the majority of books I tend to read are about at about the 280-389 pages range but I do love to read larger books as well and this one actually felt like less because I couldn’t put it down. For me it had the right balance between the entertainment factor and the historical factor and I am giving it a five star review.

While I know that this book is fiction and is based on real people and events but may not be entirely accurate, I do usually find that in historical fiction books there are still things for me to learn or review and I did find this to be the case in this book as well. It is very evident that the authors researched people and events in order to write this and that extra touch just adds another layer to the book that is fascinating. If, like me, the lives of the women of history interest you or you are looking for a really great historical fiction/women’s fiction read, check this book out!


Stephanie Dray photo credit Kate Furek

Photo by Kate Furek

About Stephanie Dray

Stephanie Dray is a bestselling and award-nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her work has been translated into six different languages, was nominated for RWA’s RITA Award, and won NJRW’s Golden Leaf. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital.

Find out more about Stephanie at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo by Renee Hollingshead

Photo by Renee Hollingshead

About Laura Kamoie

Laura Kamoie has published two nonfiction books on early America and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction under the name Laura Kaye, the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books.

Find out more about Laura at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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