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Saturday, November 7, 2015

America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

This was one of those unput downable books! I was annoyed that other work got in the way of reading this one.

Martha is the eldest daughter of Thomas Jefferson. She takes over the household on the death of her mother, and literally is the First Lady from then on. The influence of her father on her life is immense and Jefferson comes across as being selfish and self serving when he controls Martha's life to the exclusion of everything else. Of course it was at a time, when daughters obeyed parents without question and Martha was no different. She believed implicitly that her father acted in her best interests and though her heart told her otherwise at various stages of her life she acted according to her father's plan.

Going from America to Paris and then back to America again we follow the chequered lives of both Jefferson and his daughter. He trying to reconcile his moral beliefs with his actual way of life - slavery being the biggest question. His daughter trying to balance her life as wife and mother and at the same time serve her father in the best way possible, finally to the detriment of her marriage.

The book was a complicated read but it was not mere dry history. On the contrary it dealt with human relationships of many kinds, and the fine line between professional and personal lives and how they overlap, contrast and sometimes completely oppose each other.

Characterization of each person was vividly done, and I did so like the domestic details of life in both America and Paris at the time.

Beautifully written this was a book sent to me by Edelweiss.


  1. Sounds really interesting Mystica. So sad that the daughter had to bend herself to the father's shaping. But as you say, those were the times.

  2. Great. How about linking in to Books You Loved: Novembeer over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

  3. I love books that take over my life like that!

  4. Nothing better than an unputdownable read and I love Stephanie Dray's writing, I had no idea she had a collaboration book out. Thanks for wonderful review!

  5. This sounds like a great read. I love learning history through the enjoyment of fiction. Sometimes I carry the book with me so I can read in spare moments when I don't want to put it down. :-)