This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. Any blessings we receive go to helping our homeschool and grocery budgets!America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie
Genres: Historical Fiction
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on March 1st 2016
Source: InkSlinger PR, Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon
Find on Goodreads
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.
“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.” (Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Empress)
AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER EXCERPT
Mr. Short’s Declaration
“Patsy, will you allow me to walk you home?” Mr. Short asked.
In that moment, I’d have gone anywhere with him. It didn’t matter that my feet ached from dancing or that I’d left my shawl upstairs, or even that my chaperone would soon notice I was missing. That spring in Paris, defiance of rules was the norm. And a wild defiant liberation had taken hold of me, so I didn’t fight it. I simply went with him out into the night, and alighted a carriage back to Paris, quite undone by this turn of fate.
My thoughts were as tumultuous as the jostling ride. I’d built a fortification round my heart, and not only because I’d been hurt. Given my intention to take my vows, I was forced to wonder if Mr. Short was a temptation sent by the devil himself. If so, I was ready to fall into the devil’s arms, but I wasn’t so unprincipled as to deceive him.
When we disembarked on the Champs-Élysées beneath lamps hung in the trees, I turned to him.
“Mr. Short, I’m very much changed since you left. You don’t realize the full extent of it.
When you learn more, I fear—I fear you must reconsider your declaration.”
“That sounds ominously serious. . . .”
“I’m afraid it is.” I told him of my bargain with God. Of my admittedly wavering belief that I’d been called to serve as a Bride of Christ, rather than the bride of any man.
When I was finished, he exhaled. “What a relief. I feared you’d given your heart to Polignac. I’m much happier to have God as a rival. More glory in it for me if I win your love, and less shame should I lose.”
I gasped at his playful remark. “That’s blasphemous.”
He winked. “Probably so. I’m a sinner with more faults than you imagine, Patsy. But you’re the friend to which my soul is unalterably attached, so I’m prepared to make whatever alterations to my character would be conducive to your happiness. Only tell me this. Are my hopes in vain, or can you be induced to love me?”
I loved him already. Had loved him, it seemed, all my life. Loved his loyalty, his ambition, his radical vision for the world. That a man like William Short wanted my love filled me with such joy that I could’ve thrown my arms about his neck, heedless of the eyes upon us, and confessed it on the spot! But did I not love God just as much? Even if I hadn’t determined to take the veil, I’d been strictly taught that a girl’s easy confession of love was indecent and would destroy that love.
I couldn’t answer him with true candor. Worse, in struggling to think of a reply of sufficient restraint, I uttered words he took for reproach. “Sir, your absence pained me more than I can ever express—”
“You cannot forgive me?” he asked, stiffening.
“I could forgive you anything, but I need time to petition Heaven for guidance.”
“You’re cruel, Miss Jefferson. I’ve already spent a year’s time waiting for you.”
I shook my head. “It’s not cruelty but confusion. For in that year’s time, I feared you despised me. Now in one night, everything I thought I knew is changed.”
“You feel hurried. Yes, I see that now. As do I. For your father tells me he expects permission for his leave of absence in the post any day now, and that you’ll set sail for Virginia. I saw the trunks, already packed.”
The breath went out of me. I hadn’t forgotten my father’s congé. But I hadn’t realized that the need for a decision would steal swiftly upon me. Now, here was Mr. Short, making my choice more complicated. “But I need to understand. If—if I loved you, what then?”
His hands tightened on mine. “Then you’d make me the happiest man who ever lived.”
a Rafflecopter giveaway