“Papa grimaced, contemplating the crystal goblet in his hand. ‘What else is left of me but public service when all my private happiness has been so utterly destroyed?'”
If only Washington and Jefferson lived in the time of Internet and social media, we would know so much more about their lives. Some of the secrets will never be known, but there is evidence that suggests some secrets about past presidents are true, such as Jefferson having children by a slave. While we can never know for sure, we can take a journey through the life of Martha Jefferson, his daughter, and see what maybe was.
America’s First Daughter was highly advertised in BookPages monthly magazine several months ago. I added it to my to-read list as it looked like an interesting historical fiction book and bought the e-book when it was on sale. I enjoy good historical fiction and when I found out the book had two authors and pages of reference notes, I hoped it would be a good story. I was not disappointed.
The entire story is told through the eyes of Jefferson’s oldest daughter, from the early years when her mother died to their time in France as U.S. ambassadors during the French Revolution and back in America married with children and trying to take care of her aging father. The book was long, but I didn’t really notice it too much because the story was interesting and kept moving. I learned about Jefferson and what life was like at the beginning of America. The book shines light on the plight of slaves and women, those who had fewer rights than the men.
The book is geared toward adults as it includes suicidal thoughts, a relationship between Jefferson and a slave, spouse emotional and physical abuse, intoxication and adultery. All of these issues are told in a historical reference and create a truer story. America’s First Daughter would be a great book club book for dedicated readers as it is more than 500 pages long.