AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER

Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

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.

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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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  • William Morrow Paperback
  • Paperback
  • March 2016
  • 624 Pages
  • 9780062347268

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$15.99

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About Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

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.

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.

Praise

“America’s First Daughter brings a turbulent era to vivid life. All the conflicts and complexities of the Early Republic are mirrored in Patsy’s story. It’s breathlessly exciting and heartbreaking by turns-a personal and political page-turner.— Donna Thorland, author of The Turncoat

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

“Authors Dray and Kamoie have performed tireless research. Whether it’s detailing Patsy’s life as a debutante in Paris, where she dances with Lafayette and witnesses the first flickers of the French Revolution, or recounting the world of a Virginia plantation, they’ve done their homework.” — Kirkus Reviews

“This is a stunning historical novel that will keep you up late, hoping the engaging story never ends. Highly, highly recommended!” — Historical Novel Society, Editor’s Choice

Discussion Questions

If Thomas Jefferson’s wife hadn’t died, how might he and his daughter have lived

different lives? Historically, Jefferson is said to have made a deathbed promise to his

wife, and in the novel his daughter makes one as well. How might their lives have

differed if they hadn’t made those deathbed promises?

As portrayed in the novel and in their letters to each other, how would you describe

Jefferson and Patsy’s relationship with each other? Was Jefferson a good father? Did he

change as a father over the course of the novel? Was Patsy a good daughter?

Does seeing Jefferson through his daughter’s eyes make him more relatable as a

Founding Father? How so or why not?

The limited choices women had available to them in the Revolutionary era is one theme

explored in this book. What were the most important choices Patsy made throughout her

life? Do you agree with why she made them? Could or should she have chosen

differently?

What did you think of Sally’s choice to return to Virginia with Jefferson? Why did she

make that decision? What were her alternatives and how viable were they?

Another theme explored in this book is sacrifice. What does Patsy sacrifice in her effort

to protect her father? What did Jefferson sacrifice? What did Sally sacrifice? What did

William Short sacrifice?

Why does Patsy think her father needs to be protected? Why does she think she is the

only one to do it? In what ways does she protect him? What do you think of Patsy’s effort

to protect Jefferson? Would you have done the same thing?

How are Patsy’s views on slavery portrayed in this novel? What factors influence her

thinking? How do her views differ from her father’s or from William Short’s?

Why did Patsy decide to marry Thomas Mann Randolph Jr.? How would you describe

their relationship and how did their relationship change over time?

Why can’t or won’t Patsy cry? Why does she finally cry in the final scene at Monticello?

Do you agree with William that Monticello was “a set of chains”? Why not or how so?

Were you on William’s or Patsy’s side during their fight in the final scene at Monticello?

In what ways did Patsy shape her father’s legacy? In what ways did she shape our own?

In what ways is she America’s First Daughter?