America’s First Daughter: A Novel – Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

(Reviewed by Ishita RC)

“Patsy, suffering strengthens our constitutions and builds inner fortifications so that we never fall prey to the same agony twice. We must take upon ourselves a smaller evil to defend against the greater evil. We must take upon ourselves a smaller pain in order to survive.”

Thomas Jefferson quoted this to his daughter Martha  “Patsy” Jefferson at a time of great personal sorrow.

America’s First Daughter is a  compilation of the letters written by Thomas Jefferson  during his lifetime, in the narrative of his oldest daughter. These letters reflect the political opinions, biases, sorrows and joy of the time period.

While reading this book, I never felt the need to spare a single moment when I didn’t relate myself to the trials and tribulations of Martha Jefferson. While the words echoed were those of former US president Thomas Jefferson, the book felt like a private reflection of his daughter. The silent observations of a daughter that echoed the prejudices and biases that surrounded the era in Virginia, the harrowing effects of revolution and war that had far more resounding effect than mere politics. This all leaves a lasting impression on the minds of the readers.

While the story is of a time period that I cannot imagine, the style of writing truly justifies the narrative that the authors were aiming for. I think this is one of the reasons that the book suited so well with my reading palate. I cannot think of even a single fault that I can put forward. I truly loved this book.

This is definitely one of those books that you will not regret picking out at a bookstore.

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