REVIEW: America's First Daughter

Happy New Year to all of my readers!


To me, January is a time of new beginnings and I really love the start of new things. I have several New Year's resolutions--one being to complete my next novel! Several people have inquired as to its status and it's coming right along. I have just started the third draft and it will go to my editor toward the end of May.


Because it's the story of Julia Hancock Clark, much of my research has been Early American and Virginia History-oriented. Since I happen to live in Virginia, it has been sheer pleasure to delve deeper into my State's roots, learning about the culture of the early 19th century, the personal lives of Julia and the two famous explorers, Lewis & Clark, and to visit some of the places pertaining to their lives. Naturally, some of the reads I've completed this year have pertained specifically to American history. I've read both non-fiction and some historical fiction novels addressing both the late 18th century and early 19th century. One of these books--a historical fiction novel--was one of my three most-enjoyed books in 2021. This week, I'd like to share the review I did of it and hopefully persuade some of you to give it read in 2022. In addition, I'm leaving a brief bio of the book's TWO authors: Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie.


So read ON in 2022, everybody!



America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

Reviewed by Brook Allen



Recommended to me by a friend, I was mesmerized by this book and each time I closed it, couldn’t wait to dive back in. I love long, juicy novels in which I’m able to sink my teeth, and America’s First Daughter didn’t disappoint—but there are reasons for that, which I’ll discuss.


The book tells the sweeping tale of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, whose full name was eventually Martha Jefferson Randolph. “Patsy”, as she was nicknamed, was the proverbial “Daddy’s girl”, but she benefited from it, becoming far more educated than were most women of her time—even women of her own social status. But Patsy was also a character that kept promises to the point of fault. Her adventures, from a daring escape from Monticello to Poplar Forest, her intrigues, Jefferson’s scandals, and the divisive politics that nearly tore a toddling America apart are powerfully described, as was the world-building vivid and colorfully detailed.


Perhaps the most compelling part of this book for me was the humanity of all of the characters involved, blending with the portrayal of American history—checkmated at the time with the conundrum of slavery which was indeed the penultimate hypocrisy of freedom, yet provided an economy for the south that society demanded. Tragic, poignant, and deftly realized, every American in our present day should read this book. No, Thomas Jefferson was FAR from perfect. Nor was his family. However, they were men and women of their time, as were the slaves in their households, and this book renders them all as fully revealed human lives.








Bravissimo to both Dray and Kamoie. They have achieved nothing less than a masterpiece.










About the Authors


Stephanie Dray


Stephanie is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. Now she lives in Maryland with her husband, cats, and history books.






Laura Kamoie


A Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today Bestseller, has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction 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 as the New York Times bestselling author, Laura Kaye. Writing historical fiction allows her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and monster German shepherd, Schuyler.



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