On My Bedside {America’s First Daughter}

I read America’s First Daughter while on our D.C. trip and absolutely LOVED it!  It is the best book I have read in recent memory.  In fact, I usually pass along any books I purchase to a friend but this one I could only loan to Mother because I want to read it again.  There were so many fantastic details that I want to be sure I didn’t miss a thing.

The fact that I read this book while touring D.C. and the surrounding areas made it even more exciting – I read about Jefferson at night and then heard stories about him on a tour the next day.  This wasn’t entirely by design but I am so pleased that it worked out that way :-).

I fell in love with Patsy Jefferson and, while this book is historical fiction, have no doubt about the influence she had and role she played in the founding of our country.  I was also so surprised by the struggles she faced in her marriage, at home and financially.   I, of course, also loved reading about Thomas Jefferson and learning more about his personal life, views and struggles.

Official synopsis:

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.

If you like historical fiction or have any interest at all in our founding fathers, you must read this one.   The only regret I have from our trip is that we did not get to visit Monticello.  That is now on my bucket list and I welcome any ideas on what else we could loop in with a trip to do that.  I doubt we can get there in the next year but I want to see it now more than ever before!

I would love to know what is on YOUR bedside these days!  I’m reading Alias Grace.

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16 thoughts on “On My Bedside {America’s First Daughter}

  1. I read this book over the winter, it was fantastic. I visited Monticello last May on a trip to visit a friend that lives in VA outside DC. We made it a short day trip, had lunch and wandered the shops in Charlottesville. We didn’t tour the university but we did find the Alpha Phi house so I could take a couple pictures and see another of our chapter houses.

    At Monticello, there was a video you can watch before taking the bus up to the house. The tickets are timed and you can buy them online before, which I would recommend. You can tour the grounds and some areas of the house before our after your timed ticket. We did the main tour but I think there was one that showed more of the house. I think they do tours of the garden as well, or you can self tour. I wasn’t feeling that well the day we were there and it was hot so we didn’t do much extra. One the way down the bus will stop so you can see the small cemetery then you get on the next bus. The gift shop was nice and had some fun things to buy. They also sell stuff on their website.

    Having seen the house and then read the book there are parts that made more sense/easier to picture, like Jefferson’s bedroom. We’re going to Paris next month and I’m curious about where they lived then. I would imagine it’s not there any more but I need to do some research to try and figure out where it was so we can at least see the streets and what they saw.

    As for adding stuff on to Monticello. It might be a good way to combine in another trip to DC and add in Gettysburg or another battlefield(s) in the area. My list for visiting my friend includes Gettysburg, Hershey, PA, Mt Vernon and Falling Water in PA, though that is more than a day trip from the DC area.

    1. Great ideas!! Thank you so much. Yes, I want to see the places familiar to the book. PLEASE let me know if you track down the area in which they lived in Paris.

  2. Couldnt agree more. I read it a few months ago and I didn’t even want to put it down. Growing up and knowing Virginia so well I think that book has even more meaning. I just told a friend going to DC on a trip she should read. Since she plans to do some of the historical attractions. I loved!!!!

    1. Yes, it was SO good. I’m about to read the Eliza Hamilton book. Once I finish suffering through Alias Grace.

  3. Hi Amanda! Charlottesville is only two hours from The Greenbrier! It’s such a special place. Then it’s another hour to Fayetteville, WV. It’s a cute little town. Adventures on the Gorge is there with cabins to stay in and ground zero for fun adventures from white water rafting to walking underneath the New River Gorge Bridge across the river 876′ below! I’m told that is it the only other bridge besides Syndey Harbour Bridge that you can walk the expansion. The boys would love it!
    http://www.bridge walk.com
    You need to come to Wild, Wonderful West Virginia!

    1. It does have some romance parts – it is not super descriptive but it is in there. Honestly, it is a hard call for me. My 12 year old would have zero interest but I would probably have him wait a little.

  4. Thank you for the recommendation! As a decent of Thomas Jefferson and a history lover, I can’t wait to read it!!!

  5. Oh, thank you for this recommendation! I absolutely love historical fiction and am a huge Thomas Jefferson fan, so I can’t wait to read this! Monticello is on my bucket list as well, but I want to go when the garden is in full bloom! Always enjoy your recs!!

    xo~ Meredith

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