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.
Well-researched historical fiction novel that encompasses the saga of a family caught up in the freedom of nations and told through the voice of Thomas Jefferson's daughter, Martha "Patsy"
Jefferson. I appreciated the authors' careful narrative choices and plotting of the life of "Patsy" Jefferson.
"Alas, memories are made of more than inscriptions in stone. They're made, too, of the words we leave behind. And my father left so many." - Patsy Jefferson
The history nerd in me loved the facts of daily Colonial American life sprinkled throughout the story. I learned much about this time period and the people. From strange laws, like the one requiring that a man must own 50 acres of land before he could vote or hold political office to downright startling laws about husbands and wives. Despite the words Jefferson penned which founded our country, the rights of Blacks as well as women were horribly lacking. Wives were possessions that men had within their rights to "beat" into submission. Husbands could even take their children away from wives if they did not obey, and the wife's family had no say in such matters either. Husbands owned everything.
The scope if this story, during America's first 50 years of independence, crosses continents and includes the beginning of the French Revolution. The sights and inventions of the period are clearly visualized.
Dray and Kamoie do a fantastic job of creating a vividly complex characterization of America's Founding Daughter. While some mindsets were hard for my modern sentiments to truly sympathize with, I understand that she was a product of her time. She also surpassed many traditional womanly roles of the time - marking her as a forward-thinking and progressive person despite other character flaws (particularly being a slave owner).
Deeply felt and beautifully written, this novel will please historical fiction fans and readers who love a strong heroine at the helm of such stories. Despite being a long novel, the narration quickly sweeps you up and never lets go until the final chapter. And while the last few chapters are heavy with sad losses, overall, this is a tale of a remarkable woman who bore the scars of her sacrifices for the good of her country and family.
"Sons of a revolution fight for liberty. They give blood, flesh, limbs, their very lives. But daughters... we sacrifice our eternal souls." - Patsy Jefferson
"Descendants of Avalon"
Released via Inklings Publishing
("The Forgotten" volume 2)
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse