Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “America's First Daughter” as Want to Read:
America's First Daughter
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

America's First Daughter

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  37,508 ratings  ·  4,324 reviews
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
Paperback, 606 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about America's First Daughter, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Joan You sure can. Go to your local library and ask them if they have a copy and if not, would they buy it or get it from another library for you.
Gretchen It is billed as historical fiction, not non-fiction. I was looking forward to reading it to, big disappointment. Half way through the book it became a…moreIt is billed as historical fiction, not non-fiction. I was looking forward to reading it to, big disappointment. Half way through the book it became a matter of endurance to finish it.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  37,508 ratings  ·  4,324 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Stephanie Thornton
This book is downright delicious, and hands-down wins the award for my favorite novel of Revolutionary America. Ever.

Thomas Jefferson has always been my favorite Founding Father, simply because he's so darn enigmatic. What is one to make of the man who penned the Declaration of Independence, yet kept his own slaves at Monticello and had an affair with his slave Sally Hemings? And while I knew that Jefferson made a promise at his wife's deathbed never to remarry and that he had a daughter who fu
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
On completion:

Two stars and I will explain why. You may be looking for exactly what this book gives, but not me.

The book ends with an authors' note that explains in detail both the liberties taken in altering known facts and a clear declaration of what were the authors’ intentions for the book. I am extremely thankful for this clear declaration. It is stated outright that we are given a view of the events through Martha Jefferson Randolph's eyes and that characters are romanticized for dramatic
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This novel took me by surprise. The writing started off a bit shaky, however once Dray & Kalmore found their rhythm the writing became much more fluid and completely sucked me into the story. What I knew of Thomas Jefferson was from high school and college history classes, so I was not expecting his story to read like a soap opera. And Patsy. The sacrifices she made for her father and for his legacy are staggering. I don't know that history would've embraced him as reverently as it has if no ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this in fits and starts over a period of months mainly because I didn’t find it as interesting as My Dear Hamilton. The main character, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson, annoyed me at the beginning with her youthful self-righteousness but as she aged I found her to be more sympathetic. Definitely well-researched, the authors do an excellent job of bringing the era to life. As might be expected, Jefferson’s years in France are depicted but his relationship with Sally Hemings is dealt with at a dis ...more
Erika Robuck
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER is the story of a generation caught between the past and the future of a nation, and illuminates how the actions of one woman managed to sustain a family in spite of the consequences of both privilege and poverty. Not since GONE WITH THE WIND has a single volume family saga so brilliantly portrayed the triumphs, trials, and sins of a family in the American South.

Highly, highly, highly recommended.
Susan Johnson
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you think politics are dirty today, you should read about the politics in our American history. Other than George Washington, a lot of dirt was spread about politicians. In the race of 1800, Jefferson was said to be dead, an atheist and a coward. John Adams was supposed to be a tyrant and a criminal. Jefferson said to be "a swindler begot by a mulatto upon a half breed Indian squaw" and Adams was called a hermaphrodite. American politics apparently was never for the faint of heart.

This well
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kobo
Sons of a revolution fight for liberty. They give blood, flesh, limbs, their very lives. But daughters ...we sacrifice our eternal souls.

America 's First Daughter is told from the perspective of the eldest daughter of Thomas Jefferson-Martha(Patsy) Jefferson Randolph. Drawing upon authentic letters written during that period of time, Patsy' s story with her father begins with his death as she explores the thousands of letters that Jefferson wrote during his lifetime and reflects back on how he

Historical fiction par excellence!

I'm delightedly surprised - ecstatic, really - as I thoroughly enjoyed this "Jeffersonian Family Saga" from the very first few lines:

"Sons of a revolution fight for liberty. They give blood, flesh, limbs, their very lives. But daughters . . . we sacrifice our eternal souls. This I am sure of . . . "

Wonderfully readably and extensively researched; fiction that is built upon facts and/or widely presumed inferences and accepted conclusions, with only a modicum of
Kate Quinn
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Patsy Jefferson isn't a famous figure in American history, but she should be: everything that we know about her father Thomas Jefferson--and the nation he shaped--came to us through the hands of his daughter, who saw her life's work as shielding his legacy. Her life is chronicled through the years as her father's helpmeet, steadfastly at his side through the revolutionary years in France, the White House years acting as his First Lady, and his old age when the nation he helped found hit its grow ...more
Stephanie (Bookfever)
I live in Belgium so I've never been really very invested in the part of American history where this book takes place or knew anything about it, but America's First Daughter has totally changed all that. It was the single most brilliant and outstanding historical fiction book that I have ever read. Bravo!

I must admit that I was a bit intimidated by the size of this book at first—It's almost 600 pages. And the start was a bit slow for me but once I got more into the story I barely could stop read
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 amazing informative superlative stars
My reviews can be seen here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

After having read and so enjoyed Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie's book My Dear Hamilton, I knew I needed to read their America's First Daughter. Happy to say I was not disappointed in their writing, the story they told, and their attention to the life of Martha, (Patsy) Jefferson.

Patsy was totally devoted to her father, Thomas, and knew how much he loved his family. After her mother died,
UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

Gorgeous Cover Reveal!

 photo America_zps40ftceit.jpg

Blurb: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, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devoti
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
This novel is told from the viewpoint of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson. Helpmeet to her father and his almost constant companion, Patsy not only travelled with him to France and witnessed his rise to the Presidency but also kept his secrets close to her chest. This novel utilizes the letters that Thomas Jefferson wrote and received in his life, whilst reminding us that it was Patsy who guarded these letters. Thus it is likely that she passed on an edited history to ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-1
This is an interesting historical fiction that centers around Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Patsy and the choices she made to support her father (and essentially sacrifice her own wants and desires in doing so.) So much historical information and details conveyed in this one. What an insightful read that the authors craft in a way that always keeps you turning the page.

I think the biggest overall emotion that comes to me as I read was just the overall sense of powerlessness the vast majority of p
Renee Rosen
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The forgotten Jefferson, Martha “Patsy” takes center stage in this moving epic about impossible choices and Jefferson’s eldest daughter’s conflicted devotion to her father, her country and herself. America’s First Daughter is historical fiction of the highest quality. The authors’ meticulous research is evident on every page and yet never overpowers their skillful storytelling. This is a novel to savor and yet you’ll find yourself turning pages as quickly as possible because you have to know wha ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club

I have to say that I was quite disappointed by this overly long (over 600 page) “historical” novel. Who would think that a book about Thomas Jefferson and the founding of our nation, a book that promises insider knowledge because it is mostly told from the viewpoint of Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph, Jefferson’s oldest daughter, could be so tedious and overblown? I was quite surprised to be as disappointed as I was.

There are several reasons for my disappointment. First, we learn so little
America's First Daughter is one of the best books I've ever read and now holds the title as my favorite book of 2016. Splendid read from start to finish. Historical fiction at it's finest. I REALLY loved this book and I could gush all day and night but then I would waste your time when you should be reading this instead. GO! Visit your library or favorite bookstore. This is a must-read, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction.

The story begins at the end of Jefferson's long, distinguish
Mar 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Unfortunately for me, this was another DNF. I read through the first 150 pages, and I just couldn't continue. Here's why:

1) Patsy's voice. It was so Juvenalian and immature that I was screaming internally. Yes, I only read through when she was 16, but come on people. To me, it seemed like I was reading from a child's PoV. All of her talk about being grown up only furthered the point that she was young.

2)Everything was completely flat. FLAT FLAT FLAT In Patsy's words, the convent would become one
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Once upon a time, I regularly read biographies and histories. I spent weeks devouring every detail of the historic figures' lives and sharing with Randy anything I thought especially interesting or unknown to him (as a history major he seems to know everything). As much as I enjoyed learning more history and about the interesting people, it's been a few years since I found a work to capture my attention. America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie is written as a novel but uses s ...more
ARC received courtesy of First Reads Giveaway

This is historic fiction at its very best! This novel is well researched, well written and honestly told. It's refreshing to read such a wonderfully written novel.

The novel is told from the point of view of Martha (Patsy) Jefferson Randolph, oldest daughter of Thomas Jefferson. She looks back over her entire life as she goes through her father's letters after his death. On her mother's deathbed, Patsy promises to look after her father an
Deborah Pickstone
5.5 stars

I think this is Stephanie Dray's best book yet and she is a favourite of mine (her HF, that is). This is really, really good. I take note that she is a joint author with Laura Kamoie, a historian. I have history with authors claiming to be historians but I believe this one! The research is impeccable. I am no expert - almost a beginner in fact - in this period, or in American history at all - but I am pretty expert in looking for detail and authenticity; there's plenty of that in here a
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Stephanie Dray's book America's First Daughter is a book about freedom, slavery, and the lack of women's rights . Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph, the eldest daughter of Thomas Jefferson, tells her story from age 10 when her mother dies until after the death of her father. She tells of her years in Paris going to a convent school, her first love, her fears in the French Revolution, her marriage, her choices, her 11 children and of course her father. The reader experiences her anguish, fears, j ...more
S.J.A. Turney
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been a while in coming as I’ve been working out how to tackle it. Firstly let me make clear just how stunning a book it is. Now let me explain a little…

America’s First Daughter is not exactly my general sphere of reading. I tend towards swords, explosions, boobs and fart jokes in my reading. Alright, that’s maybe a simplification, but you get the idea. I like my historical fiction generally action packed and usually ancient or medieval. So the saga of a 18th-19th century family,
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
'America's First Daughter' is a historical novel portraying the life of Martha Jefferson Randolph (Patsy), Thomas Jefferson's daughter. The book takes the reader from her childhood through her growing up years, into marriage and motherhood, and later years with the loss of her father and husband. Each chapter begins with a quotation from one of Thomas Jefferson's many thousands of letters written throughout his career.

Patsy (her childhood nickname) lost her mother at the young age of eight and h
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dorine by: fans of American historical romantic fiction
Rated 4.5 - You'll feel happiness, anger, frustration, joy, sadness and relief for the characters as you follow them through this fascinating, yet often heartrending, time in American history. An amazing piece of fiction based on an enormous amount of historical research, this novel will churn your emotions.

I can't say that this book impressed me in the beginning and I wondered about the hype. I grew to love and respect this piece of historical fiction, but it wasn't always an easy book to read.
BAM The Bibliomaniac
One. Out of many, one. And so it goes for Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph. Sisters, husband, children, but father. Of course her father is none other but Thomas Jefferson, the man known not only for drafting the Declaration of Independence but also fleeing his state of Virginia during the American Revolution, a complete egomaniac. Although a loving creature, she cares for no one like she does her Papa, never begrudging him all she sacrifices for his good name. These sacrifices lead her to deve ...more
Bonnie Shores
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
America's First Daughter is a sweeping drama that gives us a glimpse into the life of Martha "Patsy" Jefferson, eldest child of Thomas Jefferson—a man who, according to his daughter, loved the country he birthed so much that he willed himself to cling to life in order to die on the Fourth of July.

After her mother's death when she was only ten years old, Patsy devoted her life to caring for her father, who never remarried. This book chronicles the sacrifice and cost of her unending devotion to su
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, historical
I don't even want to review this's so good, I'd never do it justice so I'll keep it short. Totally blown away by the writing, not to mention the historical details and obvious research that went into it. As the kids say these days "I am deceased" (aka in total awe). America's First Daughter is Patsy Jefferson, and what a character she is. A fast read despite its 600 pages, and utterly compelling from start to finish.
Apparently not my cuppa... Read the first third; heavily skimmed the rest, reading whole pages here and there. I'm all for historic reimaginings, but something about this particular one just left a bland taste (if you will) in my mind. Patsy as a heroine didn't wow me, and neither of her love interests thrilled me either. Overall, despite my interest in the time period, I felt a great disconnect to this novel. I'm sad that I apparently missed what everyone else loved, but c'est la vie.
Marguerite Gray
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a tremendous undertaking! Dray spins a captivating tale based on the letters of Thomas Jefferson through the live of his daughter Martha Jefferson. I think I learned more history about our country's beginnings from this book than any textbook and years of education. Thank you! This will remain on my shelf forever as reference and entertainment.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Eclectic Readers: America's First Daughter 1 2 Jun 09, 2019 11:48AM  
Play Book Tag: (Trim the TBR) America's First Daughter - 4* 3 18 Mar 01, 2019 04:29AM  
Stockton Lady's L...: February's book 1 3 Feb 07, 2019 08:52AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Underground Railroad
  • The Moon in the Palace (Empress of Bright Moon, #1)
  • Hanging Mary
  • The Secrets of Mary Bowser
  • The Romanov Empress: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna
  • The Rivals of Versailles (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy #2)
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette
  • Monticello: A Daughter and Her Father
  • I, Eliza Hamilton
  • The Turning of Anne Merrick (Anne Merrick, #2)
  • Modern Girls
  • A Song of War: A Novel of Troy
  • Our Own Country (Midwife, #2)
  • The Spymistress
  • The Royal Nanny
  • Dollface: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties
  • The Dutch Girl (Renegades of the American Revolution)
  • Glory Over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House
See similar books…
STEPHANIE DRAY 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. She lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.
“I’ll tell you a secret about being happy, Tom. Sometimes you just have to pretend at it until it becomes real.” 23 likes
“Sons of a revolution fight for liberty. They give blood, flesh, limbs, their very lives. But daughters . . . we sacrifice our eternal souls.” 9 likes
More quotes…