Monday, July 31, 2017

Monticello - A Novel of a Daughter and Her Father - Sally Cabot Gunning ~ Impressive ~

A birthday present book that I bumped ahead of my ARC I was supposed to be reading for two days. I thought this book was awesome as was a previous book by Sally Cabot, "Benjamin Franklin's Bastard" - great fiction based on accurate and known facts.

Not an expose as such,  but letters between Martha and some of her peers suggest that she had a love interest in William Short a protégé of Thomas Jefferson. If that was not the case then they were very close lifelong friends. Martha's life with Thomas Randolph was not easy although  they had twelve children together, they lived apart for  the last years of Randolph's life.

The author allowed Martha as the main character of this work to rationalize away, for many years her father's relationship with Sally Hemings. She was aware that it was likely that  Sally Hemings was her mother's half sibling.

When she went to Washington to act as her father's "First Lady" for a short time she was confronted with  associates who queried her about her father's liaison with Sally Hemings. Upon returning to Monticello she decided that in the South such things were not talked about. 

One time she came upon her father and Sally in her father's room at night, a fact that made clear to her that at least one child  belonged to her father. The contents of her father's will also made that clear but although she discussed the will with her father they did not discuss what his actual relationship was to the Hemings children.

After her father's  death she relocated herself away from Thomas Randolph but apparently was at his deathbed when he passed away. I appreciate the allusion that she may have resumed a relationship with William Short.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

No comments:

Post a Comment