“Presidential darling, America’s sweetheart, national rebel: Teddy Roosevelt’s swashbuckling daughter Alice springs to life in this raucous anthem to a remarkable woman.”—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress
A sweeping novel from renowned author Stephanie Marie Thornton...
Alice may be the president's daughter, but she's nobody's darling. As bold as her signature color Alice Blue, the gum-chewing, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing First Daughter discovers that the only way for a woman to stand out in Washington is to make waves--oceans of them. With the canny sophistication of the savviest politician on the Hill, Alice uses her celebrity to her advantage, testing the limits of her power and the seductive thrill of political entanglements.
But Washington, DC is rife with heartaches and betrayals, and when Alice falls hard for a smooth-talking congressman it will take everything this rebel has to emerge triumphant and claim her place as an American icon. As Alice soldiers through the devastation of two world wars and brazens out a cutting feud with her famous Roosevelt cousins, it's no wonder everyone in the capital refers to her as the Other Washington Monument--and Alice intends to outlast them all.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***
Copyright © 2018 Stephanie Marie Thornton
Given the choice, I’d have preferred a sudden heart attack in the Senate audience gallery to this mundane death by surgery.
I squint in vain against the garish hospital lights, the walls a phosphorescent white that blur painfully into the nurses’ sterile uniforms. Perhaps even something as dull as dying warm in my own bed would have sufficed. But the villainies of age continue, and I find myself instead subjected to the injustice of a starched hospital gown and the impending threat of a scalpel.
“Are you comfortable, ma’am?”
I’m about to be drugged and butchered. Of course I’m not comfortable, you moonbrain.
I wave away the nurse’s inane question with a hand so spotted and gnarled it might have belonged to a Pharaonic mummy. Sometimes I scarcely recognize the white-haired biddy I’ve become; I miss the hedonistic hellion who smoked foul-smelling cigarettes on the roof of the White House, feted mustachioed German princes and an iron-fisted Chinese empress, and inspired the rage for the color Alice Blue in the spring of 1902.
“I’m fine,” I lie to the nurse. “After all, I’m about to become Washington’s only topless octogenarian.” My voice trembles with age, and if I admit it, a hefty dose of fear even as my pulse thuds in my ears.
I shouldn’t be afraid. After all, I’ve been through this before, almost fifteen years ago—not to mention all the other painful procedures I’ve undergone over the years—but the cancer returned so now the other breast has to go. I shouldn’t be attached to a lump of sagging flesh, or even life itself now that I’m just an old fossil. But I’ve always drunk greedily from the cup of life, even when it was its most bitter.
At eighty-six years old, I’m not done living.
A warm hand in mine banishes a fraction of my fear. “I’ll be waiting outside, Grammy.” Joanna’s pale brown hair is loose around her face; she looks so like me when I was her age. “I’d sit with you in the operating room if they’d let me.”
I pat her hand. “I know you would, darling,” I say as the nurse gives the intravenous needle an efficient tap and swabs the inside of my elbow with a cool pad of alcohol. “And if this is the end . . .”
“I’ll have you buried wearing your Cuban pearls, in the plot you picked out right next to her. I swear it.” Joanna kisses me on the forehead as the needle pricks the thin flesh of my arm. “But that’s not going to happen. Not today.”
“If you say so.”
I recall as if through a haze receiving those pearls before my wedding day, but then my mind tilts drunkenly as the nurse wheels me into surgery. I think of my father, barrel-chested and booming-voiced even after being shot by a would-be assassin, brandishing the bleeding, undressed bullet wound to a worshipful crowd. My earliest memory pushes its way in, of trying to clamber onto his lap, me frocked in a pink dress while he still wore leather chaps that smelled of the dusty Dakota Badlands. Train whistles shrieked and engines roared as he’d brushed me off and handed me back to my aunt.
“I can’t,” he’d said even as I reached up empty arms for him. “She has her eyes . . . I just can’t.”
Oh, Father . . .
I’ve seen sixteen presidents come and go—including my father with his spectacled face chiseled on Mount Rushmore, and my crowd-pleasing, fedora-toting cousin Franklin. Yet, they’re all gone and I’m still here, the other Washington Monument.
Where on earth did I even get that name? I scowl, unable to jar loose which journalist dubbed me with the title. I suppose it doesn’t matter now.
The terror of the surgical theater brings me back to reality, with its glaring lights and swarm of white-garbed physicians. “We’re going to start your anesthesia in a moment, ma’am,” one says to me. “Can you count backward, starting from ten?”
I scoff, for I won’t waste my final moments with counting numbers. I count memories instead, with crystal clarity: burying a bad little idol of Nellie Taft in the White House gardens, calling President Harding a decaying emperor, and comparing cousin Franklin to Hitler. (Not my finest moment, that.)
Merry hell, but my tongue has gotten me into trouble.
Perhaps I might have swallowed some of the things I said and protected feelings here and there, but it’s too late to undo things. And as the world begins to blur with a heady mix of sedative and memories, I muse that at least if I die on the operating table in this goddamned hospital, I’ll never regret grabbing life by the throat and refusing to let go, despite the mistakes I’ve made.
But then, if you live as long as I have, you’re bound to make a few mistakes here and there. They say that it’s the mistakes that make life more interesting.
If that’s the case, then I’ve led the world’s most interesting life . . .
I can hardly recollect a time when I was not
aware of politics and politicians.
Adirondack Mountains, New York
I peered through the rain coursing down the cabin’s front window and frowned at the frantic Adirondacks park ranger who rapped hard on our door, water dripping from his hat onto his drab uniform that was already drenched. “Mr. Roosevelt!” he hollered, his bushy brows drawn together like late-season caterpillars. “Mr. Theodore Roosevelt!”
Edith, my stepmother, hadn’t finished unpacking her bags from an overnight campout and swung open the door mid-bang, stopping the ranger with his meaty fist still raised. “I’m afraid the vice president isn’t here,” Mother informed him in her most mollifying voice, smoothing back her damp hair even as I shoved deep my jealousy at the mud that stained her skirt’s hem and the fragrance of a jolly campfire that still clung to her.
Mother doesn’t even like camping. Whereas I . . .
I made a face behind her back before resuming the task of adjusting my hairpins in the hall’s tiny mirror, expertly stabbing them into the coiled plait of brown hair twisted atop my head while imagining the party I planned to attend tonight, where I might happily forget there were such things as parents, presidents, or politics. I’d turn eighteen this February and had been experimenting with various hairstyles for my debut ball, none of which met my approval considering that Mother refused to buy me the pearl combs I craved for my pompadour. Too expensive, she claimed, forgetting that a girl comes out only once, and thus deserves the most lavish accessories that money can buy.
As always, I tried not to let it bother me that all my younger half siblings were granted whatever pets and toys they set their hearts on, further evidence that I would forever be other when it came to our family. I supposed I could always use my inheritance from my mother if I couldn’t live without the hair combs.
“Mr. Roosevelt isn’t here?” the ranger parroted back to Mother, sweeping off his unfortunate hat to wring it in his hands, so I doubted whether the waterlogged leather would ever recover. “Where is he?”
Archie and Quentin’s cowboy rodeo down the hallway involved much whooping and hollering, interspersed with an angry crowing; my brothers had recently adopted a foul-tempered, one-legged rooster that enjoyed chasing the younger children. “Alice?” Mother asked suggestively, inclining her head toward the children’s rooms, but I pretended not to notice.
“My father is hiking Mount Marcy today,” I answered for her, tossing myself into a leather-slung chair and plucking a red apple from the bowl on the sideboard. Its crisp taste exploded in my mouth in a burst of autumn as I idly kicked the flounced hem of my dress, much to my stepmother’s horror. I’d watched Father depart at yesterday’s sunrise with her, Archie, and my little sister Ethel for an overnight trip to Lake Colden and had hoped to join them, even though they’d planned to turn around early to allow Father to hike Mount Marcy in peace today.
“Can I come too?” I’d asked, but my father had only shaken his head, a rare shaft of sunlight glinting off his spectacles, his gaze not on me but on the craggy mountain in the distance.
“You won’t be able to keep up, Sissy.”
The truth hurt, for despite being fully recovered, I was still wobbly on uneven ground after spending years in metal leg braces (more like medieval torture devices) to correct a mild bout of childhood polio. He saw my disappointment and sighed. “Perhaps next time.”
That’s what he always said, but there was never a next time.
When I was six years old, I’d been chastised for trying to walk like Father, mimicking his mix of cowboy-boxer swagger that Mother deemed entirely unladylike. At ten, I’d been reprimanded for trying to talk like him, peppering dee-lighted into every other sentence and grinning in a way no gently bred girl ever should. Now, at seventeen, I’d have hiked to Canada barefoot if it meant spending an afternoon with just him and me.
Instead, it’s the same as always, any excuse so my own father doesn’t have to spend time with me.
For no matter how Father romped and played with his five other children—Mother’s children—I was always the child who carried his first wife’s name and blue-gray eyes.
And nothing I did would ever make up for that crime.
“I’ll have to ride to find him,” the ranger said, wiping the rain from his face before stuffing his mangled hat back onto his head.
“Perhaps you could leave a message?” Mother motioned for one of the maids to check on the children. A real humdinger of a fight seemed to be breaking out between Archie and the rooster.
“I’m afraid not, Mrs. Roosevelt,” he said. “For it pertains to President McKinley.”
His words threw a sudden chill into the air. Only a week ago, the entire nation had been stunned when an anarchist shot President McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. The wound was a nasty affair—as I suppose it always is when a man is shot twice in the abdomen at point-blank range—but McKinley seemed to improve after a gynecologist found on the fairgrounds performed emergency surgery to remove the first bullet. The president rallied so much that my father, America’s vice president, had insisted that we keep our scheduled trip here in the Adirondacks.
A little chaos was no match for my father’s well-laid plans, not when there were mountains to conquer, rivers to ford, and wild game to shoot. Plus, Father had no desire to seem as if he were hovering over the president, waiting for him to die even as the newspapers and a constant stream of telegrams reported that McKinley had been growing sicker over the past days. Mother’s fingers fluttered to her mouth, as if to trap the impertinent question on her lips.
I, however, had no such qualms. Perhaps it seemed callous, as if I had no pity for the dying McKinley, and I did feel a pang of grief for him, but I could feel the surge of history in the making, beating in my blood and carrying me with it.
“Is the president dead?” My feet were firmly on the floor as I leaned forward in my chair, all thoughts of tonight’s party forgotten as Mother came to stand beside me.
The ranger shook his head in a manner almost reverential.
“Not dead,” he answered. “Dying of blood poisoning. They say he won’t last the night.”
Mother clutched my hand as the ranger tipped his hat to us and mounted his sorrel horse, kicking the animal’s ribs and tearing off in the direction of Mount Marcy, to fetch my father back to Buffalo in case he suddenly became the most important man in America.
“Lord help us.” Mother crushed my palm as if a handful of my bone fragments would give her strength. I extricated myself and left her in the hall.
“What’s happening, Sissy?” My little sister Ethel poked her head out of the room we shared, her blond hair parted after a fresh bath following her camping trip and combed to gleaming perfection around her ten-year-old face. Skip, our feisty rat terrier, yipped at my feet, but for once I ignored him.
“Father’s going to be president,” I said slowly, staring out the window as my mind raced ahead to what this meant for us. I’d always resented the fact that Father had been shoved unwillingly into the token position that was the vice presidency, but had never really considered that he might one day be president.
That I might be the president’s daughter.
President McKinley died at two fifteen the following morning, plunging America into a shocked grief and rousing us remaining Roosevelts from our sleepless beds to begin the long trek by buckboard and train to the nation’s capital.
I gaped when the carriage finally turned onto Pennsylvania Avenue and allowed me my first glimpse of the Executive Mansion’s stately white pillars, its curved portico shrouded in deep autumn shadows, and the dark velvet curtains in all the windows drawn as if the entire building was asleep and waiting for us.
“Which room do you think will be ours?” Ethel murmured from beside me, but I didn’t answer, struck speechless for perhaps the first time in my life.
This was our new home.
My father was now president of the United States of America.
And that meant I was now First Daughter.
Reading Group Guide
Stephanie Marie Thornton
Reading Group Questions
1. In a country without royalty, the press dubbed Alice Roosevelt with the title Princess Alice. In what ways did she use the press to her advantage, and how did this sometimes backfire?
2. As portrayed in the novel, how would you describe Alice’s relationship with her father? Was Roosevelt a good father? Did he change as a father over the course of the novel? Was Alice a good daughter?
3. Alice struggles with forming lasting female friendships throughout American Princess. Her falling-out with Maggie Cassini happens early, and she is good friends with Cissy Patterson before they fall out with each other later. How do Alice’s friendships with these two, along with those of Ruth Hanna McCormick, Mary Borah, and Eleanor Roosevelt, transform over the years?
4. Throughout her early years, and even beyond, Alice craves attention and will go to great lengths to get it, most especially from her father, but also from her friends, Nick Longworth, and even the press. Yet there are some societal rules even she isn’t willing to break. How does this juxtaposition affect her relationship with Nick throughout their years together?
5. What did you think of Alice’s choice to marry Nick? Why did she make that decision? What viable alternatives did she have?
6. Cissy’s marriage to Count Gizycki serves as a warning to Alice throughout the story, and both women engage in affairs after their own marriages fall apart. How was divorce looked upon in those days, and how did Alice’s views differ from Cissy’s?
7. Alice is constantly at odds with her parents during her teenaged years, yet she also struggles as a parent herself after Paulina is born. What lessons did she learn from her parents, and what mistakes did she make? How did she learn from those mistakes after she takes custody of Joanna?
8. “Blackbirds rarely sit behind the shoulder of one whose pace is fast enough.” Over the course of her long life, Alice experiences many terrible losses. How did her father’s attitude toward the loss of her mother—Alice Lee—affect her own ability to grieve? In your opinion, is this a good way to deal with loss?
9. Alice was famous for her caustic wit, and her embroidered couch pillow—If you can’t say something good about someone sit right here by me—is well-known. When was that wit put to good use? Are there times when Alice should have curbed her tongue?
10. Alice Roosevelt Longworth lived a very full ninety-six years, from 1884 to 1980, to become the other Washington Monument. What most surprised you about her very long life? What did you learn about her that you didn’t know before?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
With each historical fiction I read I find myself looking for more. Stephanie Thornton has pulled me deeper into the historical world and I am loving all that I am learning about our history. Alice Roosevelt is someone who I knew very little about but I now find myself looking her up online and learning more about her. I love how even though the world frowned on Alice’s way of life. She lived life to the fullest and didn’t really worry about what the rest of the world would think. She used her knowledge of politics to further her causes and to make political pushes for a better world. Her determination and ability to hold her own in almost any situation made her a force to be reckoned with both personally and politically. American Princess tells the story of Alice but it also gives us a glimpse into life during the Roosevelt presidency and the world during that time. I liked that it wasn’t just set in the United States but also throughout the rest of the world bringing to the book a broader storyline. I learned so much about the world, the United States, and the presidency.
Alice Roosevelt was an extraordinary woman who had an untold influence on the history of our country. As a president’s daughter, another president’s (and first lady’s) cousin, the wife of a Speaker of the House and hostess of tony weekly salons, she seemed to be the definition of a Washington insider for over six decades. However, Alice felt like an outsider for as long as she could remember. American Princess sweeps the reader though the 20th century with Alice near the center of the action. Her adventures, scandals, friendships and romantic entanglements all tie back to her complicated relationship with her famous father. For me, the novel was emotionally draining. Alice endured so much heartache and the author made it easy to share in her pain. I both cheered for Alice and I cringed at her choices but ultimately I shed tears of happiness for how her story ends.
A pleasing Historical Fiction portraying Alice Roosevelt, I knew nothing of her and reading this book was like finding a new friend which I share lots of similar stories of success and great mistakes and adventure with. There is unique and profoundly touching means in Stephanie Thornton’s portrayal of Alice Roosevelt and her love hate relationship with Eleonore Roosevelt. The story is so detailed as if Alice has written her memoir. And my favorite part was when her father said:” Don’t ask questions. Just accept the gist”
What better time to read this novel than now, during Women’s History Month? I’m a big historical fiction enthusiast, and I was so excited when I saw there was a novel about Alice Roosevelt, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt coming out. Teddy Roosevelt once infamously said “I can do one of two things. I can be President of the United States or I can control Alice Roosevelt. I cannot possibly do both.” Alice was Theodore’s eldest child and his only child from his first wife, who died shortly after Alice’s birth. Grief-stricken, he sent Alice, whose face reminded him too much of her mother’s, away to live with an aunt for a few years. American Princess follows Alice from this tough beginning to the end of her long life. Thornton explains in the author’s note that she has tried to draw from sources such as Alice’s journal entries as much as possible, and I think she has done remarkable job of bringing Alice to life on the page. Alice was a magnet for scandal but an absolute delight to read about. She bristled at the constraints placed on her due to her status in society as well as her gender, and felt no qualms about scandalizing high society ladies by whipping out a cigarette or cutting her wedding cake with a sword from a nearby military aide. (True story.) But beneath all the swagger there is a vulnerable interior, which Thornton teases out in this novel. While they were close at the time of his death, Alice and her father struggled for years with a stilted, uncomfortable relationship. Thornton explores some of the romances of Alice’s life, but it was watching her come to terms with the alienation from her father at a young age and develop and loving relationship with him that was truly the highlight of the novel. When writing about a real figure’s life, it can be a struggle to make the story fit a nice narrative flow, but I felt that Thornton managed it very well here. American Princess is a must-read for avid fans of historical fiction featuring interesting and strong female characters! My thanks to Berkley Books for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher.
Ms. Thornton's penchant for historical detail, her scrupulous research of the characters, and her remarkable ability to bring them together superbly relate the story of Alice Roosevelt Longworth, America's Princess. As a teenager in the White House and then as a married young woman, Alice's rebellious and mischievous escapades were well chronicled by an adoring press for an adoring public. Marrying Nick Longworth, a Congressman from Ohio who later became Speaker of the House, did not effect the smoothing of the edges that her father the President would have wished. She did, however, grow from envying those close to her father to becoming his staunch ally and unofficial political aide. Alice's relationship with her father was one of yearning for attention and affection that became one of father-daughter friendship and mutual respect. Through specific conversations with the many people in Alice's life, we come to know these people and their profound effects on her. Especially poignant is her connection to her father, Theodore Roosevelt. The portrait drawn of him for us through her eyes is first-hand, revealing and fascinating. In her youth, Alice was known as America's Princess. In maturity, she was known as Washington's other Monument, wielding power and influence in that town all her long life. It is a complete story, from beginning to end shedding light on one of America's most notable, enduring, and endearing countrymen (a term she would have no objection to, woman though she was!). Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher. I highly recommend.
The feistiness of Alice Roosevelt was evident from the very first page of this magnificently written novel. I wanted to know more about her and hear all of her exciting stories and memories. The times in which she lived added to my fascination as I read on. She was a force to be reckoned with every step of the way, and Thornton was spot on with every thought and feeling. I had to stifle my laughter more than once. Alice's spunk was brilliantly blended with her vulnerabilities and need to be loved. The realness of her definitely helped to pull me into the story even more and had me emotionally invested in everything that was happening. It was very powerful. As she grew older and life appeared to shift from happy-go-lucky to being more on edge for loss, I ached for her and all of the traumas that she had to endure. And yet she did so with gusto and a thirst for life. Her uncanny ability to pick herself up and dust herself off over the years and situations was inspiring. This was truly a brilliant novel about an incredible woman from even more incredible times. All that she saw, conquered, and had the opportunity and strength to do was perfectly portayed in this novel. I am also still in awe of everyone that she had the chance to meet and on whom she worked her charms. I absolutely cannot wait for Thornton's next book, and I hope that Alice is able to make an appearance in it as well. I haven't gotten my fill of her wild ways just yet.
Lovely Read! Thank you to Penguin Random House and the author for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. American Princess is a novel based on the life of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt. Before reading, I did a little research, and for her era, Alice was a bit on the scandalous side. Born to Alice Hathaway Lee and Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, Alice was an only child, and her mother passed just 2 days after giving birth. Her father was so distraught, he gave little Alice to his sister to raise and he didn't come back into her life until a couple of years later. Teddy ended up marrying again, and he had 5 more children. As Alice grew up, she started to become rebellious. She smoked, drank, and stayed out late partying. She eventually became engaged to Nicholas Longworth who was on the other end of the political spectrum. During their marriage, they both carried on affairs, and she ended up becoming pregnant with another man's baby. Told from Alice's POV over the span of her lifetime, this book was an excellent read and I enjoyed learning more about Alice Roosevelt!
The first daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth lived in and was married in the White House, was married to the Speaker of the House, the mistress to a senator, and referred to as the Other Washington Monument. She knew Presidents Taft, Harding, and Woodrow Wilson, was a cousin to Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, met Richard Nixon and Jack, Jackie and Bobby Kennedy and was introduced to Queen Elizabeth at the White House. She was a darling of the newspapers who chronicled her every misstep. She lived through The Spanish American War, World War I and World War II, the Vietnam conflict and saw the change from horse drawn carriages to automobiles. And she survived a philandering husband and the suicide of her only daughter. This is a strong and fascinating woman. I really liked Alice. Stephanie Thornton does a great job of bringing her character with her flaws and strengths to life. For anyone interested in US History or independent women this is a must read and one to be read again and again!
I was excited to read American Princess because Alice Roosevelt was not a historical figure I knew much about. I absolutely loved learning about this time period and seeing the world through Alice’s eyes, especially as she rolled up on the DC scene as a young woman looking to make waves. A beautiful story told over 96 years with enjoyable detail that left you rooting for Alice the whole way. Despite being more than 400 pages I read this in two days because I enjoyed her fearless spirit in pursuit of supporting her family, advocating for herself, and following her heart. The writing kept me turning the pages and left me sad to close the book when I reached the last page. I'm realizing how much I love realistic historical fiction, thanks to some recent titles, as well as American Princess. Can't wait to recommend this to my friends! Thank you to Berkley for letting me preview this read.
Alice Roosevelt, the first daughter of President Teddy Roosevelt, describes her story as a “precious lifetime of memories, mistakes, and triumphs…valiantly and strenuously lived.” Alice’s words are an apt description for this vivacious, saucy, iconoclastic, intelligent, and romantic woman who became as famous as her father. Alice’s childhood was probably what we called normal but was filled with sadness as her biological mother had died a few days after her birth and the Roosevelt family were not known for expressing effusive feelings. All Alice wanted was her father and stepmother’s love and approval which never seemed to appear. Later, Alice would realize why. Teddy Roosevelt again appears as a man who loved living life on the edge (like his daughter) and never sat still. Thoroughly entrenched in the domestic and foreign policies and strategies of his time, he obtains the love of Americans and becomes their President, taking up their causes and justice with fierce energy and determination. Alice, however, felt “provincial” and even compares herself to her cousin, Eleanor; a sense of rivalry between the cousins lasts for years. Eleanor is depicted not only as a social justice reformer but also as someone whose political actions had irrevocably negative results. Every page take the reader through the notable moments of American history, including Alice’s role in facilitating a peace treat between Russia and Japan, coping with WWI, the Depression, WWII and the highlights ranging up to 1970. In her teens and twenties, Alice relishes breaking rules and appalling proper society with her friends Cissy and Maggie, also known as the “Three Graces” but whom Alice called the “Three Hoydens.” A trip overseas to Asia becomes one of the most memorable events of her life, including a remarkable audience with Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi, who gave Alice her beloved dog, Manchu. Her relationship with husband Nick Longthorne is deftly presented with its ups and downs, no small wonder when one realizes what kind of family Nick married into. Later, secret romances seem to rule their lives, but pain will eventually make this dynamic couple realize that consequences are not necessarily short-term. American Princess… is superb, exciting, and skillfully crafted historical fiction that will remain one of the most comprehensive fictional biographies of the Roosevelt family. This reviewer was delighted to meet Alice and will never forget her unique, delightful story. Enjoy a fabulous read!
Historical Fiction is becoming a popular on demand topic for our patrons at the library and the Roosevelts are one of the most famous families in America. I also love a rebellious attitude that Alice had throughout the book in her childhood and as she got older becoming more heavily involved with politics. Knowing potential background stories of family members of famous presidents can become very interesting and is sure to spark the interest of our patrons and members of our library community as well. We will consider adding this title to our Historical Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
Stephanie Marie Thornton’s portrayal of the life of Alice Roosevelt Longworth is the book I’ve be waiting for. With the promotion of her father Teddy to President following the assassination of William McKinley, Alice Roosevelt is unleashed on the American public. She is rebellious, bold and unconventional. Refusing to be kept down by the expectations of society for women of her time, Alice forges a life for herself that takes her far beyond just the first daughter. From tragedy to triumph, Alice Roosevelt Longworth becomes a fixture in Washington D. C. society and politics. She was known as the “Other Washington Monument”. This is a splendidly-researched novel, giving the reader an engrossing story and an immersion into the lives of Alice and the other Roosevelts that make up our American history. A must read for historical fiction fans as well as fans of presidential history and the story of the Roosevelt dynasty. Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for the E-ARC.
4.5 stars This historical fiction novel about Alice Roosevelt was a real treat! I didn't know much about her prior to reading so quite a few things about her life surprised me. Definitely a fascinating woman. Alice Roosevelt is the oldest child of President Teddy Roosevelt and even in a town like Washington D.C. she manages to stand out. She marches to the beat of her own drummer and America can't help but want to follow her every move. She ends up falling for a playboy congressman, goes to battle with her political cousins, and deals with more than one family tragedy. Through the good times and the bad, she does things her way. The book covers Alice's life although not quite as much focus is given to her early childhood and the pre- White House years. The author inserted many historical facts throughout the book although she admits in the Author's Note a few minor things were made up or altered for storyline purposes. I have to say I was really surprised at the scandalous life Alice led. Even by today's standards there were some definite soap opera like things going on. She could come across as shallow at times but the fact she didn't always conform to society's standards was really an endearing quality. Loved reading this one and can't wait to seek out some nonfiction books about her life. Definitely check this one out if you are a fan of biographical historical fiction. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
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