Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America by Catherine Kerrison

Monticello 2010-10-29

Read for the March theme (Non-Fiction) of the 2019 ONTD Reading Challenge | Jefferson’s Daughters on Goodreads

History was always my worst subject and while I’m comfortable being ignorant some aspects, like super specific details of wars or dates of…anything, I don’t want to be an idiot. For some reason, and I’m not complaining because it was interesting as hell, a lot of my education – from what I can remember – was about the Egyptians and the Aztecs. So, I am not well-versed in American history at all. This book was me trying.

I downloaded this on a work trip and when I needed something to relax with, this was a terrible pick. It was really interesting and I ended up learning a lot about the education of French girls and the construction of Monticello, but it wasn’t a light, breezy read. This was my own bad decision, which was why it took me until the end of April to finish. 

Unfortunately, there was less than I hoped for about Jefferson’s black daughter, through no fault of the author. It’s clear she did a lot of research and gave several educated guesses about what happened to her, but I wish I had known how little was known going in. But of course I didn’t, because history slides right off my brain! Having personal histories makes it a little easier for me to digest and I definitely feel like I absorbed some actual knowledge.

Recommend? If you’re interested in knowing what life was like for different classes of women in this time period, for sure. You need to know nothing going in, which was really helpful.