Set in Jamaica, this novel features several strong female characters including Thandi, a smart, beautiful, young girl whose older sister and mother have pinned their hopes on for getting them out of the slums that they live in. Thandi is set to go to college and become a high-paying doctor, but she is obsessed with becoming lighter skinned and longs to be an artist. Her older sister Margot has been paying for Thandi’s education, by working at the local hotel and by selling her body to men. Margot juggles her family obligations with her own yearnings to be in a relationship with the village outcast, an out lesbian woman who isn’t accepted by the people she grew up with. Margot and Thandi’s mother, Dolores, only wants what is best for her two daughters and will do anything to escape the life they are stuck in. Here Comes the Sun was an excellent page turner about dreams, ambitions, and the lengths that people will go to in order to achieve them. The dialogue is written in Jamaican dialect (Patois) which I had to get used to, but ultimately the story is what kept me going. (Submitted by Alan)
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America’s First Daughter is a fine specimen of historical fiction genre: superbly researched historic facts, artfully woven together events and people, and seamless delivery of the story. From the first page to the last, you can hear the clear and powerful voice of Martha (Patsy) Jefferson, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the United States of America and the author of The Declaration of Independence. It was hard to believe that the book is written by two authors: Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. Their literary symbiosis created a stunningly good book that has one voice, one story, and a sense of wholeness. Bravo!
The novel focuses primarily on Patsy Jefferson, yet there is naturally much attention and exposure given to Thomas Jefferson as well. There are plenty of moments where you may find yourself struggling to solve, alongside with characters, the many philosophical, psychological, and moral issues that come up in life. You will reflect on what it is really like to be a president’s daughter.
From Parisian balls to dish scrubbing, from being admired by the finest men in high class society to ending up with a drunkard husband, from having a loving mother and sisters to losing them, from having a role-model of a father to worrying sick about her father’s reputation, Patsy Jefferson, like a Statue of Liberty that came alive, with stone strong determination overcomes all obstacles and gracefully contributes another chapter to the history of America and its people. (Submitted by Mariya)
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