I have read all of Stephanie Thornton’s books. She’s a wonderful writer that singles out strong female characters in history and writes their stories. I love her novels and was so excited to see that she was coming out with a new book.
If I am being 100% honest here, I was a little on the fence about reading this one. Thornton has written about Empress Theodora, the wives of Genghis Kahn, Hatshepsut and even Alexander the Great’s wife. These are strong women in the ancient world, so when I saw that she was writing a book about Alice Roosevelt I felt a little disappointed.
I was hoping for a novel on Boudicca or something, but instead it was sounding like she was going to abandon the ancient world and move into something more mainstream like a President’s daughter. But I have faith in her writing and storytelling so while I was worried she would be abandoning the ancient world, I was also excited to see how this novel would be different than her others.
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 (summary from Goodreads).
This book was nothing to shake a stick at. While it wasn’t the book that I was hoping for, it was still an interesting and engaging read. Thornton has a wonderful gift when it comes to telling stories about interesting women in history. I know next to nothing about Alice Roosevelt so getting to know her even in a fictionalized way, was fun.
The amount of historical research she did was commendable and shines in this novel. She always does such amazing research with all of her books and I am never disappointed in that aspect, so if you are a fan of historical fiction, then this book if definitely for you! The author used Alice’s own letters and scandals throughout this book with gave it authenticity. While there obviously are historical details in this book, it isn’t flooded with too many dry historical facts. It moved at a crisp pace and balanced history with story flawlessly.
Alice herself was such a spitfire. So independent and rebellious, that you couldn’t help but admire her spirit and feel her pains and triumphs acutely. While I loved this book on a number of levels, there were things that I found were a little confusing, but mostly in regards to how the story was organized. At the beginning of the book it was very clear how old Alice was and what time we were in, but then later on it wasn’t as clear how old she was and I felt confused. If an author is going to do that then they need to carry it all the way through in my opinion–for continuity. Beyond that though this was an outstanding book worthy of 4.5 stars! I can’t wait to see which woman Thornton features next!