Monday, October 31, 2016

Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I love historical fiction and I am interested in the lives of enslaved people, so I was excited to finally read this story about Thomas Jefferson's lesser-known children. After Jefferson's wife died at a young age, he never remarried, but he did have a lifelong relationship with Sally Hemings, a slave who was also his wife's half-sister and who was as young as his own daughters. Some facts are known about Sally and her four children, but the author had to imagine many of the details of their story because no one knows how they really felt and acted and where they ended up in their lives. The story was told from the point of view of three different slaves and it tells of their confusion and concerns. While the weren't subjected to whippings and backbreaking labor, they did live in fear of their loved ones being sold away from them. They also faced the heartbreaking reality that some of them would be freed and go off to live as white people, while others would not have that freedom. I was engrossed in the stories of Beverly, Maddy, and Peter. This book would be a great read for students studying the founding of the United States and absolutely fascinating for anyone who is planning to visit Jefferson's home at Montecello.

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