American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Marie Thornton
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Genres: Biography, Historical Fiction
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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.
I recently saw a meme describing Alice Roosevelt online, which claimed, among other things that, “She smoked cigarettes in public, chewed gum, placed bets with bookies, rode in cars with men, stayed out late partying and kept a pet snake named Emily Spinach, which she often wore wrapped around one arm and took to parties.” It piqued my curiosity about her. I was hoping to read her memoir, Crowded Hours, but the only used copies I could find were outrageously expensive. I settled for this historical fiction novel based on her long life as “the other Washington monument”.
From all accounts, Alice was a formidable woman with a rapier wit and no fear of turning her barbed tongue on anyone – family, friend or foe. That was showcased well here, though I do wish some of it had been more show instead of tell. Emily Spinach, for example, the garter snake she used to carry in her handbag was mentioned in passing. I wish we’d seen more of that. Still, her life was a fascinating one. This novel details her childhood, her tumultuous relationship with her father and step-mother Eleonor, as well as her marriage and exploits well into adulthood to the end of her life. I know there were some creative liberties taken, but I found her life fascinating.
I enjoyed this novel quite a bit and plan to read her biography soon.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5