Sally Hemings: a novel

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Viking Press, Jun 1, 1979 - Fiction - 348 pages
4 Reviews
WINNER OF THE KAFKA PRIZE FOR BEST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN WOMAN "One of the great American stories . . . . Gives new luster to the words 'historical novel' . . . Vastly enjoyable." -- The New York Times "Exquisitely crafted . . . . A sensitive life study of a truly exceptional woman: complex, courageous, irresistibly attractive, . . . elegantly self-possessed." -- Cosmopolitan One of the greatest love stories in Amercian history is also one of the least known -- and most controversial. Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence, had a mistress for thirty-eight years, whom he loved and lived with until he died -- the beautiful and elusive quadroon slave, Sally Hemings. In this brilliant novel, spanning two continents, sixty years, and seven presidencies, Barbara Chase-Riboud re-creates a love story based on the documents and the evidence of the day, but gives free rein to the novelist's imagination. Incredibly written and beautifully evoked, Barbara Chase-Riboud explores the complex blend of love and hate, tenderness and cruelty, freedom and bondage, that made the lifelong liaison between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson one of the most poignant, tragic, and unforgettable chapters in the history of the races, and of the sexes, in America.

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User Review  - aine.fin - LibraryThing

A harrowing read. Beautifully crafted but difficult and frustrating at times - I was relieved to finish. Jefferson was too unlikeable. I wasn't sure what the point of the census taker story line was ... Read full review

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User Review  - Lisa.Johnson.James - LibraryThing

I have always been interested in Jefferson as a person, not as much as a President, although that may sound strange. He was conflicted, as evidenced in his stand on slavery, being against it in ... Read full review

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