A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt
Written by: Stephanie Marie Thornton
Read by: Elizabeth Wiley
15 Hours and 27 Minutes
PRHA | Imprint: Penguin Audio
Genre: Fiction – Historical –
General Release Date: March 12, 2019
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
“As juicy and enlightening as a page in Meghan Markle’s diary.”—InStyle
“Presidential darling, America’s sweetheart, national rebel: Teddy Roosevelt’s swashbuckling daughter Alice springs to life in this raucous anthem to a remarkable woman.”—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress
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.
Mty biggest take-away from this book; what I think affected me more than anything else, was gaining a new perspective on this other branch of the Roosevelt family — not the more familiar FDR and Eleanor about whom I have read and heard so much ion my life. Teddy Roosevelt was, for me a comic character, a buffoon who had made statements like “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” But this book, mostly about Alice, tells a story more of his family life, his years in the White House, his penchant for exploration and his zest for life.
It also tells the story of his daughter who in her desire to please her father, and keep up with her friends who were coupling up, marries a man who loves her and who she loves, but who is simply the worst husband for a woman like Alice Roosevelt. Reckless in a world where woman were gaining freedom, Alice may have been the first “modern” celebrity; hounded by the press. To be fair, she also perpetrated a public persona. She was very beautiful, and a color was named for her, based on the blue gown she wore for her debut, “Alice Blue.” A song was actually named for the color. https://www.htmlcsscolor.com/hex/E1F3FE
I also learned about the tragedies of her life beginning with her mother dying shortly after her birth, which her father, a guy big on guts, but low on emotional connection to this new child along with the loss of his wife. He placed the child into the hands of his sister, until she remarried. The Roosevelts believed in service and that service led to great achievement, as well as tremendous loss. Alice grew up to be very beautiful, vivacious, home-educated but very smart and politically savvy. She did a lot to assist in politics for her father and then her husband.
The narration is give Alice’s voice: almost British in its formality, accent, and imperiousness. I’ve always thought of it as a Katharine Hepburn Affectation, although it was used by many actors of the period. If you recall Eleanor Roosevelt’s voice, from recordings, it would be very easy to imagine that her cousin would have a similar accent.
The book is pa little sappy, but otherwise well-written, obviously well-researched, and quite fictionalized, with the author imagining Alice’s conversations, her feelings and her sex-life. I liked how she matures through her disastrous marriage and the other tragic losses in her life. Sadly, the mistakes made in her reckless youth reverberate throughout her very long life. Her life was exciting, but like the lives of many celebrities it was not always happy.