Summary and book reviews of American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton

American Princess

A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt

by Stephanie Marie Thornton

American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton X
American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton
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    Mar 2019, 448 pages

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Book Summary

"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

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.

Prologue

Washington, DC

1970

Given the choice, I'd have preferred a sudden heart attack in the Senate audience gallery to this mundane death by surgery.

I squint in vain against the garish hospital lights, the walls a phosphorescent white that blur painfully into the nurses' sterile uniforms. Perhaps even something as dull as dying warm in my own bed would have sufficed. But the villainies of age continue, and I find myself instead subjected to the injustice of a starched hospital gown and the impending threat of a scalpel.

"Are you comfortable, ma'am?"

I'm about to be drugged and butchered. Of course I'm not comfortable, you moonbrain.

I wave away the nurse's inane question with a hand so spotted and gnarled it might have belonged to a Pharaonic mummy. Sometimes I scarcely recognize the white-haired biddy I've become; I miss the hedonistic hellion who smoked foul-smelling cigarettes on the roof of the White House, feted mustachioed German princes and an iron-fisted Chinese ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. In a country without royalty, the press dubbed Alice Roosevelt with the title Princess Alice. In what ways did she use the press to her advantage, and how did this sometimes backfire?
  2. As portrayed in the novel, how would you describe Alice's relationship with her father? Was Roosevelt a good father? Did he change as a father over the course of the novel? Was Alice a good daughter?
  3. Alice struggles with forming lasting female friendships throughout American Princess. Her falling-out with Maggie Cassini happens early, and she is good friends with Cissy Patterson before they fall out with each other later. How do Alice's friendships with these two, along with those of Ruth Hanna McCormick, Mary Borah, and Eleanor Roosevelt, transform over ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Prior to reading The American Princess, I had just a little knowledge about Alice Roosevelt. After reading this fascinating book, I felt that I had to learn more about her (Ariel F). What's remarkable here is how Thornton so thoroughly adopts Alice's inimitable voice so that we can't help but be swept up in the tide of history that is most singularly Alice's (Rory A).   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

Full Review Members Only (743 words).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The wild, wonderful, outsize personality of presidential daughter Alice Roosevelt is on full and fantastic display in this lightly fictionalized take on her unapologetic, unconventional life.

Booklist
An absorbing portrait of a woman who lived life on her own terms.

Library Journal
Readers will be enthralled by Alice’s wit and adventures…as Thornton expertly weaves the events of her life.

Author Blurb Laura Kamoie, New York Times bestselling coauthor of America's First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton
Epic in scope and rich in immersive detail, American Princess is a compelling and poignant tribute to one of America's most colorful, unconventional, and trend-setting women. Highly recommended read!

Author Blurb Chanel Cleeton, author of Next Year in Havana
A fascinating account of the life of the daring and adventurous Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Brimming with political history, scandal, and insight into some of America's most influential figures, American Princess is a must-read for historical fiction fans.

Author Blurb Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling coauthor of America's First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton
Thornton skillfully brings to life the incomparable and unapologetic Alice Roosevelt, whose scandalous life was at the center of American politics for nearly a century. Fast-paced and written with verve and sass, this book is a treat and a treasure for history lovers. Fabulous!

Author Blurb Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of The Edge of Lost
Skillfully woven and impeccably researched, American Princess brims with scandals, secrets, and the complexities of love in all of its wondrous, maddening forms. A vividly imagined portrait that mesmerized me from the first page to the last.

Author Blurb Renée Rosen, bestselling author of Windy City Blues
Witty and poignant, chock full of secrets and scandals and richly researched, American Princess has everything you could want in historical fiction.

Author Blurb Alix Rickloff, author of The Way to London
Stephanie Thornton's sparkling new novel captivates from page one. This intimate portrait of Alice Roosevelt follows America's favorite first daughter from wild young debutante to Washington DC grand dame and delights every step of the way.

Author Blurb Jeanne Mackin, author of The Beautiful American
I loved reading about how this no-holds-barred woman took the country, the world by storm.  Her life spans many of the important events and people of the twentieth century, from World War I to the assassination of J.F. Kennedy. A completely satisfying, mesmerizing, read.

Author Blurb Heather Webb, international bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of WWI
With graceful prose, Thornton paints a lively portrait of the indomitable Alice Roosevelt—socialite, writer, and president’s daughter…. A rich and compelling read, American Princess is one I won’t soon forget.

Author Blurb Weina Dai Randel, author of The Moon in the Palace, 2017 RWA RITA® Award Winner
I fell in love with Alice Roosevelt's voice…. Thornton has successfully created an endearing, unforgettable female figure.… American Princess, is a powerful, mesmerizing historical novel, destined to be shelved as a classic!

Reader Reviews

Ariel F. (Madison, WI)

American Princess - Alice Roosevelt Longworth
This historical fiction was a joy to read. I found American Princess to be both educational and interesting. Prior to reading the book, I had just a little knowledge about Alice Roosevelt (Longworth). After reading this fascinating book, I felt that ...   Read More

Martha S. (Mentor, OH)

American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt
The "American Princess", also known as "The Other Washington Monument", Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Alice was born into an influential and political family. In spite of having these advantages, Alice didn't want any of them, only wanting to forge her ...   Read More

Mary G. (Nags Head, NC)

Engaging story about an engaging woman
Many children have grown up in the White House but few have inspired as much public interest as the vivacious and audacious Alice Roosevelt--and this was well before the days of social media scrutiny. American Princess captures the vivacious ...   Read More

Darra W. (Mendocino, CA)

Fun, Fast-Paced Historical Fiction
Had publications like People, Rolling Stone, and The National Inquirer existed at the dawn of the 20th century, no doubt Miss Alice Roosevelt would have been a frequent cover girl. Stephanie Thorton’s take on the adventures of this larger-than-life “...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Quotations and Cultural Influence of Alice Roosevelt

Alice Roosevelt as a young woman wearing an Alice blue gownAlice Roosevelt (1884-1980), daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt and the central figure of Stephanie Marie Thornton's American Princess is not widely remembered in the public consciousness today, but during her lifetime she was an ever-present fixture in the press. This was particularly the case during her father's presidential term, when a teenage Alice shocked the nation by partying, associating with men and smoking cigarettes. Alice influenced fashion trends when she wore a pale blue dress to her debutante party, a color that received a surge in popularity afterwards, and subsequently became known as "Alice blue."

Though Alice's behavior may have mellowed in her later years, she continued to make waves with her razor-sharp wit. ...

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