As a lover of historical fiction, I flock to books about forgotten women in history. A few months ago, I stumbled upon American Princess: A Novel of Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Marie Thornton and immediately knew I had to get my hands on it. I knew next to nothing about Theodore Roosevelt’s oldest daughter, but after reading this book, I have a new found respect and love for Alice Roosevelt and her wild ride of a life. American Princess is a book filled with love, betrayal, loss, history, and more. I laughed, I cried, and I smiled while devouring this book. I knew that I had to share this book with the Future Female Leaders community. In fact, I am so thrilled to share that it is FFL’s book club pick for May 2020!

American Princess kicks off while Theodore Roosevelt is Vice President during the McKinley administration. As history goes, Teddy becomes President after McKinley dies of blood poisoning. Alice, a teenager, is thrust into the spotlight as the new first daughter… and let’s just say, she doesn’t handle it too gracefully. She creates headlines and stirs controversy, much to the dismay of her father and the First Family. In fact, she is often referred to the media’s first darling because of all the fanfare she caused, even getting her signature color coined Alice Blue! Throughout the novel, we see Alice come into her own and find her power and her voice. She was truly a woman before her time. And while she was a first daughter and a congressman’s wife, she was so much more than those titles. In fact, I can’t believe Alice Roosevelt isn’t more well known than she is. This month, FFL hopes to help shine a light on this forgotten woman of history by reading and discussing American Princess in the Future Female Leaders Book Club. I hope you’ll join us!

If you’re not convinced yet to pick up a copy, which I hope you do, here are a few things that I loved most about the novel. Don’t worry, no big spoilers!

Alice’s quips

To describe Alice Roosevelt as sassy would be the understatement of the century. She was not afraid to speak her mind and did so colorfully. The most zingers were pointed to FDR and Eleanor, cousins of Alice. Even though they were family, they did not see eye to eye on policy and politics. They had feuds that lasted decades. In fact, Alice wasn’t shy about her major disagreements during the FDR presidency later on in the novel… and some insults were tongue in cheek and some very controversial.

The other Washington monument 

Alice’s impact on policy and politics, in a time where women didn’t even have the right to vote, should not be overlooked. She used her celebrity and her political connections to her advantage to advance policy and continue her father’s legacy. Alice was regularly an informal advisor to both her father and her husband. She was such an important fixture on the Washington political scene that many referred to Alice as the “other Washington monument.”

A front row seat to many historical events

Since this covers the majority of Alice Roosevelt’s adult life, you get a front row seat to many historical events that add even more depth to Alice’s story. Events include fifteen presidencys (and her commentary on almost all of them — which I enjoyed), two World Wars, and more. Lovers of American history will love the historic backdrop of this novel.

RELATED: 16 Historical Fiction Books With Remarkable Leading Ladies

A Republican woman in fiction

While the book isn’t particularly partisan, both conservatives and liberals alike will thoroughly enjoy, it is refreshing to see a strong Republican woman as a protagonist for once. I found myself cheering Alice on while she found her power and her voice as a proud Republican woman. I can’t help but wonder what Alice Roosevelt would think about our current political landscape today. It’s no doubt that she would have a lot to say.

Stephanie Marie Thornton brings the captivating story of Alice Roosevelt Longworth to life in American Princess. I look forward to hopefully many more stories by Thornton of America’s forgotten women.

Get your copy of American Princess HERE and join the Future Female Leaders Book Club here!

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Amanda O