Jefferson’s Sons: Book Review

Jefferson’s Sons is a historical fiction story about former President Thomas Jefferson and his secret sons, who also happen to be his slaves. The story follows his three sons, William Beverly Hemings (Beverly), James Madison Hemings (Maddy), and Thomas Eston Hemings (Eston), as well as Peter Fosset, a family friend. The three brothers grow up knowing their father is their master and the President, Thomas Jefferson, and that they will be set free the day they turn 21. Beverly and Eston were born with lighter skin, so they will have no problem creating a life for themselves in white society, along with their sister Harriet. However, Maddy has a darker skin tone, and will not be able to join his siblings in white society. Additionally, Jefferson sells Maddy’s best friend, James Fosset, and Maddy is angry that his father would do that to him and that he’s not light enough to live with his siblings. Because James is away, Maddy promises to take good care of his little brother Peter and hang out with him.

Soon, all of Monticello is consumed with worry as Master Jefferson gets older and the debts grow. He becomes sickly and unwell, and it seems the debts are impossible to pay off. When he dies, will the Hemings family and the Fossets stay together? Will they be set free or will their families be broken apart by the cruelty of slavery?

This book is an intriguing read about one of our nation’s most famous presidents and one of the most major issues in American history: slavery.


Caroline Haines