When Martha Skelton finds herself falling in love with a shy young burgess named Thomas Jefferson, it feels like an inconvenience. Widowed at twenty-two, Martha has no desire to lose the independence she has gained in the wake of her husband’s death. But she cannot deny her feelings indefinitely. Despite her intentions, her friendship with Thomas develops into an intense and all-consuming love. History casts a shadow on Martha’s newfound joy. Through her father’s slave and mistress, Betty Hemings, she comes to understand the true nature of slavery, an institution she has always taken for granted.
Writer Roberta Grimes’ first novel is a marvel. A historical novel whose detail, scope, and depth seem much greater than the book’s slightly more than 300 pages. “My Thomas” captures the complicated nature and depth of Thomas Jefferson’s wife, Martha, who died just ten years after the couple was married– and whom Jefferson mourned the rest of his life.