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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking beach read?
My summer reading usually consists of books with engaging characters or a plot that entertains. My winter books tend to be non-fiction and more thought provoking. With Thomas Jefferson, Rachel and Me, Peter Boody has written the perfect book for all seasons. I loved the characters, even the minor ones. They are interesting and life-like, and some so well developed you...
Published on June 22, 2011 by N. Beha

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars **MISSED**
THOMAS JEFFERSON, RACHAEL, AND ME by Peter Boody missed its mark for me. I guess I expected more comedy in this fantasy of Jefferson alive in modern times. It isn't funny offten and seldom has issues with Jefferson dealing with modern conveniences. Instead it is a history lesson on Jefferson, rather well done, but the suthor drifts into oddity with Rachel and...
Published 13 months ago by James L. Woolridge


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking beach read?, June 22, 2011
By 
N. Beha (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me (Kindle Edition)
My summer reading usually consists of books with engaging characters or a plot that entertains. My winter books tend to be non-fiction and more thought provoking. With Thomas Jefferson, Rachel and Me, Peter Boody has written the perfect book for all seasons. I loved the characters, even the minor ones. They are interesting and life-like, and some so well developed you feel that you know them. The plot is certainly entertaining with the reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson in the 21st Century. But there is more to the book than that.
Jack, the main character is a history teacher, and he teaches us a lot, not only about colonial American History, but American history right up to the present. There are discussions of slavery and race, civil rights and the Constitution all in the background of a very engaging plot. Jefferson's comments on these matters seem true to character but at the same time unexpected. Just as it might be if you met him in person. I got my breezy beach read and a lot to think about, too. Bravo, Mr. Boody.
Buy it, you'll like it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved This Book!, June 4, 2012
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This review is from: Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me (Kindle Edition)
Although an avid reader, I have never before felt moved to post a book review. But this book is different. I want to keep thinking and talking about it, maybe to prolong my time with the story and its characters.

The book moves quickly, but the characters have stayed with me. Boody skillfully brings the three main characters to life, endowing each with an intriguing past that is still haunting his or her present. Even Thomas Jefferson, who first emerges in a beautifully and eerily rendered twilight scene at Monticello, develops from a mysterious wisp of vapor into a complex corporeal being full of passions, regrets, and questions.

What happens when Jefferson embarks on a modern day adventure with Jack, a retired history teacher who is grieving the death of his wife and only son, and Rachel, a beautiful, mixed race graduate student who was engaged to Jack's late son, is the imaginative story that unfolds in this highly entertaining book. Through his exploration of timeless emotions and moral questions, Boody makes something believable and soul-stirring out of what might have been far-fetched in a lesser author's hands.

Boody writes beautifully and creates scenes that seem so real that it makes you want to re-visit the places where his characters go. At times humorous and at times sad, this book is always engaging, relevant, and thought-provoking. Boody manages to fill the book with fascinating tidbits of history and politics without ever making you feel like you're in class.

Treat yourself and your book club to this book. You won't be disappointed!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Treat, February 3, 2012
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This review is from: Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me (Kindle Edition)
Of all the Founders, I guess we can't be too surprised that it's Thomas Jefferson who loves to Google on his Mac computer. Jefferson arrives as an apparition, but soon dons flesh and bones and moves right into the 21st century. He's amazed yet undaunted with today's technology, but remains a man of his own time, which presents its own problems for his agreeable hosts and himself.

Peter Boody's fine novel is a rare treat. It includes humor and some zany adventures, but also serious issues of TJ's history and legacy. It was a pleasure to share their fun and their troubles.

As a history enthusiast and Jefferson fiction author myself, I was familiar with many of the references in this book, though this certainly isn't necessary. But it does make me all the more appreciative of Mr. Boody's refreshing, skillful, approach to these topics. Whether you're a Jefferson "fan" or are simply looking for a thoughtful, engaging, adventure, I recommend this book without hesitation. It's total enjoyment.

Paul Sherman
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two-sided historical perspective, October 9, 2012
I got a copy of this book at an event hosted by my public library last summer. I'm no history buff and only grudgingly read the federalist and anit-federalist papers because they'd been assigned to me in school. I was aware Jefferson had owned slaves and that it was universally accepted he had fathered children with one of them, but that was an historical footnote I thought would have little to do with today. My intrigue for the book was based on an expectation of comical juxtaposition, having our third president visit and mock the 21st century.

Was I surprised. Sure, I laughed out loud several times, but by the end of this book I had run a gamut of emotions and my social consciousness had been elevated. Boody's Jefferson sprouted on me like a beard, coarse indifferent stubble that grew soft and full over time. Brash, pompous and indignant when confronted with his political and personal shortcomings, he is ideally suited for ressurection in today's world. From his doleful realization that his archnemesis Hamilton's economic philosophies had won out to his disbelief America now has a black president, Jefferson is the perfect foil to this fledgling century. In one fell swoop the author adroitly comments on our country's most persistent and perplexing crisis, from its colonial roots to today's veiled (and, at times, overt)cynicism regarding black/white relations. Jefferson's evolution through the course of the novel should open our eyes and minds to a similar path of acknowledgment, reparation and resolution. The parallels between his public and private policies are nicely choreographed, making this historic figure accessible and contemporary. The other two central characters also come to life, their trials poignantly revealed as they wind through their collective odyssey.

This was a compelling read I found hard to put down. And one that goes quite deep once you prick its surface.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a Charlottesville Resident, July 2, 2012
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This review is from: Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me (Kindle Edition)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the first on I've read on my ereader. I have lived in Charlottesville for nearly 40 years and, as any one who has lived there knows, TJ lives.
This book was completely accurate in describing the area in Charlottesville/Albemarle and was a delight to read. Mr. Brody most definitely knows C'ville.
Imagining Jefferson's reaction to modern day ideas and technology was extremely thought-provoking and fun.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story!, September 16, 2012
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This review is from: Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me (Kindle Edition)
The characters in the story really come to life. The historical references are wonderful. The descriptions of Monticello and Williamsburg make you want to take a trip and experience the history for yourself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be sorry with this one!, September 3, 2012
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This review is from: Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me (Kindle Edition)
I picked this one up earlier this spring. It just happened to be one of the free offerings that day - I have to admit, it was my lucky day.

Retired history teacher Jack Arrowsmith and his late son's girlfriend Rachel make the trek to Monticello. While there, they meet up with the ghost of Thomas Jefferson who then proceeds to 'hang out' with Jack and Rachel for the year. This had a good dose of humor thrown in with a smattering of ghost story/time travel element to boot.

It was not weird or fantastic by any means. It was just a real easy read and very plausible given the nature of the story. I don't want to spoil anything for the reader, but you've just got to see some of the predicaments that Mr. Jefferson gets himself into - not to mention the fact that the Secret Service has Mr. J on it's radar.

As I said, this was a free offering but was very well formated and very cleanly written. I have read many indie authors since picking up my Kindle Fire last November. Some of them are real dogs & there's a reason they're free. Not so with this one. I enjoyed this one so much I would gladly pay full price on it and plan to purchase 2 copies as gifts for the upcoming holiday season.

So, do yourself a favor - do pick this one up. It's just a real entertaining, enjoyable read and like me, you may just learn a few things that you did not know about one of our founding Fathers!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great combination of history, fiction and politics (past and present); very enjoyable and fast read, November 30, 2013
By 
K. Dieng "kdieng" (Minnesota, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I really did want to read this book, as I love historical fiction, and this book sounded like a great read (which I was hoping it would live up to, as many books are quite a disappointment). And, thankfully, it DID live up to my expectations. I quite liked the story, and felt like I learned quite a bit about Thomas Jefferson (yes, the historical man). I have to admit that I have an especial fondness for him, largely because of my fondness for Monticello (which strangely mirrors a similar fondness of the main characters of the book). I currently live in MN, but when living in the DC area for many years, I visited most of the available homes of former US presidents and easily loved Monticello more than any other. I think it has something to do with the location (stunning views on the mountain top, great land, great air, stunning building), and something to do with the intelligence of the man who created it. I found many of my thoughts/feelings recreated in this book.

With that said, I did not love everything in the book. I found the premise of Jefferson being able to "relive" off of Monticello rather far-fetched, and I did not like his relationship with the main character Rachel. He was arrogant, self-centered, inconsiderate of her, etc., etc. However, perhaps, as shown through the book, these were honest characterizations of Jefferson, particularly due to his time period and his thoughts/feelings related to race (Rachel being of mixed race). And... after finishing the book, I can see the value of writing a story where Jefferson interacts with the modern world, as we can really only "know" something when forced to interact with the direct opposite (i.e. many people will understand what I mean here if they have lived abroad, and were therefore able to view their homeland from an environment outside of it). Jefferson could not be expected to understand his views, and the weaknesses of those views, without being exposed to something radically different. And the goal (perhaps) of the book was to show Jefferson in all of his glory, and weakness, and we all know... that perhaps what he is most criticized for is the contradiction is his writings between the rights/equality of man and owning slaves. And then, of course, there is he issue of his relationship with Sally Hemmings.

Other than the story itself, what I liked best about the book was it's ability to think of Jefferson is "context." For example, I have always wondered if he "loved" Sally Hemmings, and if so, how could he have loved his wife as well? And how could he have such a long-standing with Sally Hemmings, and produce so many children with her, while at the same time so effectively hiding his relationship with her in his writings and history. And I do think the book does a brilliant job at answering this question (i.e. in light of Jefferson's views with, and experience with, race, his understanding of his relationship with Sally, and of the black race in general... can only be understood when viewing it through his own time and not our own). Meaning, in my opinion (and at least the impression that *I* got from the book), that he did not see his relationship with Sally Hemmings, in the same vein as his relationship with his wife, but more as a relationship of convenience (ie. it began in France, when he did not have access to his wife). Almost more as some men see women, today, they might have a one-night stand with, but not a long-standing marriage between equal partners.

I did appreciate the politics in the book, where Jefferson comments on the weaknesses he sees in today's America (particularly in light of the 99% movement, the weaknesses in America's economic class structure and the growing poverty of America's middle class; I also appreciated his observations of the "visibility" of successful black Americans, or lack thereof, and reasons for this). I think there are some good insights brought to light in the book, without there being much preaching.

I highly recommend the book for those who light historical fiction (despite the fact that this book takes place in morn times, and not the 1700s), who are fascinated by Thomas Jefferson, who are curious by his relationship with the Hemmings (BTW, I did not know much about Sally's brother Jamie, and enjoyed his inclusion in the book), and perhaps those simply interested in comparing American history with modern-day US. It's a pretty quick read, but an interesting one. Also, well written (i.e. well paced, realistic main characters, and appropriate and satisfying conclusion to the book, etc.).

One sidenote... when reading this book, it did make me think of the book "The Healing" by Jonathan Odell. I felt that that book did a great job of providing a really realistic, and honest, view from the point of house slaves. Whereas, I thought this book did a job good of providing a viewpoint of the slave owner (one who thought they provided for their slaves and treated them "kindly," not one who was sadistic and violent that is).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Man, November 3, 2013
Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father, President, colonial farmer and slave holder, alive and real in today’s world. This is the premise of this book, a premise that allows an exploration of the man, his times, and by his reactions to it, our times and all the changes between his time and today.

This could have been a dry historical treatise, but instead we are treated to a work with some very real characters, Jack Arrowsmith, retired history teacher, and Rachel, girlfriend of Jack’s deceased son. Jefferson starts as a ghostly apparition in Monticello that Jack sees on a visit there, showing his full 82 years, but later solidifies and grows younger, becoming a vigorous man in his forties.

What first catches the attention is Jefferson’s reactions to today’s world, as Jack and Rachel shepherd him through malls, restaurants, modern clothes, cars, traffic lights, iPods, Google, and a black President. These reactions show a strong sense of a man capable of accepting what would be to him the impossible and fantastic, and perhaps this reaction is just a little too much. I would have expected a little more in the way of culture shock, even for a man as forward thinking as Jefferson. But the culture clash does show up in things that are perhaps more important, such as the great change in the status of blacks, something that this Jefferson cannot quite seem to fully acknowledge or incorporate into his actions or speech.

Along the way, there are many references to the great political debates of Jefferson’s day, along with some of the other people of that time, from Alexander Hamilton to Patrick Henry (and Jefferson’s characterization of those two reads both humorously and accurately). Some of these references may be a little obscure to those who haven’t studied American history, and I myself would have preferred to see a little more detail on some of these, especially on state’s rights and the 3/5 rule.

More closely inspected is Jefferson’s family relations, especially that of his liaison with his slave Sally Hemings, echoed in today’s world by Jefferson and Rachel (who is mixed race) becoming involved.

The story is told from Jack’s viewpoint, which does lend a certain distance to the observations about Jefferson, and at times Jack’s own story takes precedence over the main line, but as Jack’s story is itself interesting, this is no detriment.

The ending is both perhaps a little contrived and a little on the tear-making side, but does much to highlight just how well Boody has created his characters, turning them into people you really care about. There are a couple of loose ends that Boody does not tie up, but again I found this to be minor negative.

A nice read with some substance you can get your teeth into.

---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun and interesting ride, November 3, 2013
This review is from: Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me (Kindle Edition)
Now and then, I get an email from an author asking me to read and review a novel. I don't often take writers up on their offers of a free copy, because I have a backlog of novels on my Kindle as it is. Plus, when I have taken authors up on their offer of a free copy, I've been often disappointed. But when Mr. Boody's email came, the premise grabbed me, as did the Amazon reviews.

Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me is a well-written, superbly edited and deftly executed indie offering. Mr. Boody, I've come to learn, has an impressive background in journalism, much like novelist Steve Brewer, whose latest offering is A Box of Pandoras. The novel stands as a fine example of historical fiction, sure, but in many ways transcends the genre. It's just as much a tale about love, loss, redemption, and how we keep our balance in the shifting, unsteady ground of developing relationships.

Days after finishing the novel, I find myself missing the world the author created in Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me.
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