Suzanne Semsch, The Lees of Menokin, at New Dominion June 17

Next week at New Dominion Bookshop:

Suzanne Hadfield Semsch will present selections

from her biographical novel

The Lees of Menokin: An Early American Love Story

Thursday, June 17 at 12:15 PM

A biographical novel about the life and marriage of Virginia planter and statesman Francis Lightfoot Lee, a dedicated patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence.

As a descendant of the First Families of Virginia, Francis Lightfoot Lee became a devoted patriot at an early age. He was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1758 at the age of twenty-four. Although a quiet unassuming man by nature, Frank Lee soon became associated—along with his brother, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Dabney Carr, George Mason, and others—in a group known as “those hot-headed young radicals.” Unwilling to submit to the outrageous taxes and demands of England’s King George III, Lee served as a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1775-1779, and was one of Virginia’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. This political pedigree is common knowledge for readers of Virginia history, but what of Lee’s personal life?

To answer that question, debut novelist and long-time Virginian Suzanne Hadfield Semsch spent years researching Lee’s life, interweaving her findings with a healthy dose of creative personalities. The result is The Lees of Menokin, a rich biographical novel that explores the deep love affair between Lee and his wife, Rebecca “Becky” Tayloe. The couple married in 1769, when Lee, a reputed ladies’ man, was thirty-four and Becky just seventeen. Despite the age difference, theirs was a love match, resulting in a steadfast marriage that weathered the turbulence of the American Revolution, the demands of political life, and the daily hardships of eighteenth-century life in a fledgling nation.

From Menokin, the Lee plantation home in Virginia, to Pennsylvania to Maryland and back again, this exciting novel will transport readers back in time. Walk in the footsteps of a revolutionary statesman and his politically astute wife who helped turn thirteen disparate colonies into the United States of America. Semsch’s novel will engender a better understanding of life in the early days of America through the lives, loves, and struggles of a historic family in colonial Virginia. The Lees of Menokin is a true love story, set against the backdrop of political unrest, war, and its aftermath.

About the author:

Suzanne Hadfield Semsch’s lifelong interest in writing and literature and her insatiable curiosity inspired her to explore history and complete her debut novel, The Lees of Menokin. Raised in a military family and married to a career army officer, she has traveled extensively and lived in Europe and thirteen of the United States. More than half her life, however, has been spent in Virginia. Today, she resides in Charlottesville and considers herself a “Virginian by choice.” She has been writing both personally and professionally for many years, and is currently at work on her next project, a multi-generational saga of an American military family.

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