City of God

City of God

Swerling, Beverly

Swerling, Beverly

City of God, the latest installment in Beverly Swerling's gripping saga of old New York, takes readers to Manhattan's clamorous streets as the nation struggles to find a compromise between slave and free, but hears the drums of war. This is New York when one synagogue is no longer adequate for thousands of Jewish immigrants, when New Evangelicals rouse complacent Protestants with the promise of born-again salvation, and when it first sees Catholic nuns and calls them whores of Satan. It is New York when ships bring the fabulous wealth of nations to its wharves and auction houses, while a short distance away rival gangs fight to the death with broken bottles and teeth filed to points. Into this churning cauldron comes young Dr. Nicholas Turner. Nick knows that the discoveries of antisepsis and anesthesia promise medical miracles beyond the dreams of ages. He learns that to make such progress reality he must battle the city's corrupt politics and survive the snake pit that is Bellevue Hospital, all while resisting his love for the beautiful Carolina Devrey, his cousin's wife. Sam Devrey, head of the shipping company that bears his name and a visionary who believes the future will be ushered in by mighty clipper ships spreading acres of sail, battles demons of his own. The life he lives with Carolina in the elegant brownstone on newly fashionable Fifth Avenue is a charade meant to disguise his heart's true home, the secret downtown apartment of the exquisite Mei-hua, his Chinese child-bride. The worlds of all four are imperiled when Sam must rely on Nick's skills to save the woman he loves, and only Nick's honor guards Sam's secret. On a night when promises of hellfire seem to become reality and the city nearly burns to the ground, Carolina and Mei-hua confront the truth of their duplicitous marriages. Rage and revenge join love and passion as driving forces in a story played out against the background of the glittering New York that rises from the ashes, where Delmonico's and the Astor House host bejeweled women and top-hatted men, both with the din of commerce in their ears and the glint of gold in their eyes. As always, Swerling has conjured a dazzling cast of characters to people her city. Among those seeking born-again salvation are Addie Bellingham, befriended by the widow Manon Turner but willing to betray her, and Lilac Langton, who confesses her sins but avoids mentioning that she's a skilled abortionist in a city that has recently made abortion a crime. Ben Klein, a brilliant young physician, must balance devotion to his mentor and dedication to research with duty to the Jewish community. Wilbur Randolf, Carolina's father, indulges her in everything but fails her when she needs him most. Jenny Worthington, Wilbur's longtime mistress, is driven by avarice to make common cause with Fearless Flannagan, a member of a New York police force as corrupt as the city it serves. Ah Chee, Mei-hua's devoted servant, struggles through Manhattan's streets on bound feet and burns incense to the kitchen god in this place of foreign devils. They are all here, heroines and saints, villains and victims, and a vanished New York made to live again in an intricate tale of old debts and new rivalries. From Publishers WeeklyThe sparkling latest in Swerling's historical series (after City of Glory) about the Turner and Devrey families and the growth of New York City takes place in the decades leading up to the Civil War. While in China, merchant Samuel Devrey trades a cache of opium for the beautiful and young Mei-Hua, whom he secretly ensconces in New York and marries. Samuel also marries saintly heiress Carolina Randolph and tries to hold together the two households, though Carolina eventually cools to Samuel's secretiveness and brutish behavior, and begins to return the ardor of Samuels cousin, Dr. Nicholas Turner. As Nicholas campaigns to improve conditions and fund research at Bellevue Hospital, he's drawn into Samuels secret life, saving Mei Huas life after a botched abortion and later delivering her daughter. This highly entertaining novel suffers whenever the villainous Samuel is not on the scene, and though the last hundred pages drop off in intensity, theres still much to commend in Swerlings great eye for detail, convincing and conniving characters, and subplots that really flesh out 19th-century New York. (Dec.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From BooklistAcclaimed historical novelist Swerling submits the latest installment in her series of fictional treatments of early American history, following City of Dreams (2001), Shadowbrook (2004), and City of Glory (2007). The time period in her new novel is the 1830s to the 1850s, and the narrative finds its location in the tumultuous New York City of poor immigrants in unsanitary neighborhoods, high-society matrons in luxurious mansions, and entrepreneurs in businesses growing wealthier by the day. As in previous volumes in the series, the author maintains a focus, within the maelstrom of New York life, on two related but competitive families with long ties to the city and its development. One flash point between the two families is a husband who attends to his Chinese mistress while neglecting his wife, the latter of whom, years later, goes on to marry across the family divide; the other flash point is the question of who from within the two families can capture control of Jacob Astor’s lucrative shipping business. The general issues of the day, which both families must deal with, to varying extents, include slavery and abolitionism, religious conflict, technological advancement, progress in health and medicine, and organized labor. In keeping with the series’ traditions, the plot here is long and involved but rich in period detail, with characters brought to vivid but not melodramatic color. Expect high demand. --Brad Hooper
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Shadowbrook

Shadowbrook

Swerling, Beverly

Swerling, Beverly

A sweeping tale of love, ambition, and a war that ignited a revolution...In a low-lying glen in Ohio Country, where both the French and English claim dominion, the first musket ball fired signals the start of a savage seven-year conflict destined to dismantle France's overreaching empire and pave the way for the American Revolution. In a world on the brink of astonishing change are Quentin Hale, the fearless gentleman-turned-scout, fighting to preserve his beloved family plantation, Shadowbrook; Cormac Shea, the part-Irish, part-Indian woodsman with a foot in both worlds; and the beautiful Nicole Crane, who, struggling to reconcile her love for Hale and her calling to the convent, becomes a pawn in the British quest for territory. Moving between the longhouses of the Iroquois and Shadowbrook's elegant rooms, the frontier's virgin forests and the cobbled streets of Québec, Swerling weaves a tale of passion and intrigue, faith and devotion, courage and betrayal. Peopled with a cast of unforgettable characters and historical figures, including a young George Washington, this richly textured novel vividly captures the conflict that opened the eighteenth century and ignited our nation's quest for independence. A classic in the making, Shadowbrook is a page-turning tale of ambition, war, and the transforming power of both love and duty.From Publishers WeeklySwerling's sweeping fictional account of the French and Indian War rivals Harold Coyle's 1997 novel, Savage Wilderness, in its masterful treatment of the hardship, brutality and treachery of America's colonial wars. Covering the years 1754–1760, with the British, French and Indians slaughtering each other for king and empire, Swerling tells of two men who straddle the white and red man's worlds, desperate to preserve the best of each culture, but fearful they will lose everything they love. Quentin Hale is a gentleman turned scout whose family owns a prosperous New York plantation called Shadowbrook. He is white, but also follows the Indian ways of his adopted tribe, the Potawatomi. Cormac Shea is part-Irish and part-Indian, nearly a brother to Hale, but he wants all whites driven from Canada. Together these men find themselves caught up in a bloody war neither wants, but they must fight to save the plantation and create a homeland for the Indians. Hale faces treachery at home from his sadistic and greedy elder brother, John; from a scheming one-eyed Scot; and from lying, corrupt politicians who want to steal his legacy; he also has an Indian enemy who wants to cut out his heart. Hale and Shea fight in many battles, mostly massacres, from Louisbourg and Fort William Henry to the climactic battle at Quebec. Surrounding them are colorful historical figures like the young George Washington, the hapless General Braddock and the powerful Ottawa chief, Pontiac. Swerling also cleverly reveals the arrogant influence of the Catholic Church in politics, the duplicity of governmental promises and the forced migration of Acadians from Nova Scotia. The complexity of the history involved may daunt some readers, but most will be captivated by Swerling's intricate plot, colorful characters and convincing descriptions of colonial life. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From BooklistAfter her success in vividly detailing colonial New York in City of Dreams (2001), Swerling turns her attention to mid-eighteenth-century Ohio, where the French and Indian War inflames passions and sparks intrigue in the inhabitants of this richly fertile region. At the center of the story are Quentin Hale, the rebellious younger son of the prosperous Shadowbrook plantation, and Cormac Shea, the son of a Potowatomi woman and an Irish fur trader. Raised together on the plantation, Quent and Corm are caught up in the ever-growing hostilities between the English and^B the French. Underscoring the dramatic tension and fast-paced action is the blood feud brewing between the Shadowbrook heirs and the tender love story evolving between Quentin and Nicole Crane, a beautiful young Frenchwoman who has committed her future to the Poor Clares religious order. This spellbinding historical adventure highlights an often overlooked episode on the road to American independence. Margaret FlanaganCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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City of Promise

City of Promise

Swerling, Beverly

Swerling, Beverly

Beverly Swerling's critically acclaimed epic saga continues as New York emerges from the Civil War into the Gilded Age - a city marked by soaring expansion and teeming with unbridled ambition and dazzling glamour.It is 1864. The South's surrender is inevitable, and Manhattan is at the heart of the recovering nation's surge to prosperity. On its bustling streets crowds hustle from place to place amid a maelstrom of carriages and horse-drawn trolleys. Vanderbilt's new Grand Central Depot and the glittering Ladies' Mile shine as beacons of the city's burgeoning wealth. Joshua Turner returns home from the War with only one leg, but his ambition intact, and sees opportunity in the exponential growth of vital city workers - the managers and clerks who churn New York's economic life. This new middle class must live in dreary 'family residences,' where everyone eats in a shared dining room and no woman can have a key to her own front door. Manhattan, Joshua realizes, has limited land but unlimited air. He aspires to build the city's first apartment houses for everyman, a daring vision that will make him New York's first true real estate titan but will also attract the dangerous attention of a shadowy figure from Josh's days in a notorious Confederate prison.Meanwhile, the irresistible and clever Mollie Brannigan, raised by her extraordinary Auntie Eileen in perhaps the toniest bordello in town, is resigned at age twenty-two to spinsterhood . . . till Joshua finds her at Macy's, the city's largest emporium, and takes her coaching in Central Park, while explaining why the millionaire mansions that line their route are not how he sees the future. In Joshua's love Mollie finds a world of possibilities she had not dared to dream, but it is her aunt's intervention that makes them real. How ironic, then, that a secret Eileen thought left behind in Ireland will force Mollie to employ all her wits to protect not just her chance at happiness but her life.This is New York at a time of unyielding progress and technological wonder, a bustling metropolis coming into its own, as its skyline is transformed by the proliferation of ever-taller buildings and the Brooklyn Bridge slowly rises out of the East River. Vividly imagined and awash in period detail and the unforgettable characters that only Beverly Swerling can conjure, City of Promise delivers a historical adventure of suspense and intrigue, daring plot twists and bitter rivalries, and the captivating love story of two people struggling to forge their own destiny.
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