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City of Ash

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Overview

When the great Seattle fire of 1889 leaves them with nothing to lose, two very different women discover a mutual passion for revenge.
 
Chicago socialite and art patron Geneva Langley has brought scandal to her family for the last time. Her latest and boldest act of immodesty is too much for her father to bear, and he banishes her to Seattle, along with her scheming, ...
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City of Ash: A Novel

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Overview

When the great Seattle fire of 1889 leaves them with nothing to lose, two very different women discover a mutual passion for revenge.
 
Chicago socialite and art patron Geneva Langley has brought scandal to her family for the last time. Her latest and boldest act of immodesty is too much for her father to bear, and he banishes her to Seattle, along with her scheming, ambitious husband, Nathan. Seattle is a far cry from Chicago—the streets are muddy, the society backward, and Ginny feels stifled and alone.
 
Despite her considerable talent, Beatrice Wilkes is an actress whose dream of being a leading lady is fading rapidly. She can’t believe her luck when a new production gives her a chance at stardom, but Geneva Langley seizes the opportunity for her own and unwittingly crushes Bea’s last dream.
 
The two women engage in a fierce battle for center stage, but the great Seattle fire, which ravages the city, changes their fates and plans. In its aftermath, Ginny and Bea see an opportunity to change their lives: but it would mean banding together to enact a truly wicked plan. Their dark and perilous alliance will set them on the path to either redemption or damnation.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Leave it to Chance (Prima Donna) to pen a fine historical that's both a gripping novel and a study of the constraints placed on 19th-century women. When 23-year-old bohemian heiress Geneva "Ginny" Stratford oversteps the boundaries of propriety by posing nude for a painting exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1888, a humiliated Papa dispatches Ginny and her husband, Nathan Langley, to faraway Seattle, Washington Territory. Bad news outpaces the couple's transportation, and Seattle society snubs Ginny as she steps off the train. A virtual prisoner inside her own home, Ginny grabs at the opportunity when Nathan suggests she become a patron of playwright Sebastian DeWitt. DeWitt's new play, written for Beatrice Wilkes, a local actress who's become Nathan's mistress, inspires Ginny, who's blind to Nathan's ulterior motives. After Seattle burns to the ground, however, Ginny and Beatrice become unlikely allies. Stellar characterization, terrific dialogue, and a twisty plot make this story of old-time Seattle pop. (June)
From the Publisher

"Leave it to Chance (Prima Donna) to pen a fine historical that’s both a gripping novel and a study of the constraints placed on 19th-century women. Stellar characterization, terrific dialogue, and a twisty plot make this story of old-time Seattle pop." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Evocative of Seattle’s rough history and early society…as fun to read as Jane Adams’ Seattle Green (1987), which is set around the same time." —Booklist


"Chance’s sharp writing, believable and detailed historical setting, and strong female characters keep her latest from descending into melodrama."—Library Journal
 
“Wrapped in a bonbon of juicy melodrama […] flourishes of page-turning suspense.”-- Agnes Torres Al-Shibibi, Seattle Times

“A few years ago Chance moved from romance to historical fiction with grace and panache. Her powerfully written feminist novels have strong appeal for both long-time fans and newcomers. Her characters leap from the pages as her dialogue grips readers. The dark and wicked twists plot turns are stellar.” -- RTBookReviews.com 
 
“A riveting, intoxicating story with multi-dimensional characters and elements that reminded me of two of my favorite movies—George Cukor's Victorian-set Gaslight and the late '50s Hitchcock thriller, Vertigo…One grand play you won't want to miss.”--Nancy Davis, RomanceReaderAtHeart.com
 
“Megan Chance breathes life into Geneva and Beatrice, actresses in the city's premier theater company. Although they should be sworn enemies -- they're sharing the affections of one scheming, abusive man -- a winning combination of girl power and circumstance transforms them into heroines of an edgy historical novel that proves impossible to put down.”-- Andrea Hoag, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Throw caution to the wind and just immerse yourself in the absolute drama of it all, you’re in for a wild and amusing ride through muddy Seattle streets.”—Seattlest.com

  

Library Journal
The latest Gilded Age epic from historical novelist Chance (Prima Donna) concerns Geneva Langley, a Chicago heiress trapped in an unhappy marriage. In an attempt to rekindle her distant husband's interest, Geneva feigns an affair with a sculptor. The only remedy for the ensuing scandal is exile to Seattle, still a backwater frontier town. Unfortunately for Geneva, Seattle society has already learned of her scandalous behavior, and the matrons she expects to befriend snub her. Mr. Langley, meanwhile, has taken up with Beatrice Wilkes, a Seattle actress seemingly destined for a lifetime of playing second fiddle to ingenues. Inspired by a fellow societal outcast and a charismatic but poor playwright, Geneva decides to try her hand at acting—and encounters her husband's mistress in the process. The story that ensues has as many twists and turns as a soap opera. VERDICT Chance's sharp writing, believable and detailed historical setting, and strong female characters keep her latest from descending into melodrama. Historical fiction fans are likely to be familiar with Chance, but the focus on women's relationships means crossover potential for women's fiction readers.—Nanette Wargo Donohue, Champaign P.L., IL
Kirkus Reviews

The fates of an ambitious young actress and an exiled society lady intertwine in 1889 Seattle when the Great Fire nearly burns the fledgling city to the ground.

Geneva Langley, daughter of a wealthy railroad tycoon, has it all, inviting the greatest artists of the day to her Chicago salons.All, that is, but a happy marriage.She poses nude for a sculptor, calculating that the ensuing scandal will force her husband Nathan to divorce her.Instead, she's sent to Seattle, where her husband smells political opportunity in the soon-to-be state.Seattle's cultural life pales beside Chicago's, but it does host theatres where Geneva, shunned by society, seeks solace and meets talented young playwright Sebastian DeWitt.Mrs. Langley, an art patron, is thrilled when her husband begins underwriting the production of a play DeWitt has written to showcase the acting of Beatrice Wilkes, whom he admires. Frustrated to have been thrown over for many a leading role and lacking qualms about using sex to gain advantage, Ms. Wilkes becomesNathan Langley's mistress. The love triangle grows a fourth corner when lonely Mrs. Langley gravitates toward the playwright and her husband encourages their relationship, going so far as to suggest she take the stage, and in the very part meant for Ms. Wilkes, a complete reversal of mind given that he had previously forbidden such scandalous behavior since it caused their exile.Does Mr. Langley's interest in the theatre have more to it than lust for an actress resembling his wife?Mistress and wife ally against Nathan Langley's nefarious schemes, intricately developed against a scorched backdrop.Strangest of all, real life mimics DeWitt's play as they find themselves living parts to rivalHamlet's drama and deception.

With an Art-Nouveau-and-absinthe sensibility, tight plotting and stagecraft complete with traps and twists, Chance (Prima Donna, 2009, etc.) breathes a vitality into her frontier characters á la David Milch'sDeadwood.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307461032
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/7/2011
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 950,396
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

MEGAN CHANCE is the author of Prima Donna, The Spiritualist, An Inconvenient Wife, and Susannah Morrow.  A former television news photographer, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    Stormykit and Speckledkit

    Stormykit goes up to Stormkit and says hi im stormykit and our names are very similar. Wanna be friends?
    <p>
    Speckledkit hides in the corner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    Firekit

    Firekit was there in essence to stalk the convo he's missing o.o))

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    Gi

    Hi

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    Stormkit

    She cheered with her littermate. Then turned to Stormykit. "Okay." Her bright green eyes traveled warmly over them. "Lets go see Firekit, Flamekit." She jumped out of the nursery, looking back at Fawnstep. "Is that okay?"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    Fawnstep and co.

    She mewed, "i suppose so, but come back here once your done!"
    <p>
    Flamekit mewed "yay!!" And ran out with Stormkit(read cloud's post there please!)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2014

    ~ASHCLAN NURSERY~

    A large bramble bush reinforced with ferns and sticks. Inside is a few thick moss nests.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    Josh

    Smiles exitedly..lust pushing everything else from his mind

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    Samantha to the other samantha

    Can you at least change your name so your not actually being me?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Could not put it down!

    I have had this book on my nook for quite sometime, but haven't gotten around to reading it until I had to take my car in for a break job. Luckily for me, that lasted three hours and I had the book finished. I absolutely could not put this book down! I fell in love with both of the leading ladies immediately. These women are both self centered, selfish children yet, they both are endearing and caring. This is a great novel and I cannot wait to read more from this author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2011

    Great Read

    Authur provides insight into time period and moraes of the day. Interesting characters and storyline, making this book a real page turner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2011

    Great Read

    Author provides insight into the moraes of this time period. Interesting characters and storyline making it a page turner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 21, 2011

    Great book!

    Loved it just as much as her others. The ending was great, but I hated that I had finished the book. Can't wait for her next one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2011

    Dark, compelling story of two women caught up in a dangerous game of cat and mouse...

    Run, don't walk, to the bookstore to find a copy of this wonderful, atmospheric novel. Ms. Chance is my go-to author for meaty, emotional historical fiction, and she certainly doesn't disappoint in this page turner of a novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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