Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyWith limited success, first novelist Bloom fictionalizes the history of the U.S. from 1792 to 1833, employing two vastly different though connecting points of view. Daniel Carey, a middle-class printer and historian in New York City, narrates the first half of the story. Through his work for famous diplomat and politician Gouverneur Morris, Carey participates in the turmoil of his times, meeting famous men, traveling to France during Napolean's reign, fighting in the War of 1812 and falling in (unrequited) love with Morris's wife, Nancy. The rest of the story, told by an omniscient narrator, explores Nancy's past--she was accused of killing her newborn baby (suspected to have been fathered by her sister's husband) and driven from her family's plantations. Dense with details about Virginia and New York politics, slave life and the workings of legislative and judicial systems, the novel is tremendously educational but is only fleetingly absorbing as fiction. Its plot and characters aren't vivid enough to transform a heavy load of facts and a dense narrative into an exciting read. (July)
Library Journal - Library JournalThis is really two separate books, both purporting to focus on the problems of Nancy Randolph. However, most of the story is told by and about characters on the periphery of her existence. Part I is a densely written and detailed study of the activities and philosophies of a New York historian who occasionally worked for her husband in the early 1800s. Part II begins in 1792 and deals with the trial of Nancy and her brother-in-law for the murder of her alleged newborn child. Written in a more modern style, it is less tedious and of greater interest. The lack of focus hurts the continuity and enjoyment of this first novel. Bloom has obviously researched the period in depth, but he would have done better had he not crammed all his knowledge into one story. This is a difficult book to read and will appeal only to history buffs.-- Andrea Lee Shuey, Dallas P . L.
- Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
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