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The Gilded Hour
     

The Gilded Hour

4.4 21
by Sara Donati
 

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The international bestselling author of Into the Wilderness makes her highly anticipated return with a remarkable epic about two female doctors in nineteenth-century New York.
 
The year is 1883, and in New York City, Anna Savard and her cousin Sophie—both graduates of the Woman’s Medical School—treat the city’s

Overview

The international bestselling author of Into the Wilderness makes her highly anticipated return with a remarkable epic about two female doctors in nineteenth-century New York.
 
The year is 1883, and in New York City, Anna Savard and her cousin Sophie—both graduates of the Woman’s Medical School—treat the city’s most vulnerable, even if doing so puts everything they’ve strived for in jeopardy...
 
Anna’s work has placed her in the path of four children who have lost everything, just as she herself once had. Faced with their helplessness, Anna must make an unexpected choice between holding on to the pain of her past and letting love into her life.
 
For Sophie, an obstetrician and the orphaned daughter of free people of color, helping a desperate young mother forces her to grapple with the oath she took as a doctor—and thrusts her and Anna into the orbit of anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock, a dangerous man who considers himself the enemy of everything indecent and of anyone who dares to defy him.
 
With its vivid depictions of old New York and its enormously appealing characters, The Gilded Hour is a captivating novel by an author at the height of her powers.

Seattle Times Best Book of 2015!

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the novels of Sara Donati
 
“Lushly written…Exemplary historical fiction, boasting a heroine with a real and tangible presence.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Hugely satisfying.”—The Orlando Sentinel
 
“Each time you open a book, you hope to discover a story that will make your spirit of adventure and romance sing. This book delivers on that promise.”—Amanda Quick, New York Times bestselling author

Kirkus Reviews
2015-06-30
Another meticulously researched period drama with dashes of mystery and romance from Donati, this time set in 1880s New York. Donati (The Endless Forest, 2010, etc.) introduces two women doctors living near Washington Square during the Gilded Age: Dr. Liliane "Anna" Savard (granddaughter of Nathaniel Bonner of the Wilderness series) and Dr. Sophie Elodie Savard (Nathaniel's great-granddaughter but about the same age as Anna). It's 1883, and the doctors live with their Aunt Quinlan and her widowed stepdaughter, Margaret. Much of the story centers on the women's work, and as the book opens, a young nun, Sister Mary Augustin, calls at their home for Sophie, who's delivering a baby. Anna goes in her place to issue health certificates to a group of orphans. She meets DS Jack Mezzanotte and Rosa, an orphan trying to keep her sister and two brothers together. Donati spins the tales of Anna and Jack, Sophie and her maternity patient, the doctors' childhood friend Cap Verhoeven, Rosa and her siblings, Sister Mary Augustin, and a plethora of friends and relatives into a story of more than 700 pages, all saturated with her signature historical detail. There's good bit of social history, covering everything from "rational dress" and careers for women to contraception and the Comstock Act, advances in sanitation and public health. There are two mysteries as well, involving a serial killer preying on women seeking abortions and the whereabouts of Rosa's brothers. Donati is skilled at giving depth to even the most minor characters, but she sometimes pursues tangents that are never fully explored. Despite the complexity, though, the novel never gets bogged down. Page-turning and atmospheric, Donati's novel leaves readers with plenty of questions, perhaps signaling a sequel to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425283349
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/03/2016
Pages:
768
Sales rank:
72,344
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

1

1883

EARLY ON A March morning on the cusp of spring, Anna Savard came in from the garden to find a young woman with a message that would test her patience, disrupt her day, and send her off on an unexpected journey: a harbinger of change wearing the nursing habit of the Sisters of Charity, standing in the middle of the kitchen.

Anna passed four eggs, still warm from the nest, into Mrs. Lee’s cupped hands, and then she turned to greet her visitor. The young woman stood with her arms folded at her waist and hands tucked into wide sleeves, all in white, from a severe, unadorned bonnet tied tightly beneath her chin to the wide habit that fell like a tent to the floor. No more than twenty-three by Anna’s estimation, hardly five feet tall and most of that composed of sharp corners: a chin that came to a point and a nose and cheekbones to match, elbows poking out at noncongruent angles. Anna was put in mind of a nervous and underfed chicken wrapped up in a napkin.

“Sister . . .”

“Mary Augustin,” she supplied. She had a clear voice, all polite good manners, and still there was nothing timid in her manner.

Anna said, “Good morning. How can I help you?”

“I was sent to fetch the other Dr. Savard, but it seems she’s not in. Her note said to wait for you.”

People who came so early to the house were almost always looking for Anna’s cousin Sophie, who worked among the poor women and children of the city. For a scant moment Anna thought of lying, but she had never learned the art, and there was the promise she made to Sophie.

“The other Dr. Savard is attending a birth,” Anna said. “She told me you might come and I agreed to take her place.”

The pale forehead creased and then, reluctantly, smoothed. Clearly she had strong opinions, but had been schooled to keep them to herself. She said, “Shall we go?”

“Yes,” Anna said. “But I have to write a note first to say I won’t be in this morning.”

“While you do that,” said Mrs. Lee, “I’m going to feed Sister Mary Augustin. If I don’t, I’ll have to explain myself to Father Graves in confession.” She took in the nun’s hesitance but pointed at a chair. “I know that you wouldn’t want to lead me astray. So sit.”

Fifteen minutes later, finally ready to go, Mrs. Lee took the note to be delivered to the hospital and delivered a statement in return.

“Your cousin Margaret wanted to talk to you about your costume for that ball.” She said that ball as she would have said the fires of hell.

“Margaret should talk to Aunt Quinlan if she’s worried. She’s the one who made all the arrangements for my costume.”

Mrs. Lee’s small round face could produce a tremendous depth and variety of wrinkles when she was irritated, as she was now. “And what is a proper young lady, almost thirty might I add—”

“I’m not yet twenty-eight, and well you know it.”

“—an educated woman of good family, an unmarried lady, a physician and surgeon, what business do you have at a ball on Easter Monday—Easter Monday!—given by that greedy, vainglorious Vanderbilt woman? Why—”

“Mrs. Lee.” Anna interrupted in her sternest tone, tempering it with a smile. “I made Cap a promise. Would you want me to disappoint Cap?”

All the irritation crackling in the air was gone, just that simply. Mrs. Lee loved Cap; everybody did. Muttering, she marched back to the stove.

“You and your auntie with your heads together,” Anna heard her say. “Only the good Lord knows what will come of that. And on Easter Monday.”

•   •   •

ANNA SET OFF at a brisk pace along Washington Square Park and then, realizing that Sister Mary Augustin was almost running to keep up, stopped.

“Please don’t slow down or we’ll miss the ferry,” she said. “I can run all day.”

“We’ll be there with five minutes to spare, even at this pace.”

A flicker of doubt chased across the angular features. In the sunlight her complexion was like buttermilk, with a scattering of freckles and eyebrows the deep red-brown of chestnuts. Anna tried to remember if she had ever seen nuns wearing bonnets before, and then let the question go.

Sister Mary Augustin was saying, “And may I ask how you know that?”

“I grew up here, and I walk almost everywhere. And I have a clock in my head.”

“A clock,” Sister Mary Augustin echoed.

“A talent for time,” Anna said. “The ability to keep time without a timepiece. It’s a skill a surgeon must develop, you see.”

“Surgeon?” The little nun looked both confused and horrified, as if Anna had claimed to be a bishop. “But I thought—isn’t your cousin—”

“The other Dr. Savard specializes in obstetrics and pediatrics. I’m primarily a surgeon.”

“But who would—” She stopped herself and two spots of red rose in her cheeks. She was pretty, Anna noted, when she forgot to be solemn. She wondered how much information she could supply without causing Sister Mary Augustin to fall down in a faint.

She said, “Women generally prefer a woman, physician or midwife or surgeon, when they are very ill or in labor. If they have a choice.”

“Oh,” Sister Mary Augustin said. “You operate on women only. That makes more sense.”

Anna said, “I am qualified to operate on anyone, but I am on the staff at the New Amsterdam Charity Hospital. Just as the other Dr. Savard, the one you hoped to find, is on staff at the Infant and Children’s Hospital and the Colored Hospital. And yes technically, I am not allowed to operate on men. Or so says the law.”

After a moment Sister Mary Augustin said, “I suppose my training is quite narrow. I’ve never even seen a surgery.”

“Well, then,” Anna said. “You must come by and observe. And we are always in need of trained nurses, if you should ever rethink your”—she paused—“calling.”

For a moment Mary Augustin was struck speechless by such a shocking suggestion. Sister Ignatia would be outraged, as Mary Augustin herself should be outraged, but instead she was struggling with a sudden blossoming of curiosity. She had been in this terrifying, exciting city for less than a year; during all that time questions had piled on top of questions, none of which she could ask.

But here was someone who would not scowl at her if she put one of those questions into words. Someone who would likely even answer. She could ask this Dr. Savard what kind of medicine obstetrics might be, and how it was that a woman could become not just a physician but a surgeon. Hot on the heels of this came the realization that Sister Ignatia was right, it was a mistake to let curiosity run riot. It would drag a person to places best left unexplored.

And she still could not stop watching this very odd and unsettling woman doctor—surgeon, she corrected herself—from the corner of her eye.

It seemed to Mary Augustin at first that Dr. Savard was wearing makeup, and then realized that it was simply vivid coloring that rose and retreated in her cheeks as they walked into the wind. Her mouth was a deep shade of pink, but the full lips were also a little chapped. She wore her dark hair smoothed back and twisted into a coil underneath her very practical hat, without the stylish bangs that most young ladies wore these days. As Mary Augustin—Elise Mercier, as she still thought of herself and always would—would wear, were such a vanity allowed. She resisted the urge to touch the faint pox scars on her forehead.

With her strong features and high coloring, few would call Dr. Savard pretty, but it was an interesting face with intelligent eyes. And she was clearly well-to-do; the neighborhood, the four-story house of a light-colored stone, the heavy oaken front door with carved lilies and cherubs, lace at the windows, all spoke to that. But both of the Savard cousins had given up a life of leisure for medicine.

Sister Ignatia would tell her to turn her attention elsewhere. The rosary, for example, which swung at her waist with each step she took. If she could get up the nerve, the first question she would ask the lady doctor would have to do with her clothes.

Dr. Savard wore garments of the very finest materials, beautifully tailored but without ornament and as austere as any nun’s habit. Her hat was dark blue lined in gray; a matching, widely cut coat fell in folds straight from a high yoke below her shoulder blades to the top of sturdy boots. Her leather gloves were of a deep glossy black with small brass buttons at the wrist. She carried a bulky leather bag as all doctors did, and she let it swing a little at her side as she walked.

There was an occasional glimpse of skirts swirling back and forth with every step she took, very oddly. That Dr. Savard was not wearing a bustle was not such a surprise—few women who worked with the sick bothered with fashions. But the way the skirt moved puzzled her. Mary Augustin’s own skirts swung wide with every step, so that the toes of her boots peeked out, first one and then the other. Dr. Savard was walking just as fast, but her skirts seemed to restrain themselves to a much smaller arc. With a start she realized that the lady doctor was wearing a split skirt, like a man’s trousers or sleeves for the legs. Widely cut so that she could walk without constriction, but trousers, without a doubt.

In the midst of Lent Father Corcoran had given a thunderous sermon on the Rational Dress Society, which he took as proof of the continuing decline of the weaker sex. He predicted physical illness, infertility, and damnation. To her surprise and unease, Mary Augustin saw that such skirts were not immodest, no matter what Father Corcoran or His Holiness Pope Leo himself might say. They looked, she could admit to herself at least, both modest and comfortable. Something so shocking and interesting and once again, she would have to keep her questions to herself.

As they walked Dr. Savard greeted almost everyone by name: the street sweeper and the baker’s delivery boy, a young girl minding a sleeping baby swaddled in quilts and tucked into a crate, a pair of laundry women arguing in Gaelic. She called out to a very grubby newsboy to ask after his mother and got a smile in return, everything taciturn chased away in that moment Dr. Savard spoke to him.

In Washington Square the trees were reaching toward spring, fat buds putting out the first pale green to shimmer in the sun. The city was full of such contrasts: beautiful homes on wide streets lined with linden and elm and plane trees, and tenements so filthy and overcrowded that the stench filled the throat with bile. Little boys dressed in velvet toddled along under the watchful eye of nannies in spotless aprons, and a half-naked child crouched down to watch maggots roiling in the open belly of a dead cat.

Every day Mary Augustin asked herself what she had imagined when she was first sent to this great noisy city. In theory she had understood what it meant to take in the poorest and most desperate; she knew that many of the infants would be sick unto death and few would survive their first year. But she had never understood what it meant to be truly poor before she came to this place. Every day she was frightened, overwhelmed, and at the same time consumed by curiosity, needing to understand things that could not be explained.

She cast a glance at Dr. Savard and wondered if it would be a very terrible sin to talk to her, and what penance such an act of defiance would earn once she put it into words in the confessional.

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I asked unseemly questions of a well-bred, overeducated lady in split skirts. And I listened to the answers.

At the corner of Fifth Avenue they came to an abrupt halt while oxen pulled two huge drays through the intersection. Florid red lettering on the first one declared that the profusion of potted trees—some twice Mary Augustin’s own height, at least—came from LeMoult’s Conservatory. The second dray had a lighter load: buckets and buckets of flowers, gorgeous deep colors and lighter spring shades. On the side of this wagon was a smaller sign:

MEZZANOTTE BROTHERS
GREENWOOD, N.J.

Mary Augustin couldn’t help staring, but then she was not the only one.

“I wonder what that’s about,” she asked in a voice low enough to be ignored. Dr. Savard looked at her and lifted a shoulder. “The Vanderbilts,” she said. “And their costume ball.”

She had ventured a question and got an answer, but that only brought a hundred more questions to mind. If this went on much longer, Mary Augustin told herself, her brain would be riddled with question marks, hundreds of little hooks set so deep they’d never let go.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Praise for the novels of Sara Donati

"One of those rare stories that let you breathe the air of another time, and leave your footprints on the snow of a wild, strange place."—Diana Gabaldon

“Each time you open a book, you hope to discover a story that will make your spirit of adventure and romance sing. This book delivers on that promise.”—Amanda Quick

“A powerful adventure story…Gorgeous, vividly described.”—People

“Lushly written…Exemplary historical fiction, boasting a heroine with a real and tangible presence.”—Kirkus Reviews

“From page one, the action is non-stop. The more you read, the better it gets.”—Tulsa World

Meet the Author

Sara Donati is the international bestselling author of the Wilderness series, which includes Into the Wilderness, Dawn on a Distant Shore, Lake in the Clouds, Fire Along the Sky, Queen of Swords, and The Endless Forest. The Gilded Hour follows the story of the descendants of the characters from the Wilderness series.

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The Gilded Hour 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first noticed that the book was over 700 pages long I cringed, but as I read I was soon aware that this book could not be long enough for me. I hated to come to the end and am looking forward to the next installment. The characters are rich and realistic and the story is still living on in my mind. Thank you for the gift of a wonderful read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly researched fictional account of medical and detetective life in New York. Can't waitfor the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful full of life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a fan of the author's previous Wilderness series, I was overjoyed to see she was starting another series with the descendants of those characters. The setting is fascinating, because it's an era that is seldom written about in my experience. The author's research is flawless, as usual, and the character development is excellent. The only reason I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I found the ending to be abrupt, and so it was jarring for me. It wasn't as rich as the rest of the book. Definitely worth my time tho, and I will be anxiously waiting for the next installment.
Anonymous 11 days ago
I looked forward to reading this story as I had read the other Endless Forest books. I am restlessly waiting for the next.
Melisan More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book, and now I will happily explore Donati's other titles. There are some very unpleasant truths about this historical era and this was handled in an accessible, unflinching manner. The plot pulled me into the book, and the characters will remain in my mind.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating historical saga, and I believe there will be more to come!!! This is a story of two female doctor in the late 1800s. Althought I loved the male and female characters, the historical information fascinated me. The book shows how controseption was available even then. The book tells of the opposition, but also of how information was obtained. This is also a story of murderous abortion killers!! At the end of the novel, the author Sara Donati, added author's notes which was also very informative. The story is based on the author's family and goes into detail about the large numbers of abandoned children at this time in history. In addition, there are beautiful romances included! This is truly a remarkable book and it does end unresolved, but I, for one, will be looking forward to more!!! This book deserves an A++++
ConR More than 1 year ago
Fans of Sara Donati's Wilderness series will not be disappointed in her newest book. I haven't paid much attention, sorry to say, so didn't realize it involved descendants of the previous series until I started reading. Now, it's NOT a wilderness setting, but you will not be sorry you started reading this book!!! I want to preface this review for those of my friends who don't care for anything sexual in a book. That being said, I felt that what does occur in this story is appropriate and tasteful, in light of the characters. Donati has woven a beautiful story about 1880's New York City, with all the grittiness and beauty you could imagine. Her gift for description is beyond compare. I can't say enough about her ability to craft the story and weave you into the world she has created. This book resonates with life and combines history, romance, mystery, suspense and fact into a masterpiece. Can you tell I loved this book???
Mirella More than 1 year ago
Sara Donati's latest novel is set in the late 1800's in New York City. At the heart of the story are two women, Anna and Sophie Savard who are both doctors specializing in women's health. Along with their passion for their work and the women they help, they both struggle to survive in the male oriented occupation amd the social norms and prejudices of the time - namely, against contraception and abortion, no matter the reason. This is a long novel - about 700 pages or so. But don't let that distract you. Contained within every page are a barrage of historical details, accurate and relevant to the times. It is very much a novel about women's struggles and their fight to seize control of their own health. And although this character driven novel is not fast paced, it is nevertheless engrossing and a manual of learning for this very tumultuous time in history. Sara Donati includes numerous real, notorious characters of the time in addition to the well-crafted fictional ones. Her research into New York City before the turn of the century is definitely vivid, accurate, and compelling, as is her portrayal of doctors, nurses, and the health system of the time. All this makes this an important historical novel that not only entertains, but teaches us. The characters face plenty of hardships and there is the plight of three orphaned Italian children forcefully separated by authorities. The main characters show compassion in coming to their aid and searching for the lost children. And of course, there is a love story too, some midwifery, and the rise of some women out of slavery. Yes, there is a lot going on, which makes this novel truly rich and compelling. Truly, this is historical women's fiction at its best and I highly recommend it. Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The full review can also be viewed on http://www.historyandwomen.com/2015/10/book-review-gilded-hour-by-sara-donati.html and http://greathistoricalfiction.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-gilded-hour-by-sara-donati.html
Nanaliz More than 1 year ago
Sara Donati is a great writer - before electronic books came about, I read her entire Wilderness series. I was excited to read this book. Her research is impeccable, her characters strong. She does not shy away from tough subjects. It rates 5 stars
CDTStewart More than 1 year ago
I am not a professional reviewer, I am a reader. I mostly read historical fiction but this is the first book I have ever read that is set in the late 1800s in America. The description is very detailed and I was able to picture 1883 New York City very well, it intrigued me so much that I went on a search for pictures of New York City during that time period. The focus on two female doctors and the advancement of medicine for the time period I found fascinating. The story develops slowly and I am not sure if it is to really immerse you into NYC or lay the foundation for more books to come. While this book is descriptive, we do not get the characters full story. The book did lag at times and there were points were I felt I was sitting in a lecture room at a college. There were times I was thinking "Ok, I got it. Let's keep going." but not enough that I would walk away from the book. This is the first book in a series so I understand the overly descriptive passages to lay the setting and characters. But the story ends abruptly and that could be jarring for someone that did not know this is the beginning of a series. I was unaware of this fact and I was left wanting more, which I guess was the point. So well done to the author. However, I even said aloud "And???" when I read the last page. All in all, I like the story so far and the book intrigued me enough to think about women of the past and how far we have come since then while going about my day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Feathered_Quill1 More than 1 year ago
Sara Donati introduces the Savard cousins (Drs. Anna and Sophie) to her audience in her latest novel, The Gilded Hour, and delivers an interesting story set in a time of monstrous economic and industrial growth in our nation. New York City is bustling. Change is abound in 1883 (the Gilded Age) and construction is nearly completed on the Brooklyn Bridge. There is a stark contrast between the haves and have-nots that is blatantly present. Anthony Comstock is a force to reckon with as much as fear. His personal mission is to rid the city of indecency no matter the stakes. Dr. Anna Savard and her cousin Dr. Sophie Savard are successful physicians having graduated from the Woman’s Medical School and their commitment is to treat the most afflicted the city has to offer. Anna is drawn to orphaned children—lives that remind her of her own situation of growing up an orphan. In the latest round of immigrants to arrive in New York, Anna meets four orphaned children who have lost everything. Anna’s encounter resurrects a challenge within her to either deal with her past or accept it, move on and learn how to love. Sophie too is an orphan; a daughter of free people of color and her calling is obstetrics. Both women wrestle with the formidable Comstock and his relentless campaign to jail physicians who administer contraceptives or abortions to young and quite desperate mothers who cannot bear to have another child to care for. However, Sophie’s Hippocratic Oath overrides the consequences should she be caught defying Comstock. As a result, both doctors enter the dangerous web of Comstock’s goal to clean up the city of such despicable practices once and for all. While I’ve not had the pleasure of reading any of Ms. Donati’s Wilderness series, I will credit her with delivering an intriguing novel across the pages of The Gilded Hour. The timeline is an epically historic period of time in America. New York is rife with history and Ms. Donati zeroes in on its days gone by with an abundance of credibility and believability. Donati educates her audience on The Gilded Age and how America was a coveted place where dreams could be fulfilled for those willing and brave enough to risk their lives to experience it. Ms. Donati masters her descriptions of the distinct and blatant division between people who lived day in and day out with nothing while their counterparts luxuriated in opulence before them. She also has a knack for painting precise pictures and imagery through her prose; complementing the task with succinct dialogue among her characters. However, there is a specific frustration I experienced in reading The Gilded Hour: 741 pages is too long! Quite frankly, there were many occasions when I felt like a hamster on a wheel given the stall in the storyline. Ms. Donati took her stylistic artistry and restated passages from one chapter to the next in that she wrote the same thing with different words. If Ms. Donati would consider paring this story down by a couple of hundred pages, in my opinion, she would open the door to a broader audience to read it. Quill says: The Gilded Hour is an interesting journey through an iconic period of time in America.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Anna and Sophie are cousins, with the ties of family and history showing strongly in the story. Both graduates of the Women’s Medical College, these two are working against the odds: society doesn’t believe women are as viable as men in medicine. Beyond that frustration (which they both expected) there are the dangers, the hardships and the abject poverty that they will encounter through their work. Told with details that bring the city to light, good and bad, the voices of both Anna and Sophie are clear and present, engaging the reader, bringing empathy and a view that feels as if you could be there, watching over their shoulders. Their actions are completely in keeping with their own personalities and beliefs, fully integrated characters that are accessible and present for readers and a true treat to read. With a fairly formidable cast of characters, most secondary and met in passing, it would feel rushed and overwhelming if details and time were not taken. But Donati paints pictures with broad strokes, filling in details with smaller shadows and highlights, then penciling in the finest bits: in pieces, it looks disjointed and crowded, but all together it is masterful and flows perfectly from one moment to the next. Not quite a read in one sitting title at over 750 pages, this was one that I finished in 2 long blocks of reading, always tossing moments back and forth when the book was idle. A wonderful read. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
1883 – What’s it like to be a woman doctor, a female doctor of color, a defenseless orphan unable to speak English, a physician working with poor women who are unable to practice birth control and more? The Gilded Hour… is a novel about individuals who are willing to do anything to guarantee justice, who will attempt the impossible in order to assure integrity and control for those least likely to possess or receive either. Dr. Anna Savard and Dr. Sophie Savard are adult survivors. They were fortunate enough to be orphans who were cared for by strong-minded people who gave them unlimited opportunities. But they are still fighting a system that would deny them practicing among the poor and disenfranchised female population of New York City. Anna, a respected surgeon, is first moved to care about the plight of Italian immigrant children when she visits children who need to be vaccinated in order to be granted entry into America, who are separated from each other by a system that seeks to profit from children who have no one to protect their best interests. Rosa is the child who haunts Anna for Rosa will not be cajoled into silence about her missing brothers. Sophie, a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist, refuses to marry Cap, a tubercular patient in the latter stages of the disease. Initially he rejects her because he does not wish to spread his contagious disease and she rejects him as she does not want her eventual children to be scorned as children of color. Eventually, however, when Cap receives the opportunity for experimental treatment, they will both reconsider their options, only to be thwarted initially by formidable circumstances. Anna begins to care about Jack but is extremely hesitant to allow herself to care and perhaps have a different future because of her own past history. Their search for the missing Italian boys and then search for justice during a medical trial offers them both a chance to control their own destinies rather than be bound by inner lies. It’s fascinating to see how organizations operated and manipulated the medical community by making birth control, abortion, etc. criminal acts that could not only guarantee jail time for said physicians but ruin bright, caring careers. The Gilded Hour: A Novel is fascinating reading about a very volatile historical period as well as a fine, engaging read, with a little romance added as a quietly but poignant touch! Nicely done, again, Sara Donati!
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
This book may have taken me a few day to read but it was one of those novels that just touch you in the heart and soul. It is about 2 female doctors in New York City, NY during the Gilded Age which was the time after the Civil War and a lot of immigrants has come to the country. The two drs. are cousin once removed but one is of mixed race due to her mom being Cajun and her dad white and Indian and the other is just white but they love each other as sisters and live with a couple of aunt that are just wonderful. Dr. Anna is a Surgeon and Dr. Sophie works with women and children and they both work very hard helping people to heal. A lot of the patients are immigrants and women. Dr. Anna goes on a call to see some children that have to be checked in NJ before they can come on the ferry into the city to go to orphanges and she meets a wonderful Italian police officer. They don't hit it off right away but he likes her and helps her to try to find two little boys who have been separated from their sister who end up being taken in by Dr. Anna and her aunts. This story was written as a fiction, but the writer understands what happened to so many children of immigrants because it happened in her family. I understand because the storyline about the women having to many children and having so many health issues was told to me by aunt, she did some of her nursing training at the Women's and Childrens hospital in NYC during the 1950's. I loved it and I would recommend it to anybody who loves a good story and wants to learn a bit about history while reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel was very well-written, but it has a definite Anti-Christian, Pro-Abortion slant.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She scents the air for prey looking around at the surrounding foilage and pads over to a rabbit burtow bending down to check the scent