City of Promise: A Novel of New York's Gilded Age

City of Promise: A Novel of New York's Gilded Age

by Beverly Swerling
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City of Promise: A Novel of New York's Gilded Age by Beverly Swerling

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439136942
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 08/09/2011
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Beverly Swerling is a writer, consultant, and amateur historian. She lives in New York City with her husband.

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City of Promise 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
nyauthoress More than 1 year ago
Beverly Swerling's acclaimed New York City saga spans the time from the Civil War to the Gilded Age of the 1880s. The stories of the Turner and Devrey families continue. The book brims over with the city's explosive expansion, gripping characters and a plot that highlights 19th century social mores. The book cover features fireworks over the newly erected Brooklyn Bridge, but the real sparklers are within its pages. We have followed Beverly Swerling's characters and their descendants through two centuries since the New York City saga began in City of Dreams. In this latest installment, Josh and Mollie Turner negotiate the ups and downs of their marriage almost as well as their dream to build "French flats," leased one-floor apartments stacked into a high-rise well north of the city. We sense a collision course will ensue with the project but seeing how it unfolds is revelatory. Along the way we bump into arsonists, brothel owners, real estate tycoons, blackmailers, kidnappers and spies. The real star is New York itself. Swerling's ability to cram period detail into an absorbing plot makes you feel you're walking the city streets along with the characters. Grand mansions spread northward, subways threaten to run underground, and apartment buildings stretch skyward. Ride a steam-driven Otis elevator. Attend the opening of the Metropolitan Opera. Stay on top of events with the New York Times, an upscale newspaper. Learn about Edison's improvements to the Bell telephone, steel-girded apartment buildings and a fashion revelation called the maternity dress. Swerling expertly creates fascinating characters that inform us of history. Her knowledge of New York City's history and geography illuminates her subject.City of Promise is so absorbing that when the last page is turned, the reader is unaware that he had a history lesson to top that of a college classroom. No worries if you haven't read the other books in the series, as the last one stands on its own. How refreshing to see authors take a different tack than in previous books. Swerling has upped her game in City of Promise. Instead of relying on surgical procedures and salacious scenes, she turns her beloved Big Apple into a hero. Intrigue and entertainment are its close friends to the last page. In this reviewer's mind, it is the best book of the series. Simon and Schuster graciously provided the review copy. The opinions expressed are unbiased and entirely those of the reviewer. Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started with the first book City of Dreams and got hooked. An interesting historical fiction of New York City. If you like history and love New York City. Start with the first book of this series and read the second and third (City of God, City of Glory) and then read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All the books in the series are excellent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I throughly enjoyed the whole series, and hope she follows up City of Promise. There is more New York history yet to be explored.
JuttaCT More than 1 year ago
loved the story, the characters, the twists and turns and the backdrop of the greatest city in the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago