THE GILDED HOUR
(Berkley Hardcover; September 1, 2015; ISBN 9780425271810; $27.95)
by bestselling author Sara Donati!
A tale of two female doctors in Gilded Age New York City, Donati’s latest sweeping historical novel tackles women’s rights in the late 19th Century.
Donati, bestselling author of the historical Wilderness series, returns this Fall and examines the lives of two descendants of her famous characters Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bonner: their granddaughters Liliane (Anna) and Sophie Savard. Their story is set against the backdrop of the wondrous and exciting Gilded Age, one of the most fascinating periods in America’s history, in New York City. THE GILDED HOUR highlights the touchstones of the Gilded Age, which was characterized by enormous economic and industrial growth as well as massive immigration and urbanization, which allowed extreme poverty to coexist with extreme wealth in New York City. Donati’s immensely researched novel explores the real-life historical context of the Comstock Act, key advances in sanitation and public health, career opportunities for 19th century women and contraception practices. It’s also a beautiful novel, filled with mystery and intrigue.
A brief summary of the book:
The year is 1883 and New York City is aflutter with extraordinary change. As the Brooklyn Bridge nears completion in the background, the gap between severe poverty and extreme wealth and splendor is visible on every corner. Anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock is determined to purge the city of anything indecent, and will stop at nothing to make sure his agenda is pursued. Anna Savard and her cousin Sophie Savard have become successful physicians, graduates from the Woman’s Medical School, and they treat the city’s most vulnerable occupants.
Anna works with orphaned children who remind her of her own upbringing as an orphan herself. When she encounters four children that have lost everything, she is faced with dealing with the pain of her past or choosing to allow love into her life. Sophie, the orphan daughter of free people of color, is an obstetrician. Comstock’s anti-vice crusade puts any physician administering contraception or abortions in harm’s way. Sophie struggles between upholding the oath as she took as a physician and helping a young, desperate mother, and fearing for her own life if she dares defy Comstock. Her choices catapult both her and Anna into the orbit of this very dangerous man.
Fans of the Wilderness series will see some glimmers of the characters they have grown to love, but new readers will enjoy THE GILDED HOUR as a standalone novel set in one of the most exciting times in America’s—and New York City’s—history.
Please visit www.saradonati.com for more information on her work!