This is a fascinating fictional account of life in New York City from 1834 to 1857, the years leading up to the Civil War. We learn about medicine, real estate, the shipping business, opium trade, and the Chinese immigrant community through the stories of two notable and intertwined New York families. The author wrote about previous generations of the Turner and the Devrey families in Shadowbrook, City of Dreams, and City of Glory, but you needn’t have read those books to enjoy this one. A Jewish family plays a significant role in this tale as well. There is an abundance of interesting detail about the notorious Bellevue Hospital, Protestant/Catholic relations, and the discovery of germs and anesthesia. The author weaves together history, romance, and culture into a book that is hard to put down. There is an extensive family tree for clarification. A map would have been helpful.
Miriam Bradman Abrahams is a Cuban-born, Brooklyn-raised, Long Island-residing mom. She is Hadassah Nassau’s One Region One Book chairlady, a freelance essayist, and a certified yoga instructor who has loved reviewing books for the JBC for the past ten years.