Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati

Description (from cover):

'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 and the transcendent power of courage and love...

The year is 1883, and in New York City, it's a time of dizzying splendor, crushing poverty, and tremendous change. With the gravity-defying Brooklyn Bridge nearly complete and New York in the grips of anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock, Anna Savard and her cousin Sophie--both graduates of the Woman's Medical School--treat the city's most vulnerable, even if doing so may put 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 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, emotionally gripping novel that proves Sara Donati is an author at the height of her powers.'

My thoughts:

This book was quite long at some 700 plus pages, but it was a good read. It didn't feel like I was reading such a big book and it was quite the riveting story. It has some romance in it, but it was tastefully done. I loved the characters, the setting and more importantly, the plot. This was a beautiful story about two women doctors in the big New York City. These doctors are considered to be outcasts because they are woman and Sophie is treated even more so because she is half African-American. Both Sophie and Anna are passionate about women's rights and healthcare and have to really test their morals and medical learning when poor women come to them asking for birth control or other methods of preventing pregnancy. At this time in history, birth control was considered to be a crime and no doctor could tell a patient how to prevent a pregnancy.

Sophie and Anna soon find themselves embroiled in legal troubles and face up against Anthony Comstock who believes himself to be the moral leader of the city. Will Comstock destroy Anna and Sophie's careers and everything that they worked so hard to gain? This book has a little bit of everything in it: a murder mystery, romance, suspense and historical fiction. It was hard not to stay up late during the night reading this book to see what happened next. I have enjoyed several of Donati's books in the past and this one did not disappoint. I love her writing style and her rich historical detail that really sets the tone for her novels. 

Historical fiction and suspense collide in this book and make it one that is truly remarkable. This was a beautiful story that I simply couldn't get enough of. This book really wants to make me explore the way medicine and women were treated in the medical profession at this time in history. The author provided a lot of books in her historical note that explained where she got her research from and I think I might end up checking into some of those books. Another fantastic read by Sara Donati that you will not want to miss.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  The Gilded Hour
Author:  Sara Donati
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  September 1, 2015
Pages:  752
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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