City of God: Book summary and reviews of City of God by Beverly Swerling

City of God

A Novel of Passion and Wonder in Old New York

by Beverly Swerling

City of God
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2008
    544 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

City of God, the latest installment in Beverly Swerling's gripping saga of old New York, takes readers to Manhattan's clamorous streets as the nation struggles to find a compromise between slave and free, but hears the drums of war. This is New York when one synagogue is no longer adequate for thousands of Jewish immigrants, when New Evangelicals rouse complacent Protestants with the promise of born-again salvation, and when it first sees Catholic nuns and calls them whores of Satan. It is New York when ships bring the fabulous wealth of nations to its wharves and auction houses, while a short distance away rival gangs fight to the death with broken bottles and teeth filed to points.

Into this churning cauldron comes young Dr. Nicholas Turner. Nick knows that the discoveries of antisepsis and anesthesia promise medical miracles beyond the dreams of ages. He learns that to make such progress reality he must battle the city's corrupt politics and survive the snake pit that is Bellevue Hospital, all the while resisting his love for the beautiful Carolina Devrey, his cousin's wife.

Sam Devrey, head of the shipping company that bears his name and a visionary who believes the future will be ushered in by mighty clipper ships spreading acres of sail, battles demons of his own. The life he lives with Carolina in the elegant brownstone on newly fashionable Fifth Avenue is a charade meant to disguise his heart's true home, the secret downtown apartment of the exquisite Mei-hua, his Chinese child-bride.

The worlds of all four are imperiled when Sam must rely on Nick's skills to save the woman he loves, and only Nick's honor guards Sam's secret. On a night when promises of hellfire seem to become reality and the city nearly burns to the ground, Carolina and Mei-hua confront the truth of their duplicitous marriages. Rage and revenge join love and passion as driving forces in a story played out against the background of the glittering New York that rises from the ashes, where Delmonico's and the Astor House host bejeweled women and top-hatted men, both with the din of commerce in their ears and the glint of gold in their eyes.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

".... though the last hundred pages drop off in intensity, there's still much to commend in Swerling's great eye for detail, convincing and conniving characters, and subplots that really flesh out 19th-century New York." - Publishers Weekly.

"The reader will be carried along by the fast-paced story ... This book can be read independently of the first three with little loss to the current story." - Library Journal.

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Author Information

Beverly Swerling Author Biography

Photo: Sigrid Estrada

Beverly Swerling is a writer, a consultant, and an avid amateur historian. She was born in Boston 1941 and raised there. She spent much of her adult life in Europe and New York City.

Her works include City Of Dreams, Shadowbrook, City of Glory, City of God, City of Promise, and Bristol house.

Her novel City of Dreams was published in 2001. It is the first of a series of best-sellers that feature the intertwined histories of two dynasties, the Turners and the Devreys through the early centuries of the United States.

She lives in New York City with her husband.

Link to Beverly Swerling's Website

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