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City of Dreams: A Novel of Early Manhattan
by Beverly Swerling
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 2001
Category:
Avg Rating: (2 reviews)
The tapestry of early American society is hung out for a fresh viewing in this ambitious historical novel of 1660s New Amsterdam. The English Turners are brother and sister, surgeon/barber and apothecary. Devoted to one another, Sally and Lucas quickly learn to make their way in the harsh, prosperous new world, aiding the Dutch governor Stuyvesant's family and making their reputation in the bargain. Then Lucas sells Sally in marriage to Jacob Van der Vries, a cruel, foolish physician, in order to save her life, Lucas says, but she believes it is to buy his lover's freedom to marry, and she never forgives him. This rift begins a feud between the Van der Vries (later Devreys) and Turners that lasts through the American Revolution. Colorful characters vie with historical figures for attention on this broad stage: there's Jennet, Sally's great-granddaughter, who marries a wealthy Jew; Caleb Devrey, Jennet's first cousin, who loved her as a boy, but becomes her bitterest enemy; Morgan, Jennet's son, a privateer and patriot; and Morgan's best friend and former slave, Cuffy, whose fate is bound to Morgan's by love, hate and the same woman the gorgeous Roisin Campbell aka Mistress Healsall. The healing profession is carried down through each generation of Turners and Devreys, and Swerling's descriptions of early operations with crude instruments are detailed and riveting. The city of New York is a character in its own right, but even it cannot compete with the richly drawn, well-rounded people Swerling creates. This engrossing, generously imagined tale deserves the large audience it should find at a time when the founding fathers reign triumphant in biography. (Oct.) Forecast: The size of this hefty debut may actually be a selling point, since it promises an epic tale. The colorful period jacket art should appeal to browsers, too.

Reviews

New favorite author! - June 9th, 2006
I discovered Beverly Swerling about 2 months ago when I purchased a bargain book from Amazon. City od Dreams has it all. It is a family saga which begins in the 1600's, abook about medicical practices, Indians and well researched history. it is a page turner!!!! Next read Shadowbrook a story of the French and Indian war. Again, a page turner. I hate to see her books end. I recommend her to all of my friends.

Wonderful Medical Historical Novel - December 4th, 2005
I appreciate all the research that went into the writing of this book and the next book

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