Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Belle Cora by Phillip Margulies

      "I had crossed all the lines they you say you can never cross without being destroyed, and here I was, alive and strong."  

   In the grand tradition of Moll Flanders and Vanity Fair, this is the story of a good girl who became a bad woman. At the old homestead her name is never spoken and her picture is turned to the wall, but in the vast world beyond everyone remembers her as the celebrated madam of the finest parlor house in San Francisco. Now, at the end of her life, after half a century of successfully hiding the details of her scarlet past, Belle has decided to reveal all her secrets.
  In 1838, Arabella Godwin and her beloved younger brother, Lewis, are orphaned and shipped away from their home in New York City to live on their aunt's desolate farm upstate. The comforts she has always known are replaced with grueling work and a pair of cunning enemies in her cousins Agnes and Matthew. Amid this bleak existence, there emerges light in the form of a local boy, Jeptha Talbot.  He is everything good that Arabella craves. His love saves her and becomes an obsession that will last her whole life.  
Time and again she will be broken and remade. She will bear a gambler’s child, build a fortune, commit murder, leave a trail of aliases in her wake and sacrifice almost everything—though perhaps not enough--for the man whose love she cannot bear to lose.  At last her destiny will take her to Gold Rush California, to riches and power.
 Until the day she mysteriously disappears.
 Told with unflagging wit and verve, Belle Cora brings to life a turbulent era and an untamed America on the cusp of greatness. Its heroine is a woman in conflict with her time, who nevertheless epitomizes it with her fighting spirit, her gift for self-invention, and her determination to chart her own fate.

About The Author:

Phillip Margulies is the author of several books on science, politics, and history for young adults. He has won two New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

My Review: 

Talk about living history, as soon as you pick up this book you are walking in Arabella's shoes. There were many times when I was wanting to help this girl/woman. Such tragedy she suffered as a young girl, born with the preverbal silver spoon, and then having it all gone.
Rejection by Grandparents, broke my heart. This book has it all, lots of historical times...walking San Francisco, and living in the moments. We even experience of the Civil War, and losses. Travel around 1800's New York City.
Can't say I agree with her profession, and her recruiting, but the story of what made her who she was is excellent. If you are looking for a story of the raw life in California...Gold Rush time, this is for you. It is a rather long book, but very rich. Enjoy!

I received this book through the publisher Doubleday, and Edleweiss, and was not required to give a positive review.

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