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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review - City of God by Beverly Swerling

I am still trying to upload images (and do it properly) and failing miserably! The image of the book cover is fine but why do those extra bits come in. Help!!! someone out there who is more savvy than me.
Before I start on this review would like to just say that I was interviewed by Reading through Life ( and you can also find me there. I was quite chuffed really as this was my first interview.
Back to the book. The book was set in the era leading upto the Civil War and is set in New York city at a time when the city was just beginning to develop. The main characters of the story are from the Dewrey and Turner families - but the addition of a mistress from China whom Samuel just cannot bear to let go, the formation of a strong Jewish community in the city and the hypocricy prevalent at the time over the position of women in particular add to the nuances of the book. To this mix add a clash of views and interests between Protestants and Catholics (to this extent I never knew!) and you have a fascinating story of a fascinating family and a city both so very much linked with each other. Also add strong women in the form of Ah Chee the amah of the concubine, Carolina the lovely wife of Samuel who learns to fall out of love with a husband who never ever loved her, and Dr Nicholas Turner a very brave doctor who takes on Bellevue higher ups full on - determined to make something of this hospital which at the time was truly horrific.
If anyone would like to know what 19th century America was about this is a book to read. The book apart from being a family saga and a saga of a well loved city also highlights subjects such as slavery and abolition, the development of trade unions and strikes, new technologies in medicine, religious ideologies conflicting and so much more.
A fascinating book which I borrowed from Carnegie library.


  1. This one's sitting on my shelf. Hope to get to it later this year.

  2. Thank you for popping over to my blog. With images, you have to save them first to your computer and then upload them from there - that might get rid of the other bits. Maybe!

  3. Thanks Jayne - thats what I do but...