Love, Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romance

Posted by admin | Posted in Love | Posted on 03-04-2012-05-2008

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Love, Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romance

Love, Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romance

The New York love story of a beautiful heiress and a wealthy young architect, captured in a famous John Singer Sargent painting In Love, Fiercely Jean Zimmerman re-creates the glittering world of Edith Minturn and Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes. Contemporaries of the Astors and Vanderbilts, they grew up together along the shores of bucolic Staten Island, linked by privilege—her grandparents built the world’s fastest clipper ship, his family owned most of Murray Hill. Theirs was a world filled with mansions, balls, summer homes, and extended European vacations. Newton became a passionate preserver of New York history and published the finest collection of Manhattan maps and views in a six-volume series. Edith became the face of the age when Daniel Chester French sculpted her for Chicago’s Columbian Exposition, a colossus intended to match the Statue of Liberty’s grandeur. Together Edith and Newton battled on behalf of New York’s poor and powerless as reformers who never themselves

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
An Historical True Romance, February 24, 2012
By 
Book Addict (Midwest) –
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This review is from: Love, Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romance (Hardcover)
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This is such a lovely book. It is the real life story of Edith Minturn and Newton Stokes, two of the movers and shakers in the late 1800s New York. The image on the cover is, of course, by John Singer Sargent. The author has done a very credible job of recreating the era, breathing life into the main characters, and conveying to the reader just what a significant wave of change these two were both riding and also…creating. We always believe that is is only our own generation that experiences the angst of change, forgetting that this is, indeed, the history of time.

Edith…the beautiful socialite who is leading the charge on many fronts…independence, suffragette, intelligence. And her husband, Newton Stokes, nearly inconcievable wealth and social stature. It’s a beautiful love story but not at all simplistic or predictable. And engaging book that is beautifully written. Get it!

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Heiress And The Architect / Philanthropy And Preservation Among The Wealthy During The Gilded Age, February 14, 2012
By 
J. A. Bell “she reads xyz” (Florida, USA) –
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(REAL NAME)
  

This review is from: Love, Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romance (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

This double biography of Edith (Minturn) Stokes and Newton Stokes was inspired by the double portrait, “Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Phelps Stokes,” by John Singer Sargent, painted in 1897. Isaac Newton Stokes and Edith Minturn had been born into two of New York’s wealthiest families in the same year, 1867 and grew up during “The Gilded Age,” the period of rapid economic development following the Civil War and Post-Reconstruction era of the late 1900s. Although the Minturn and Stokes families were both members of “the 400″ (the “haves” of this era, those who qualified to hobnob with the Astors) and both attended the same Episcopal services at Christ Church during their formative years, they didn’t marry until they were 28 years old.

Details of the indefinite courtship between Edith and Newton, their eventual marriage, their Paris years and their subsequent lives that focused on philanthropy and preservation are skillfully covered by Jean Zimmerman. I felt immersed in “the age” in this comprehensive study of the progressive times, the habits of the very wealthy and their enclaves along the east coast, and the history of New York City.

Thanks to Newton Stokes, there exists today (mostly in university libraries, but also in private collections) a six-volume collection of the history of New York with maps and engravings. Invaluable, because, according to the author, “None of the contemporary histories of New York could have been written without the `Iconography’ as a source.” The acquisition of materials for his “Iconography” and the printing of 402 copies, combined with a tough economy (the Great Depression of 1929) reduced Newton’s wealth of approximately $1.75 million to less than $50,000.

This book contains an “Index,” a “Select Bibliography” and many photos and reproductions of family portraits by well-known painters of “The Gilded Age.”

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