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While working for founding father Gouverneur Morris, a painter-historian falls in love with Morris' young wife, who later flees her native Virginia under the shadow of accusations of her involvement in two murders
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The weight of American history in the decades surrounding the War of 1812 crushes Bloom's first novel, an ambitious but tedious saga of unrequited love and family affairs. Daniel Carey is a New York printer of moderate means with hopes of becoming a historian to rival Edward Gibbons, who attracts the favorable attention of Gouverneur Morris with a chronicle of slavery in Manhattan and his ardent support of emancipation. Summoned into service on various errands for the aristocratic Morris, including a trip to France that puts him in the middle of the Napoleonic wars, he becomes a reliable if extremely peripheral agent, able to continue his historical research while discharging his duties. But his occasional contact with the mysterious and sensual Nancy, Gouverneur's wife, leaves him hopelessly in love, even when an old scandal reemerges involving her, the illustrious Randolph family of Virginia, and infanticide, and his patron asks him to investigate the claims against her. Carey vanishes abruptly from the novel, however, when it reverts to Nancy's past and the affairs of the Randolphs, for whom slavery was also a painful, divisive issue. The eyewitness history--with the New York militia in the campaign to invade Canada, Manhattan life and politics in the early 19th century, American first families, Napoleon's Europe- -by turns rich and fulsome, is never more than an end in itself as the dramatic sparks needed to quicken the plot fail to materialize. Ponderous and leaden, convoluted, an epic but in tedium res. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
With limited success, first novelist Bloom fictionalizes the history of the U.S. from 1792 to 1833, employing two vastly different though connecting points of view. Daniel Carey, a middle-class printer and historian in New York City, narrates the first half of the story. Through his work for famous diplomat and politician Gouverneur Morris, Carey participates in the turmoil of his times, meeting famous men, traveling to France during Napolean's reign, fighting in the War of 1812 and falling in (unrequited) love with Morris's wife, Nancy. The rest of the story, told by an omniscient narrator, explores Nancy's past--she was accused of killing her newborn baby (suspected to have been fathered by her sister's husband) and driven from her family's plantations. Dense with details about Virginia and New York politics, slave life and the workings of legislative and judicial systems, the novel is tremendously educational but is only fleetingly absorbing as fiction. Its plot and characters aren't vivid enough to transform a heavy load of facts and a dense narrative into an exciting read.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Ballantine Books, 1991. Hardcover. Condition: New. FAST SHIPPING & FREE TRACKING! The pages of this book are clean and unmarked. Stated first edition with a full number line.There is very little shelf wear. 100% Money Back Guaranteed. Seller Inventory # 148730
Book Description Ballantine Books, 1991. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0345369572
Book Description Ballantine Books, 1991. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0345369572