Monday, February 18, 2008

City of Glory

I'll start off by saying that I'm fascinated with the history of New York City. Whenever I run out of things to read, I pull down this huge book about NYC called Gotham, which traces the history of the city from its earliest days as a trading post through the turn of the century - 1900, that is.

So when I was at the bookstore and saw this book, by Beverly Swerling, I took a look at the blurb on the back cover. The reviewer for The Washington Post gave it a thumb's up, and since it was a historical novel about New York, I bought it.

Well, I'm not sure how accurate the history is. Swerling describes herself as an amateur historian, and she seems to have gotten her hands of a map of New York City from 1814, which is when the book is set, and used that to excess; she talks a lot about the locations of various buildings and homes. A few real people wander through - Jacob Astor, President Madison, Dolley Madison - and a few historical events are included - the sack of Washington by the British, the Battle of Lake Erie. But that's about it.

However, by the time I got disgusted with the lack of real history, I'd been sucked into the story, hook, line and sinker, and I found I couldn't put the book down. I read until after midnight Saturday night because I kept wanting to finish one more chapter.

Swerling has two more books in this "series," dealing with some of the same characters, and I think I may just have to get the books the next time I'm at the bookstore.

No comments: