19 December, 2015

The gilded hour by Sara Donati

The turn of the last century in New York was both a heady and desperate time. Wealth usually equaled luxury and ease. Poverty entailed a mad scramble to keep a family fed and housed.

The female dominated Quinlan/Savard household is wealthy but the Savard cousins are not dilettantes, they are both hard-working doctors. They face suspicion from some of their male colleagues, but are welcomed by their mostly female patients for both their care and expertise. Their greatest challenge lies in helping women with their pregnancies, and with birth control at a time when it was illegal to give contraceptive advice. Anna and Sophie could well be arrested and tried if they helped their patients in this way.

We see the horrors of botched abortions and women worn thin with continuous pregnancy through their eyes. Yet there were men who took all this lightly, one even had a bet with his brother as to how many children their respective wives could produce!

This is a window into in to a little known slice of history, with admirable and witty characters.  Perfect!

Title:The gilded hour
Author: Sara Donati
Reviewed by Christine O.

Christine has worked in North Shore libraries for over 20 years. She likes her fiction to be credible and her nonfiction to be accessible.

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