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Love, Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romanceby Jean Zimmerman
Synopses & Reviews
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 worlds 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 Chicagos Columbian Exposition, a colossus intended to match the Statue of Libertys grandeur. Together Edith and Newton battled on behalf of New Yorks poor and powerless as reformers who never themselves wanted for anything. Through it all, they sustained a strong-rooted marriage.
From the splendid cottages of the Berkshires to the salons of 1890s Paris, Love, Fiercely is the real story of a world long relegated to fiction.
"In one of his most controversial paintings, John Singer Sargent captured the unconventionality of a young couple in simple street clothes that belie their wealthy Gilded Age roots. Zimmerman's (Manhattan) unsentimental depiction of vibrant Edith Minturn Stokes (nicknamed 'Fiercely' by her brother) and the cerebral but original architect Newton Stokes showcases the major episodes in the lives of the couple, whose stilted courtship led to lifelong marital devotion that lasted through success, fame, and eventual impoverishment. The force of character that Sargent captured in his portrait of Edith was also embodied as the sculptural face of the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition's The Republic, making the young suffragist an icon of the era even as her husband designed greatly improved tenement housing for the poor and began the collection that would grow into his masterful six-volume iconography of Manhattan. More of an appreciation for lives well lived than a traditional romance, this biography offers insight into the wealthy during the increasingly progressive turn of the 20th century. 16 pages of b&w photos. Agent: Betsy Lerner of Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Gilded Age New York love story of a beautiful heiress who fought for women's rights and a wealthy young architect, who were captured in the John Singer Sargent painting Mr. and Mrs. I.N. Phelps Stokes.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR LOVE, FIERCELY
“Love, Fiercely is an exquisitely rendered portrait of passion and privilege in the Gilded Age”—Deborah Davis, author of Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X
FROM LOVE, FIERCELY
Edith had welcomed Newton to her family’s home. She was friendly, though not overwhelmingly so. She was not a flirt. She had a wonderful smile, but most of the time her expression was dauntingly serious.
A few days later, they again took to the road for a walk, and climbed over a low fence into a rocky pasture. The river spread out below them, a basin of cool, mirrored metal. They talked of nothing—then, suddenly, of everything. After the gush of Montmorency Falls, after two weeks of picnics and parties, after carriage rides and soulful hikes along the rocky shore, after attending the progress of McKim’s immense riverfront confection, clumsy Newton Stokes finally won over fierce Edith Minturn.
Reader, she said yes.
About the Author
Jean Zimmerman is the author of four previous books, including The Women of the House: How a Colonial She-Merchant Built a Mansion, a Fortune and a Dynasty. She earned an MFA in writing from the Columbia University School of the Arts and has published her poetry widely in literary magazines. She lives with her family in Westchester County, New York.
Table of Contents
Enchanted Woods 3
Flying Cloud 13
Madison to the River 34
Big Mary 52
The Howling Swell 69
The Personal as the Political 82
Grand Mistakes 94
Rich and Romantic 105
A Pleasure to Paint Her Portrait 119
The American Girl Herself 136
For Richer or Poorer 158
Smaller Castles 181
Pretty Manners 192
Silent Bearers of Many a Half-Read Message 205
A Fine Object Lesson in Good Construction 220
Something in the Nature of the Marvelous 244
No Other City Will Live in the Future
as New York Will 261
Our Goddess 278
Select Bibliography 290
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