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Belle Cora (2014)

by Phillip Margulies(Favorite Author)
3.86 of 5 Votes: 1
0385532768 (ISBN13: 9780385532761)
review 1: In the spirit of full disclosure, I received this book free through the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. I am CRAZY about historical fiction. And "Belle Cora," by Phillip Margulies has plenty of both! The story revolves around Arabella Godwin, a New York City girl orphaned at an early age along with her four brothers. The family is split among boarding schools and distant relatives. Arabella and her brother, Lewis, ended up with her aunt and uncle, whom they had never before met, on a shabby farm in a tiny farming community. Life was hard, and Arabella had not been raised as a meek farmer's daughter, so her life there was hard and lonely. A number of events occurred, and eventually Arabella was married to a young preacher and headed for San Francisco at the very early days ... moreof the Gold Rush. When things went south with her marriage, she launched the career for which she would be forever infamous as one of the best known madams in San Francisco and points north. It was a wonderful way to learn details of that time in history as viewed through Arabella's eyes. Although she was now known far and wide as Belle Cora. She had the loveliest girls, the most luxurious house of ill repute, and claimed the city's wealthiest and most powerful men as her clients. Margulies did a fantastic job of describing the real life events of the time period, including the constant burning down and rebuilding of the city by the bay, leading up to and including the Civil War. I was amazed at how well he wrote in the voice and character of a woman. This is not always the case, and I've read many novels where the attempt to get into a woman's frame of mind was a total disaster. He also kept the story moving along - the amount of fictional detail he added was amazing! I took this book to Jamaica and had a hard time talking to my fellow vacationers at the pool and on the beach because I couldn't put the book down. Yes - it's that good! Two big thumbs up from me and five stars. Bravo, Mr. Margulies! Can't wait for your next one!
review 2: The first time I began reading this book, it was a sample excerpt from Kindle which in no way did the book justice. It began in the first chapter. To really "get" this book, one must read the Foreward and Author's Introduction, which set the stage and give the background information necessary for understanding the story. I am so glad I picked up a print version and tried again. I truly loved this book. After surviving the San Francisco earthquake, a wealthy elderly woman reveals her life story as a former madam. The story begins with her childhood in New York City, where she was part of a large, well-to-do family. I won't provide spoilers, but the story follows her throughout her life and loves, triumphs and tragedies until she decides to give up being a madam and assume a respectable identity where no one knows her past. As a lover of historical fiction, I found this book fascinating. less
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oh my goodness. this was goood. read this book.
really, really want this book!
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