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City of Ash: A Novel Paperback – June 7, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Leave it to Chance (Prima Donna) to pen a fine historical that’s both a gripping novel and a study of the constraints placed on 19th-century women. Stellar characterization, terrific dialogue, and a twisty plot make this story of old-time Seattle pop." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Evocative of Seattle’s rough history and early society…as fun to read as Jane Adams’ Seattle Green (1987), which is set around the same time." —Booklist


"Chance’s sharp writing, believable and detailed historical setting, and strong female characters keep her latest from descending into melodrama."—Library Journal
 
“Wrapped in a bonbon of juicy melodrama […] flourishes of page-turning suspense.”-- Agnes Torres Al-Shibibi, Seattle Times

“A few years ago Chance moved from romance to historical fiction with grace and panache. Her powerfully written feminist novels have strong appeal for both long-time fans and newcomers. Her characters leap from the pages as her dialogue grips readers. The dark and wicked twists plot turns are stellar.” -- RTBookReviews.com 
 
“A riveting, intoxicating story with multi-dimensional characters and elements that reminded me of two of my favorite movies—George Cukor's Victorian-set Gaslight and the late '50s Hitchcock thriller, Vertigo…One grand play you won't want to miss.”--Nancy Davis, RomanceReaderAtHeart.com
 
“Megan Chance breathes life into Geneva and Beatrice, actresses in the city's premier theater company. Although they should be sworn enemies -- they're sharing the affections of one scheming, abusive man -- a winning combination of girl power and circumstance transforms them into heroines of an edgy historical novel that proves impossible to put down.”-- Andrea Hoag, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Throw caution to the wind and just immerse yourself in the absolute drama of it all, you’re in for a wild and amusing ride through muddy Seattle streets.”—Seattlest.com

  

About the Author

MEGAN CHANCE is the author of Prima Donna, The Spiritualist, An Inconvenient Wife, and Susannah Morrow.  A former television news photographer, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307461033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307461032
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,653,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Megan Chance is the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of several novels. The Best Reviews has said that she writes "fascinating historical fiction." Her books have been chosen for the Borders Original Voices program and IndieBound's Booksense. A former television news photographer with a BA from Western Washington University, Megan Chance lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters. Visit her at www.meganchance.com

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book to mystery lovers.
starula
The emotional punch her characters pack brings the story to the forefront as believable and spellbinding.
Lady Writer
Enjoyable easy read in an interesting time period.
JONI FUNK

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By corndoggie1 on July 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ginny is a spoiled Chicago socialite, married to a husband whom she thought loved her for what she was: outspoken, a lover of the arts, and quite daring for her time. Instead, after her marriage it becomes obvious that Nathan wants her to conform to society's expectations of women of the time. So she does something foolish, which results in an ultimatum from her husband and her wealthy father: shape up and move to Seattle to escape the "shame" she's caused in Chicago else they will have her committed to an asylum.

Meanwhile, Bea is an actress with a theater troupe in Seattle. She's getting a little old (30ish), so she's desperate to achieve her dream of being a lead actress or it will be too late. Apparently, the theater is a bit of a cut throat place with actresses back stabbing each other to be the company's lead. Bea is tired of being number two, so now she's willing to play dirty if she has to to get to the top. She's never taken a "patron", i.e., a man she's willing to sleep with in exchange for his funding the troupe, but when the wealthy Nathan Langley moves to town and is interested in being her patron, she figures it's now or never.

So Nathan is the connection, as Ginny's husband and Bea's lover, that brings the two women together. Then the plot really starts to thicken.

I loved the story due to the setting, the time period, and the author's writing. If you liked her previous book The Spiritualist then you'll like this book too. There's only one hesitation I have in recommending it though, and it's a spoiler ----> *******SPOILER******** If you require a happy ending, then this book may not be for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barb Hendee on July 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My first Megan Chance novel was An Inconvenient Wife. I then read Susanna Morrow, The Spiritualist, and Prima Donna. I even looked up some of her older works like The Portrait.

I've never understood why she's not a wildly best-selling writer.

City of Ash is another wonderfully "readable" novel with engaging characters that grabbed me from the first few scenes. Here, Chance incorporates her usual first person narrative, but she alternates the chapters' POV between two female characters who are each telling her "own" story.

As the lives of a fallen socialite and a struggling actress begin to collide in late nineteenth century Seattle, an exciting story begins to unfold.

There are some similar echos to several of Chance's previous novels here: an unlikely friendship between mistrusting women; cold-hearted iron-fisted husbands; sensitive artists; nineteenth century theatre; and even a seance (smiles).

But seriously, if you're looking for an entertaining read that rises *far* above a lot of drek currently being published, I highly recommend this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Louise Marley on July 15, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Beautifully researched novel, with characters from two clearly delineated social classes. Chance knows what she's doing, and she gets better with every book. A wonderful read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lady Writer on January 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
City of Ash by Megan Chance

The desperation of poverty, the confines faced by women in 19th century high society, greed and betrayal all come together in the magnificent City of Ash by Megan Chance.

Geneva Langley is a woman ahead of her time, and she has brought scandal to the family once too often. A patron of the arts, all of Chicago's high-society knows Ginny, but one innocuous indiscretion sends her and her gold-digging husband, Nathan, to c.1889 Seattle, in the Washington Territories. There, a new and unfamiliar brand of high society ostracizes Ginny while taking pity on a scheming Nathan as he tries to carve out a political career for himself in the growing west.

Beatrice Wilkes is a stage actress almost past her prime, until Nathan Langley sees her perform on stage. He begins an affair with the desperate actress, and suddenly she is the toast of the town. Nathan's manipulations bring his unsuspecting wife into the theater as a patron, pitting the women against each other for the stage, for Nathan, and for the affections of the brilliant but impoverished playwright Sebastian DeWitt. The women become bitter enemies until the tragic Seattle fire forces them together to defeat the evil that will destroy them both, and raise the status of the talented playwright who can ultimately save them.

Megan Chance has done a wonderful job setting the stage for this dramatic story set in a Seattle many do not know. The emotional punch her characters pack brings the story to the forefront as believable and spellbinding. Ms. Chance gives Geneva and Beatrice their own voices in separate first-person point-of-view chapters.
Read more ›
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By shariee in sac town on October 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was so excited to start this book. The premise of the story was intriguing; and the first few chapters had me well interested. Then entered Bea and this whole book took a nose dive for the worst. I actually like Bea as a character but the way her voice was rendered was awful. Just pure vulgar awfulness. There was more "F" bombs in the book than I care to count. The voice of Bea was just not believable. Considering the year was 1889- are you kidding me. This was definitely the tale of two novels. Part of the book, you feel the year is 1889; others times- hello 2011. I don't think the author captured the spirit of the year very well. The plot was not believable at ALL. I couldn't wait for this book to be over. In short, this was an awful hot mess.
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