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From Fields of Gold Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vision (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446602493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446602495
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,998,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her first novel since the blockbuster Scarlett, Ripley offers a lively historical about Southern romance and robber barony. As the 19th century draws to a close, Francesca (Chess) Standish, the drab daughter of an old, once wealthy Virginia family, meets handsome Nathaniel (Nate) Richardson, a struggling North Carolina tobacco farmer with lofty dreams. Though Nate is seven years her junior, Chess thinks he's her only opportunity for happiness. So she persuades him to marry her in exchange for the patent on her grandfather's cigarette manufacturing machine-an invention certain to revolutionize the tobacco industry and make its owner rich. Nate, who values ambition over emotion, agrees and, taking Chess home to his hardscrabble family farm and disapproving mother, sets about transforming himself into a cigarette tycoon. Although Chess is passionately in love with her new husband, he believes that "ladies only put up with" sex, so, while his sexual relations with her remain cold and mechanical, he indulges himself with a series of mistresses, including his brother's scheming wife. Only after Chess is long married and on a visit to England does she prove her husband wrong-in the arms of her cousin, the rakish Lord Randall "Mephisto" Standish. Despite a labored start and the lack of development of several pivotal characters and plot lines, Ripley's feisty heroine and vivid re-creation of the era (there are glimpses of contemporary celebrities including Lillie Langtry and Oscar Wilde) should prove irresistible to readers-or at least to those not put off by protagonists who make their fortunes by nearly singlehandedly creating the cigarette industry. 200,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; Doubleday Book Club Super Release; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

From the writer who was brave-or foolish-enough to attempt a sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (Scarlett, 1990) comes this tale of a wealthy, "ethically challenged" tobacco baron and the woman he loves.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The main character, Chess, is multi-faceted and very interesting.
procgirl
This novel seemed to include too much filler, had a very rushed ending, and was disappointing at best.
Tara Walker Gross
I was so pleased with the ending, and any reader will be as well.
Martha

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "lmarmarmar" on July 12, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Alexandra Ripley is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. From Scarlett, to On Leaving Charleston, and now From Fields of Gold, Mrs. Ripley has certainly gotten my attention. If you love an author who can mix drama, passion, humor, and reality with broad strokes of historical detail and intriguing dialogue then you'll love her novels. This one in particular tells the story of a lonely woman, Chess, from the post-Civil War ruins of tidewater Virginia who is so desperate for companionship that she agrees to give her grandfather's patent on a cigarette machine to a man that will agree to marry her and give her children. Boyishly handsome and crudely competitive Nate is the man that takes the deal and leads Chess into a life of triumph and turmoil. Follow Chess as she fails and succeeds in the attempt at finding her true spirit among all of her trials and tribulations. Ripley gives you a character with the strength and passion of Scarlett O'Hara, but the honor and heart of Melanie Wilkes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Martha on April 25, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a very good historical novel with likable characters and for the most part an intriguing plot. I never knew that Southerners and the English could be so scandalous! Chess is one of my favorites heroines ever, and Nate was interesting as well. I was so pleased with the ending, and any reader will be as well. I was a little displeased with Chess's behavior with Randall, not because she was having an affair, but with the utter consumption it had over her. And that Lily, wow, typical religious child gone wrong. Personally, I thought Ripley's Scarlett was superior, but I plan on reading her novels in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Busy Mom VINE VOICE on September 21, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of Ripley's books ~~ Charleston, Leaving Charleston, Scarlett and so on ~~ and while this book is a good read, it isn't her best book. I do miss her historical in-depth of her characters and where they reside. I love history and miss it in this novel. However, this is an exciting book based on exciting times after the Civil War and just before the end of the 1800s. Nate Richardson has dreams ~~ big dreams of getting out of the tobacco fields in North Carolina and manufacture cigarettes and strike it rich. Chess (Francesa) Standish's grandfather has a machine that isn't patented and agreed to give it to Nate ~~ and Chess offered herself as part of the bargain ~~ as his partner and wife. Chess is thirty years old and fears she'd never get married. Nate was her only chance.

Together, they created an empire that builds a town and builds their name across the Alantic to London where they eventually traveled to. In spite of Nate's affairs, the couple are happy together but it takes another man for Chess' affections to get Nate to come around and fall in love with his wife.

It's an interesting novel ~~ very glittery and stylish. It does lack substance in some ways, but it's still a good read. It's not my favorite read of the year but it's enjoyable enough that I will recommend it to others.

9-21-04
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kaduzy VINE VOICE on December 8, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With this book, Alexandra Ripley proved that once she used her own ideas and characters, she was capable of writing a decent book. I was never able to finish her snooze-fest "Scarlet" and I picked this one up out of curiosity to see if her writing held up on its own, without her piggybacking on what someone else has already created.

To my COMPLETE surprise, it did! That's not to say that there aren't flaws in this book. For one thing, I think she must have been under a publisher's deadline, because the book's final chapter or so is very rushed and unbelievable, and the whole thing ends VERY abruptly with nothing but a quick one-sentence wrap-up "epilogue" that resolves one of the two major plot points. The second major plot point is wrapped up with a sex scene and a long look, and a third minor plot point isn't resolved at all.

But really, it's a great read up to that point. The characters are vivid, the 19th century world comes alive, and the story is told in bite-sized vignette-esq. chuncks. It's surprisingly brisk and the pages just fly by. I've read it a bunch of times without getting tired of it. She even manages to pull off using Oscar Wilde as a character without making you roll your eyes . . . too much.

Overall, it's definitely worth a read -- especially if you like historical fiction as much as I do -- and should be a cinch to find at any used book sale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By procgirl on January 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read two of Ms. Ripley's books, Scarlett and From Fields of Gold. Both are simply wonderful! Reading Scarlett years ago made me curious about Ms. Ripley's other works, and From Fields of Gold was NOT a disappointment! The characters are beautifully drawn, the details vivid, and the story moves at a wonderful pace. The main character, Chess, is multi-faceted and very interesting. Her husband, Nate, is also well-developed. You really get a FEELING of who these people are, how they think, what is important to them. Best of all was the ENDING! I won't reveal a thing except to say it is very, very satisfying! Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ayden & Chase on January 20, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read Scarlett, Charleston, On Leaving Charleston, and now From Fields of Gold, and have loved reading everyone of them. I love this author!! From Fields of Gold tells the story of a woman, Chess, from the Civil War ruins of Virginia who agrees to give her grandfather's patent on a cigarette machine to a man that will agree to marry her and give her children. Nate is the man that takes Chess up on her offer which begins a life of wins and losses. As usual, Ripley presents a strong female character with passion and flaws. Don't miss this book!!!
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