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