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The Gilded Years: A Novel Paperback – June 7, 2016
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Praise for The Gilded Years:
“Smart and thoughtful, The Gilded Years is a must-read this summer.” (PopSugar)
"Enticing...As Anita is drawn into Lottie's elite world, her secret roars beneath everything, threatening every step she takes." (Bustle)
“Tanabe’s thought-provoking novel raises challenging questions about how race, gender, and class advance and limit opportunities. There is plenty of material here for book group discussions.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“Tanabe immerses the reader in a world of romance and manners, but also leaves you gripping the edge of your seat…An elegant and extremely gratifying imagining of one remarkable woman's life.” (USA Today)
"Anita is the first African American to attend Vassar College— and, because of her light skin, no one knows. That is, until her roommate, a scion of an NYC family, jeopardizes her secret — and degree. Karin Tanabe based her 1897-set story on real events." (Us Weekly)
"Based on the true story of the first African-American woman to ever go to Vassar College. The catch? No one knew she was African-American. After befriending the school’s Serena van der Woodsen, she has to work even harder at keeping her secret. Think: “Gatsby” meets college meets an impressive beach read." (The Skimm)
“Tanabe smoothly blends history, race and class into a whip-smart novel [with a] vividly complex heroine." (Essence)
“This fictionalized take on Hemmings’s real-life story animates her struggle to straddle two worlds, each with its own separate definition of freedom.” (Good Housekeeping)
“Elegant and whip-smart...Tanabe’s irresistible narrative is a brilliant tale between two worlds, and one of the most effective stories you’ll read this summer.” (NY1)
“[The Gilded Years] is trademark Tanabe: a juicy plot, charming writing, shrewd observations. But here, there are also shades of Edith Wharton…This story of race and class is compelling and wise.” (Toronto Star)
“In Anita’s captivating story, heightened by richly drawn characters, Tanabe insightfully grapples with complex and compelling issues.” (Booklist)
"This charming, thoughtful, and affecting book tells the story of the first black woman to attend Vassar. That she attended as a white woman, passing and always at risk of exposure, drives the plot and allows Tanabe to tell a rich, complicated story about race, gender, education, love, and belonging in the Gilded Age." (Book Riot)
“This engaging novel, set in a time of conflict between old money and new ideas, captures both the bravery and the heartbreak of Anita’s decision…the story is a captivating one. Readers won’t soon forget Anita Hemmings or the choices she made.” (BookPage)
"Tanabe artfully creates dynamic characters whom you find yourself missing the moment the book ends." (DC Refined)
“This engrossing work of historical fiction follows a powerful woman who would risk everything for an education.” (Washington Life)
“In this gripping, tension-filled story, Karin Tanabe reveals to us the impossible choices that one woman was forced to make when she decided to follow her dream for a better life. As with many courageous acts, controversy follows our heroine, and for that reason alone book clubs will find much to discuss here. An utterly captivating narrative that kept me turning pages late into the night.” (Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of THE KITCHEN HOUSE)
“Brilliant, beautiful, and kind, Anita Hemmings should be a perfect fit for Vassar College.But it’s 1897, and while Anita appears to be Caucasian, her school would be scandalized if it knew her secret. In a story at once heartbreaking and uplifting, Karin Tanabe limns the tensions of a young woman’s desire to participate fully in a world in which she doesn’t dare reveal her full self,the myopia of a society twisted by soul-straitening rules, and the wonders—and frustrations—of the highest rung of women’s education at the turn of the last century. Most impressive are the characters' emotional complexity; Tanabe understands that human relations are never so simple as black and white.” (Christina Schwarz, #1 New York Times bestselling author)
“The Gilded Years tells the compelling story of Anita Hemmings, a woman who defied the expectations and limitation of her world to follow her mind and her heart. Karin Tanabe weaves a tale rich with historical detail and heartbreaking human emotion that demonstrate the complex and unjust choices facing a woman of color in 19th century America. That so many of the questions explored by Tanabe about race, gender, ambition and privilege still resonate today makes this novel required reading.” (Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl)
"Tanabe has written a moving portrait of a fascinating and complicated woman who crossed the color line when the stakes were high. This richly imagined novel about a woman of brilliance and fierce self-creation is sure to captivate readers as it did me." (Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky)
"The Gilded Years is a thrilling and foreboding tale about social and racial rules in nineteenth century
“The true story of Anita Hemmings, Vassar College’s first African-American graduate, comes to life in vivid detail in Tanabe’s The Gilded Years. Hemmings’ gut-wrenching decision to pass as white in order to obtain an education is a poignant journey and Tanabe’s lyrical style is sure to keep readers turning pages.” (Renee Rosen, author of White Collar Girl)
“The Gilded Years really brought home the horrific limitations and choices that were faced by black people post-Civil War, even in the supposedly more enlightened North. The characters were vivid and compelling, and it was heartbreaking to witness the terrible lie Anita was forced into to achieve her dream of a Vassar education. That the story is based on true people only added to its richness.” (Laila Ibrahim, author of The Yellow Crocuses)
Praise for THE PRICE OF INHERITANCE:
"Readers will find plenty to savor...Carolyn is a winning character with a quick wit and the opulent environs she inhabits are definitely worth a visit." (The Washington Post)
"A compelling novel of financial and emotional high stakes." (In Touch)
"Tanabe's absorbing novel blends equal parts mystery, wit, and romance." (Booklist)
"Karin Tanabe's The Price of Inheritance is a deeply enjoyable and riotously funny takedown of the high-stakes New York art world and its most glamorous and illicit auction houses. Matching the spirit and wit of Steve Martin's An Object of Beauty, Karin Tanabe focuses her shimmering humor and laser eye on the dangerous lengths the very wealthy will journey to own a costly piece of history. Lushly detailed and ambitious in scope, The Price of Inheritance is rich in romance, war stories and betrayals. A priceless read by a writer of immense talent." (Amber Dermont New York Times bestselling author of The Starboard Sea)
"This absorbing, quick-turning story takes us behind the doors of the big auction houses into the homes of the art-collecting elite and onto the international marketplace with sure-handedness, and in fascinating detail. Karin Tanabe writes with passion, intelligence, and a lot of wit, and the book is insanely difficult to put down." (Jessica Lott The Rest of Us)
With The Price of Inheritance, Karin Tanabe pulls off a triple-coup: she gives us a juicy insider's look at the high-stakes auction business, a late-coming-of-age (and enticingly New York) love story, and a truly suspenseful mystery that crosses borders from Rhode Island to Iraq. Any one of these on its own would have been a compelling read. But all three at once? I couldn't put it down." (Allison Lynn author of Now You See It)
"In The Price of Inheritance, Karin Tanabe weaves a tangled web of romance and intrigue, while exposing the underbelly of the art world. This smart and captivating read will have you turning pages faster than you can say forgery." (Emily Liebert author of You Knew Me When)
Praise for THE LIST:
"A biting, hilarious send-up of D.C.'s elite." (People on THE LIST)
“Former Politico reporter Tanabe’s roman-a-clef is a hilarious skewering of digital journalism – and how news is tweeted and blogged at a dizzying pace by armies of underpaid and overworked 20-something journos—as well as smartly paced and dishy debut, part political thriller, part surprisingly sweet coming-of-age tale, and part timeless ode to dogged reporters with good instincts and guts of steel.” (Publisher’s Weekly (starred review))
"A contemporary, politically astute novel that is both wickedly humorous and enticing...[with] complex characters, an intriguing plot, and tightly brilliant execution. When word gets around about The List, readers will clamor for their copy and devour this book." (New York Journal of Books on THE LIST)
"Tanabe gleefully skewers digital media sweathshops...[but] despite its breezy, chick-lit tone, The List has more in common with newsroom satires." (The Washington Post on THE LIST)
"The List is mandatory reading for anyone who wonders about the impact of new media on Washington's political culture. Tanabe has written a novel that is delicious fun and incredibly revealing about life at the intersection of politics and journalism." (Nicolle Wallace New York Times bestselling author of Eighteen Acres)
“A gorgeous book—I loved it. Funny, intriguing, and utterly unputdownable.” (Penny Vincenzi on THE LIST internationally bestselling author of More Than You Know)
"The List is a wonderfully witty insider's romp through Washington. Karin Tanabe has as sharp a tongue as she does an eye for detail, about everything from political scandal to office politics. And I thought New York was a tough town!" (Cristina Alger author of The Darlings on THE LIST)
“Appealing… plenty of sibling rivalry, deceit and intrigue, and a spunky heroine.” (Kirkus on THE LIST)
“The List is a breezy, dishy romp through Washington, DC politics, journalism, and scandal—a witty and caffeinated glimpse into a world few of us ever see, let alone know as intimately as Karin Tanabe surely does. But underneath the considerable pleasures of its glimmering surface, it's a surprisingly moving coming of age story about a young woman navigating the bumpy terrain between ambition and ethics, between her hunger for professional success and the quiet truth of her own heart.” (Lauren Fox author of Friends Like Us and Still Life with Husband on THE LIST)
“Part coming of age, part political thriller, Karin Tanabe's The List is a mordantly funny send-up of quadruple espresso fueled journalism in the internet age, with the most irresistible heroine since Bridget Jones at its center. This is Evelyn Waugh's Scoop for the 21st century." (Susan Fales-Hill author of Imperfect Bliss on THE LIST)
"Karin Tanabe's energetic, humorous debut is narrated by a young reporter trying to prove herself by chasing the biggest story of the year. The List perfectly captures the frenetic, all-consuming pace of political reporting, with a healthy dose of scandal, glamour and intrigue thrown in. Think The Devil Wears Prada meets Capitol Hill." (Sarah Pekkanen author of These Girls on THE LIST)
About the Author
Karin Tanabe is the author of The Gilded Years, The Price of Inheritance, and The List. A former Politico reporter, her writing has also appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, and The Washington Post. She has made frequent appearances as a celebrity and politics expert on Entertainment Tonight, CNN, and The CBS Early Show. A graduate of Vassar College, Karin lives in Washington, DC. To learn more visit KarinTanabe.com.
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Top customer reviews
While The Gilded Years thoroughly engaged me, it was difficult to watch the blatant hypocrisy displayed by many characters. Erstwhile friends, teachers, and suitors alike are depicted as being part of an ostensibly liberal world, one in which they give lip service to social justice as if it were a passing fashion, but when confronted with the truth of Anita’s situation, they reveal their inner prejudices (some more virulently than others).
The book is rich in detail, and if you are not familiar with the Gilded Age, Tanabe provides a thorough grounding with her research to see you through. There is an almost cinematic quality to the writing whereby you can imagine scenes as if they were playing in front of you at the movie theatre. I suppose much of that is due to the author’s brilliant dialogue, which sparkles and jumps off the page. For what it’s worth, I’d also like to throw my hat in support for a Bessie Baker sequel! I loved the friendship between her and Anita, and I would be interested to know more about her experiences with higher education, especially since she did not pass while attending Wellesley.
The main character about whom the story is written is a likable honest in intension, brilliant young woman who has a drive to learn and be educated in an elegant private university despite the fact that she knows she must lie about her heritage and is successful. almost. This is a story of how that unfolds and how she finds her own way finally.
I also sent a copy to my 88-year-old mother, who called and scolded me, because the book kept her up until 4 in the morning! She couldn't put it down, either!
If you only read one book this summer, "The Gilded Years: A Novel" would be a worthy choice!