Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “The Gilded Cage” direct from the author Judy Alter in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I wanted to read ‘The Gilded Cage’:
For those of my dear hearted readers who follow me on Twitter, they might have seen me add ‘Ancestry Sleuth’ to my Twitter Profile ahead of June’s arrival. It was a wink and a nod towards the fact that I love researching my ancestral roots, and how ancestry has long-held an appreciation in my family’s living history stories! On this note, the key reason I was keen on reading The Gilded Cage was the fact the entire story is based on the history of Chicago – a city that is quite important to my ancestral past!
So much so, it has sort of rubbed off on me as those who are familiar with Mid-Western dialects and specifically how a Chicagoan talks, I’ve been told my family’s roots in the Windy City has affected how I articulate my words! I am a true blue smorgasbord of my gene pool – as I am predominately of Mid-Western & Northeastern roots, with a fleeting layover in the boroughs of New York! Laughs. Somewhere along the route of all of that, as influences of linguistics out of my European & Scandinavian ancestry fused together, I came to speak without a familiar accent per my region of birth.
I always felt this was a positive thing – as it speaks to how the living histories of my family’s past were a big part of my childhood, and how the pursuit of ancestral research was truly inspired by the work my Mum and grand-father had begun before me! It’s a pursuit I’ve taken up again with Mum, as we chase through the pages of time, seeking out new information and finding the databases are blessedly being updated quite regularly these days!
The past is never fully outside our grasp, but sometimes the ‘stories’ of the past are lost to time itself. This is why finding stories built around certain decades of time help to illuminate a particular setting & timescape into your mind’s eye. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to learn more about Chicago’s Gilded Age and use what I learnt in Ms Alter’s novel as a my own springboard towards talking more about Chicago with my Mum! I only wish my grandparents could have been here to join in on the conversations!
I was inspired by the premise of the story to host a convo with the author in conjunction with my review on this blog tour. Due to a slight delay in the responses reaching me, I’ve amended my tour participation to include this double-showcase rather than two separate entries on it!
Born to a society and a life of privilege, Bertha Honoré married Potter Palmer, a wealthy entrepreneur who called her Cissy. Neither dreamed the direction the other’s life would take. He built the Palmer House Hotel, still famed today, and become one of the major robber barons of the city, giving generously to causes of which he approved. She put philanthropy into deeds, going into shanty neighborhoods, inviting factory girls to her home, working at Jane Addams’ settlement Hull House, supporting women’s causes.
It was a time of tremendous change and conflict in Chicago as the city struggled to put its swamp-water beginnings behind it and become a leading urban center. A time of the Great Fire of 1871, the Haymarket Riots, and the triumph of the Columbian Exposition. Potter and Cissy handled these events in diverse ways. Fascinating characters people these pages along with Potter and Cissy—Carter Harrison, frequent mayor of the city; Harry Collins, determined to be a loser; Henry Honoré, torn between loyalties to the South and North; Daniel Burnham, architect of the new Chicago—and many others.
The Gilded Cage is a fictional exploration of the lives of these people and of the Gilded Age in Chicago history.
Places to find the book:
Published by Alter Ego Publishing
on 18th April, 2016
Format: Paperback Edition
Published By: Alter Ego Publishing
Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook
Visit this page on the author’s site for Excerpts of the Novel!Read More
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge