Banished Children of Eve
Banished Children of Eve, a novel of America struggling to become a melting pot, marks the debut of a gifted storyteller.
It is New York City, the time of the Civil War. The war has just entered its third bloody year, and the North is about to impose its first military draft, a decision that will spark the most devastating and destructive riot in American history.
Quinn gives us these events through the eyes of people drawn from every part of the city's life - minstrels, street gangs, servants, soldiers, and clergymen, Yankee, African American, and Irish. It is the New York of Jimmy Dunne, a streetwise Irish-American hustler in search of the big score. Of Eliza, an African-American actress seeking her place in a city where her family has lived since colonial times. Of Jack Mulcahey, Eliza's lover, who escaped death in the Irish famine of the 1840s, and is struggling to hold on to his position as one of New York's leading minstrels.
At the heart of Banished Children of Eve is the American search for the Promised Land. Along with Jimmy, Eliza, and Jack, it is a search shared by Charles Bedford, a scheming and ambitious stockbroker, and by Margaret O'Driscoll, an immigrant servant girl in Bedford's home. There are two other shadowy presences. One is a drunken and broken drifter, Stephen Foster, who has given away all his songs, but who can still remember the music, which becomes the music of the novel. The other is the Civil War itself.
Through the stories of these disparate lives, all brought together in the cataclysm of the Draft Riots, Quinn spins out the fates of his rich and vital characters as he brings magically to life a pivotal period in this country's history.
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Review: Banished Children of Eve: A Novel of Civil War New YorkUser Review - Goodreads
Very gritty; impressive scholarship.
Review: Banished Children of Eve: A Novel of Civil War New YorkUser Review - Rochelle Schwab - Goodreads
As the author of a historical novel that is also set during the Civil War, I was blown away by the magnificently researched depiction of the times in The Banished Children of Eve. It's hard to believe ... Read full review