A Novel of Newport’s
Pearl and Ginevra grow up in the era known as the Gilded Age in Newport, Rhode Island. One lives above the stairs, the other below.
Surrounded by Astors and Vanderbilts, Pearl fills her days with teatime and shallow friendships, yearning for something more. A chance meeting with Mary Cassatt sparks her secret desire to be an artist. Meanwhile Ginevra, fresh off the boat from Italy, finds her own dreams out of reach as she joins the unwelcoming household as a servant and seamstress.
Kindred souls, the girls become fast friends but must keep their friendship hidden from Pearl’s controlling mother. Every summer, they meet in a hidden spot beneath the weeping beeches to talk of art and life, and their struggles to break the barriers of their lives.
Soon, the two young women must decide who they want to be in this world, and survive what it takes to get there…even if it includes murder.
"Gilded Summers by Donna Russo Morin is a lush and evocative novel of the distinctive period known as Newport’s Gilded Age, a period brought vibrantly to life in this powerful work. Ginevra and Pearl, unique in their own way yet equally sympathetic, are captivating from the start and never let go. The passages and chapters are exquisitely and uniquely intertwined, like the young lives of its characters, sewn seamlessly with the mounting mystery and suspense. Vivid descriptions evoke the setting and period with such mastery, one feels like a ‘fly on the wall,’ living there with these young women who are so well crafted and developed. A genuine ‘can’t put it down’ novel, a triumph by a masterful writer!"
-Anne Girard (Diane Haegar) author of Madame Picasso
"Author Donna Russo Morin has a knack for both character and historical authenticity, making this journey into Newport’s Gilded Age a fascinating and fulfilling tale. From the well-described details of the surroundings and costumes to the social structures at play and the strictures of upper and lower class lives, Russo Morin captures an era where women are ready to break out, but the world is not yet ready for them. Pearl and Ginevra have the same spirit for freedom and choice, but they are distinctly well presented and developed as very different women who compliment one another’s misgivings. GILDED SUMMERS is sure to suit fans of the likes of DOWNTON ABBEY, but it delivers far deeper emotional connections and realistic portrayals and is a highly recommended historical read."
-Reader's Favorite (c) 5 Star Review
"This is remarkable historical fiction that this reviewer highly recommends. Donna Russo Martin’s writing has evolved into something more meaningful, serious but joyfully engaging, and memorable in a creative, new style sure to endear readers of all ages! Wonder-full! 5 Stars!"
-Crystal Book Reviews
"GILDED SUMMERS is a sumptuous novel about 19th century Newport society. A compulsive read that pulls you breathlessly through the pages, as you experience heady East Coast monied realms. You learn the truth of women’s lives then ... corseted by strangling societal expectations. Makes this reader glad to be a woman now, albeit a Middle Class one ... and ever so glad to have had the chance to review this lovely, accomplished book. 5/5!"
"A wonderful peek at the Gilded Age of Newport, RI, filled with the Astors and Vanderbilts and a bit of mystery. 4 Stars!"
-Barbara Khan, Baer Books Blog
"I have long been a fan of this author. She knows how to vibrantly tell a historical story while still staying true to the historical side of things. Her passion for the Newport area shines through in her words. Gilded Summers is an insightful glimpse into an age and place where women, even women of power, were merely objects and ornamentation. It is also an inspiring story of two women who chose to buck convention and live lives of their choosing; women who pioneered the way for the women of future generations. 4 Stars!"
-True Book Addict
"This was such an intimate read. It explores the complexity of relationships and the disparity between classes. Morin impeccably describes the gilded world of Newport society in the late 19th century. She provides insight into the personal struggles women faced between doing what was expected of them and being courageous enough to explore their passions and embark on change...the perfect mix of glint and glamour and harsh reality. A very well crafted and moving tale by Russo Morin. 4 Stars!"
-Kathryn Eminhizer, Librarian at Meherrin Regional Library
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