Read The Gilded Years Online

Authors: Karin Tanabe

The Gilded Years

BOOK: The Gilded Years
13.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Advance Praise for
The Gilded Years

“In this gripping, tension-filled story, 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.”

—Kathleen Grissom
, New York Times
bestselling author of
The Kitchen House

“Tanabe weaves a tale rich with historical detail and heartbreaking human emotion that demonstrates the complex and unjust choices facing a woman of color in nineteenth-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

“A thrilling and foreboding tale about social and racial rules in nineteenthcentury America . . . Tanabe’s narration is reminiscent of novels of the 1890s, with dialogue that is spot-on for that era. The compelling story covers a shameful time in American history, and is unrelenting in its tension and gripping detail.”

—Anna Jean Mayhew, author of
The Dry Grass of August

“The true story of Anita Hemmings comes to life in vivid detail in
The Gilded Years.
Hemmings’s 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. . . . That the story is based on true people only added to its richness.”

—Laila Ibrahim, author of
Yellow Crocus

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.”


“A deeply enjoyable and riotously funny takedown of the high-stakes New York art world and its most glamorous and illicit auction houses. 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. Tanabe writes with passion, intelligence, and a lot of wit, and the book is insanely difficult to put down.”

—Jessica Lott, author of
The Rest of Us

“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.”

—Allison Lynn, author of
Now You See It

“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.”


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 twentysomething journos—as well as a 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.”

Publishers 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

“Tanabe gleefully skewers digital media sweatshops . . . [but] despite its breezy, chick-lit tone,
The List
has more in common with newsroom satires.”

The Washington Post

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.”

—Nicole Wallace,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Eighteen Acres

“A gorgeous book—I loved it. Funny, intriguing, and utterly unputdownable.”

—Penny Vincenzi, internationally bestselling author of
More Than You Know

The List
is a wonderfully witty insider’s romp through Washington. Tanabe has as sharp a tongue as she does an eye for detail about everything from political scandal to office politics.”

—Cristina Alger, author of
The Darlings

The List
is a breezy, dishy romp through Washington, D.C., politics, journalism, and scandal—a witty and caffeinated glimpse into a world few of us ever see, let alone know as intimately as 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
Still Life with Husband

“Part coming-of-age, part political thriller, 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
for the twenty-first century.”

—Susan Fales-Hill, author of
Imperfect Bliss

“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
The Perfect Neighbors

Thank you for downloading this Washington Square Press eBook.

Join our mailing list and get updates on new releases, deals, bonus content and other great books from Washington Square Press and Simon & Schuster.

or visit us online to sign up at

For the VCVG—with love

There were in her at the moment two beings, one drawing deep breaths of freedom and exhilaration, the other gasping for air in a little black prison-house of fears.

The House of Mirth


s the electric trolley turned the corner onto Raymond Avenue, the driver sang out, “Vassar College!” The elongated vowels of his coarse New York accent reverberated off the walls, though every woman sitting on the wooden seats was already poised to disembark. Anita Hemmings smiled at two freshman girls who looked at once delighted and struck by nerves, and walked down the steps to collect her suitcases. Her trunk had been sent ahead and would be waiting for her in the school’s congested luggage room, then brought up to her quarters by a porter.

The New York town of Poughkeepsie had boasted a trolley only since 1894. In her freshman year, Anita had arrived with her cases in a shaky horse-drawn tram, dusty and soot-colored, and painted with the words
and a large gold number four. But for the past three years, Vassar students had pulled up in the efficient trolley, and she couldn’t think of a better way to approach the Lodge, the handsome, red-brick gatehouse that served as the campus’s entrance and guard post. Anita glanced up at the clock atop its simple façade, centered above four long windows. It was almost five o’clock. She had left Boston at just past seven in the morning and hadn’t encountered any
other Vassar girl until she changed trains in Albany. Now she was just steps away from her favorite sliver of the world, the college where she would reside for one more year.

Anita had never lived in a building that could be described as handsome until she went off to school, first in Massachusetts’s Pioneer Valley, then at Vassar. Her hometown of Boston was crowded with elegant structures: stately brick houses you could stroll past, imagining the favored lives transpiring inside. But she had never had more than a glimpse of their sumptuous interiors. Here, on the vast expanse of land Vassar occupied a few miles from the gently curving Hudson River, every inch was hers—shared with 522 other girls, but still hers.

In Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, Anita, the oldest of four, shared a small, red-brick row house with her parents; her brothers, Frederick and Robert; and her sister, Elizabeth. It was indistinguishable from its squat neighbors, with a roof that leaked and too few rooms for six. She knew every vein of Roxbury, every needy character in the quarter, and was keenly aware that her friends at Vassar had not grown up in such a place.

“Is that Anita Hemmings?”

At the sound of her name, she turned to see the alabaster face of Caroline Hyde Hardin. The puffs of Caroline’s dress sleeves were bigger than last year’s, and she wore the trumpet-shaped, S-curved skirt that had become even more in vogue over the summer. Anita fretted for a moment over her travel-weary appearance, but her tension vanished as she was enveloped in a welcoming hug.

“Caroline!” she exclaimed, as her friend stepped back and wiped strands of red hair from her face. It was September 18, but the day was thick with the dense heat of a mid-July afternoon.

“I could tell it was you,” said Caroline. “You walk so elegantly, even when you’re laden down. Where is Mervis to help us?” she said, looking around for the porter everyone preferred.

“He’s just assisting with the trunks of a few other girls who came on the earlier trains. He’ll be back down,” Anita said, smoothing her light summer dress and taking Caroline’s hand, unable to hide her pleasure at being back on campus. “Oh, how I missed this beautiful place,” she said, nodding toward the ivy-clad, Renwick-designed Main Building.

The circle in front of Main was crowded with carriages, tired horses, and girls bidding their families goodbye while vying for help with their boxes and suitcases. Before Anita and Caroline had arrived at Vassar as freshmen in 1893, Main had a regal entry with a double staircase leading to an impressive second-floor door, but a long annex had been added to the center of the building that year, courtesy of the school’s favorite trustee, Frederick Ferris Thompson. The students called it Uncle Fred’s Nose or the Soap Box, for its ample use of white marble. It now housed the ever-expanding library, where the students spent many an evening trying to push to the top of their class.

BOOK: The Gilded Years
13.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Scarlatti Inheritance by Robert Ludlum
Becoming My Mother's Lover by Laura Lovecraft
India Dark by Kirsty Murray
Miss You by Kate Eberlen
Broken Souls by Boone, Azure
Taken by Two by Sam J. D. Hunt