Wednesday, March 2, 2011
But during the Gilded Age (the last few decades of the 19th century) where did people go to escape the cities of New York and Boston? One of the most popular destinations was Newport, Rhode Island. Actually, I have roots in Newport--old roots. An ancestor of my family landed in what would become Newport. The town was founded by Englishmen in 1639 and my very great-grandfather stepped foot there in 1643. Of course, native Americans had been in the area for 5000 years. At first, Newport was a haven for those seeking religious freedom, but it soon became a bustling center of trade.
During the last half of the 19th century, Newport became a vacation spot for the middle class and for the wealthy industrialists of New York and Boston. The mingling of the two classes added interest to a city used to independent spirits.
An Unlikely Suitor comes out May 1 (you can preorder it now). It’s the story of an immigrant seamstress from NYC who befriends a rich socialite. The two girls end up in Newport during the height of the summer season in 1895. What a culture shock for Lucy Scarpelli to go from the immigrant slums of Five Points to the opulence of these mansions. Those of you who've read Masquerade will recognize Lucy as Lucia Scarpelli in that book. Her mother and younger sister, Sofia, are also vital to An Unlikely Suitor. But it's nine years later and Sofia isn't a little girl any more...
In the coming weeks I’ll share some of the interesting historical tidbits I discovered as I wrote this novel. I hope you’ll enjoy this journey through Lucy’s Cinderella season in Newport.//Nancy Moser