Historical Novel Society

Thanks to the Historical Novel Society for their great review:

Gilded Age Pittsburgh is the setting for Jeanette Watts’s lavishly atmospheric debut novel Wealth & Privilege, which turns on the schemes and counter-schemes various family members and interested strangers have in getting comfortably-situated and affable young Thomas Baldwin married off.

One such scheme results in his being married to a woman he quickly comes to detest, while another inadvertently brings him into close contact with a woman  he quickly comes to love, despite the fact that she seems permanently beyond his reach.

Watts does a superbly smooth and confident job of keeping her plot-lines flowing along at an enticing clip, and although her period research is obviously extensive, she incorporates it so adeptly that the novel’s large amounts of exposition – on contemporary events like the assassination of President Garfield, or the Johnstown Flood – always feel like organic parts of the story.

The result is an involving and subtly funny work worth reading.

The author has presented us with a story so real, I had to shake myself to get back into the present.

by Donald Montano, author of A Stranger Came Among Them

I met this author at the Decatur Bookfest. She was dressed appropriately in the period dress shown on the cover of her novel.  We talked: I ordered her book.  When it arrived at my home back in Palm Beach, I thumbed through the 407 pages thoughtfully.  Hmmm.  Can this novel really hold my interest for that long?

Well, I have to shout it out, dear reading public, this story will not only hold your interest, but will tug at you constantly to read on.  The novel covers a broad slice of American History, yet it is tightly written. The descriptions and dialogue are spot-on as Thomas and Regina spar with each other through thirteen years of deepening friendship that transcends unbelievable obstacles before it is allowed to blossom into a love so deep with understanding my heart fairly sang with happiness for them as I whispered, "At last."

But there was still one more obstacle to be overcome; breaking off a relationship from Regina's past in Johnstown as a flood is about to devastate the whole area. more suspense and more agony as the new lovers are pulled apart once again and must search for each other in the devastation of bodies and wreckage piled high in the streets.  I cannot tell you more, it would be tantamount to treason. But buy the book and lose yourself in the lives of Thomas and Regina as they live through the years of Wealth and Privilege that was the Industrial Revolution taking place in Pittsburgh when it was at the pinnacle of industrial might.

Review by Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock

Set in Pittsburgh in the second half of the 1800’s Thomas feels trapped. His family constantly compares him to the older brother that has died. His mother wants him to find a girl and get married and his father thinks that he isn’t capable of running the family business. Thomas wouldn’t mind getting married if he were to find a woman that had a mind of her own and didn’t bore or annoy him. He finally meets the woman he has been searching for and discovers she is already married. Later that same night he is trapped into marrying one of the very “ladies” he was trying so hard to avoid. Being the true gentleman that he is, he stays faithful to his wife and himself. He never has an intimate relationship with his wife he allows her to spend his money and at least try have an outward appearance of an acceptable marriage. He becomes friends and business partners with Regina and her husband, through the years they become best friends. When her husband passes away their friendship gets stronger, he finds himself desperately in love with a woman he can’t have because though she is now free he still isn’t. He stays her closest friend through all the years.
This is a beautiful love story that spans a lifetime. You need to read this book and see how their lives play out. This is well written and pulls you in.
I give this 5 out of 5 fangs

A front seat view of history

Book Lovers Paradise says "It was like riding a raft down a long winding river.  That river was the late 1800s.  As the rider of the raft I witnessed several important events while following the lives of Thomas and Regina.  I grew to love both characters.  Both have heart, style, and kind natures..... The research that must have gone into this novel is staggering.  Jeanette Watts brings these events to life for us."

Read the complete review at Book Lovers Paradise