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Sleeping Fires: a Novel

Gertrude Atherton

Book Overview: 

The story of a love so strong that neither the rigid rules of Society in California in the 1800s nor the very bowels of hell could keep a young woman from the love she had found. A story rich in fashion ad feminism showing how determination and love could overcome all obstacles.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .t the wife of your bosom knows you so well she can fool you, as no woman who expects a bill twice a year would dare to do. Still, she's pretty good, pretty good. She's never had an attack of nerves, nor fainted yet. And as for 'blues' she doesn't know the meaning of the word. Come along, sweetheart."

Madeleine smiled half cynically, half wistfully, shook hands with her host and made him a pretty little speech, nodded to the others and went obediently to bed. The doctor, whose manners were courtly, escorted her to the door of their parlor and returned to Masters' rooms. The other women left immediately afterward, and as it was Saturday night, he and his host and Mr. McLane talked until nearly morning.


By the first of June Fashion had deserted the city with its winds and fogs and dust, and Madeleine was one of the few that remained. Her husband had intended to send her to Congress Springs in the mountains of the Santa Clar. . . Read More

Community Reviews

3.5 Stars

I've been reading Atherton's books one by one, both because I enjoy her work and also for research purposes (Atherton was the Edith Wharton and Henry James of the San Francisco Bay Area and I write historical fiction set in this location). Some of her work I've loved and a few books I haven

I agree with another reviewer that the beginning of the book was good but the middle and towards the end just went on and on and on. I ended up skipping pages here and there because I wanted to say, "I got it!!! I understand. Enough already. Let's move on."

I found this book at a Goodwill store, and am really happy that i payed the 2 dollars for it. It's a nice little story about love and loss. It reminded me of Jane Austen, except not as gosh darned boring. Certainly recommended :D

"I'll never break my husband's heart and the vows I made at the altar.", 27 January 2015

This review is from: Sleeping Fires (Hardcover)
Written in the 1920s but set in 1860s San Francisco 'Society', the novel opens with the city ladies waiting to meet and appraise the new bride of 'the most popular