Book Review-The Gilded Cage-Judy Alter | Miki's Hope

Book Review-The Gilded Cage-Judy Alter

Monday, October 17, 2016

Although I am not usually one to pick up a book based on history-I am very glad I agreed to read and review this one when asked.

This novel will take the reader from Chicago's very beginning as a backwater, rather smelly town through to the Columbian Exposition held there in 1893. Although many of the people were real as was the timeline-the author has written a fascinating story around all these events. Rich vs poor--until Cissy Hamilton took matters into her own hands and although never a suffragette-worked steadfastly in the interests of women and poor women. She actually believed way back then in equal work should get equal pay. We are still trying for that today! That this woman defied the class rules of her station in life and in many cases her husband (who luckily doted on her and was by far the richest man in Chicago at the time) was nothing short of a miracle. Unlike other women of her social standing--she believed that the wealth should be used to help the poor especially in times of trouble. Cissy did not talk much about it until the Chicago Fire--but she certainly walked the walk.

About the Book: (from Amazon)

Born to society and a life of privilege, Bertha Honoré married Potter Palmer, a wealthy entrepreneur who called her Cissy. Neither dreamed the direction the other’s life would take. He built the Palmer House Hotel, still famed today, and became one of the major robber barons of the city, giving generously to causes of which he approved. She put philanthropy into words, going into shanty neighborhoods, inviting factory girls to her home, working at Jane Addams’ settlement Hull House, supporting women’s causes. It was a time of tremendous change and conflict in Chicago as the city struggled to put its swamp-water beginnings behind it and become a leading urban center. A time of the Great Fire of 1871, the Haymarket Riots, and the triumph of the Columbian Exposition. Potter and Cissy handled these events in diverse ways. Fascinating characters people these pages along with Potter and Cissy—Carter Harrison, frequent mayor of the city; Harry Collins, determined to be a loser; Henry Honoré, torn between loyalties to the South and North; Daniel Burnham, architect of the new Chicago—and many others. The Gilded Cage is a fictional exploration of the lives of these people and of the Gilded Age in Chicago history.

Read a chapter or two here

Purchase the Book Here

About the Author: (from Amazon)

I'm really a mystery author! Hard for me to believe because it's always been my secret ambition to write mysteries. Six Kelly O'Connell Mysteries--Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, Deception in Strange Places, and Desperate for Death--are now available in print and as e-books. And three Blue Plate Cafe Mysteries, Murder at the Blue Plate Café, Murder at the Tremont House, and Murder at Peacock Mansion, are also available. In that series, I move from an inner city urban neighborhood to a small town in East Texas.

New in October 2014: a self-published title, The Perfect Coed, which is a big leap for me in many ways, and I'm excited about it. It's set on a fictional college campus in Texas and features a prickly English professor who finds a coed's body in the trunk of her car. So far,it's gotten high praise. I'm the author of about eighty books for children and adults.My main interest for years was the experiences of women in the American West, and I've written six adult novels with that theme and seven young-adult novels. Three of the adult novels, now called Western Historical Romances--Libbie, Cherokee Rose, and Sundance, Butch and Me--are available on Kindle, as are Ballad for Sallie, a book about the late 19th-century street children in Fort Worth, Mattie, a novel about a pioneer woman physician on the Nebraska prairie, and Sue Ellen Learns to Dance, a collection of short stories about women in the American West. Also available are children's books on a variety of subjects and a memoir/cookbook (Cooking My Way Through Life with Kids and Books), ...and other works.

Another big switch in April 2016--back to historical with The Gilded Cage, set in Chicago as it grew from swampland to host of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, following two leading historical figures: tycoon and hotelier Potter Palmer and his activist wife Bertha Honoré Palmer who fought for women’s rights and help for the poor. A story of love, major historical events, class warfare, intrigue, a forbidden love interest, and murder. Retirement is great, and I'm having fun writing. Please feel free to email me at

Author's Website

I received the paperback edition of this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own honest opinions. For more information please check my Disclosure Statement. Our giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.


Gladys Parker said...

This sounds very interesting and right up my alley. I'd rather it be true, although, if the time line is that is a good start. The last book that was really of interest to me was about women getting the vote and women trying to help other women. I think this sounds somewhat like it. A wealthy person, with the welfare of others at heart, you don't find as much of that today. I will be putting this on my reading list.

Jenny @cookeatgo said...

This sounds like a great read! I am always looking for new books to read, especially with the weather getting cooler.

Liz Mays said...

Cissy sounds like a very noble character. It would be pretty interesting to see her point of view as a privileged person who wants to help the poor.

Neely said...

It sounds like an interesting book with interesting characters. Its not really my thing but I will reccommend it to someone!

Clara said...

I love period mysteries, and this sounds like a good one. Thanks for your review.

valmg @ Mom Knows It All said...

I really struggle with dated material and periodic content. I'm a big mystery fan, it's an interesting switch you made!

Unknown said...

I used to avoid historical books. Now I find I'm drawn to them. This sounds fascinating and such a lovely cover too.

Adrianas Best Recipes said...

It is fascinating to read stories that have facts from the past combined with godo storytelling I must read this book. Thanks for the recommendation =)

Divya @ EatTeachBlog said...

Just finished my last book on my Kindle! Going to look into this :)

zim said...

I love novels with a historical twist. They are the only thing that draw me to learn more about history, especially American history as it is foreign to me.

Pam@IW said...

I love books that are about specific periods of time in our past. These sound like fascinating characters that really bring this story to life. I have a friend who lives an hour south of Chicago and loves reading anything with a historical spin. I will have to pass this on to her.

Erin S said...

What a great read for all that our society is witnessing now with inequality

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