Category Archives: Love, Fiercely

The Haves Who Gave

The New York Times Style section  review of Love, Fiercely,

The Haves Who Gave,is out in in print this Sunday. Pretty cool.

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Fierce Times

The New York Times Style section is currently running a review of Love, Fiercely! Go to:

The Haves Who Gave

Newton and Edith in the Times

It’s so exciting to see the two of them given credit for their lives and works. I’m checking the comments on line assiduously if you’d like to add your point of view.

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Love, Fiercely Now

Today is the publication date of Love, Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romance!

This is a book that was years in the making, but rewarded me bountifully in clueing me in to the amazing Icon and Iconographer, Edith Minturn Stokes and I.N. Phelps Stokes. Denizens of a more glamorous America, they loved each other and lived their lives with passion, in the course of which becoming models for one of the greatest portraits of John Singer Sargent. It’s now hanging in the new American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum. Newton and Edith threw themselves into philanthropic pursuits when they had absolutely no cause to do anything aside from living the grand life in their many houses. She was a great beauty, the face of the age, subject of a monumental statue at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. He was an architect, and also compiled the most comprehensive, priceless collection of New York City maps, views and sheer information in The Iconography of Manhattan Island, which he published in six weighty volumes over the course of twelve years. The endeavor nearly ruined Stokes; only his love for Edith saved him. Theirs is an amazing story.

Edith Minturn as “The Republic”

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The Stokeses

A new photo of Newton and Edith Phelps Stokes  I wasn’t able to include in Love, Fiercely. Aren’t they lovely?

Edith & Isaac

The Stars of Love, Fiercely


March 6, 2012 · 12:01 pm

I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Amazon’s Vine program pairs up veteran reader/reviewers with new books to post opinions that will help other people make choices in what to read.

Hot off the presses, here is what some of the Vine reviewers have to say about Love, Fiercely:

“An engaging book that is beautifully written. Get it!”

Book Addict (Midwest)

“What a lovely story, one that engulfs you in the world of Manhattan’s elite during the Gilded Age.”

S. Rogers (Boston, MA United States)

“Jean Zimmerman truly brings the Gilded Age to life in “Love, Fiercely”. It is an ode to time gone by but also a lovely romance… But this was a real treat. Eminently readable, not overly burdened by huge historical proclamations, yet relatable even as it is pointed out that these two were very rich in their prime of life. Very much enjoyed this book and glad that I picked it out to read.”

“Jean Zimmerman’s discussion of what makes this portrait so important was like attending a college lecture hall given by the university’s much-beloved and brilliant art history professor. Zimmerman taught me why some great works of art become “iconic” works of great art. I loved this aspect of learning from a fascinating teacher… I look forward to spending a good amount of time in front of the portrait of “Mr. and Mrs. I.N. Phelps Stokes” by John Singer Sargent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with my copy of this book at the ready to help me appreciate its artistic, historical and social significance.”

s.r.cohen “thinking reader” (CT, USA)

“Details of the indefinite courtship between Edith and Newton, their eventual marriage, their Paris years and their subsequent lives that focused on philanthropy and preservation are skillfully covered by Jean Zimmerman. I felt immersed in “the age” in this comprehensive study of the progressive times, the habits of the very wealthy and their enclaves along the east coast, and the history of New York City.”

J. A. Bell “she reads xyz” (Florida, USA)

“LOVE, FIERCELY is an excellent book for those fascinated by the wealthy of Manhattan and its environs during ‘the gilded age.'”

Falkor The White Luck Dragon (Niwot, Colorado)

“I found this book inspirational in so many ways–both by the tasks both undertook to help the less fortunate–as well as how they lived their lives. Really, really enjoyable book. I loved it!”

Mayflower Girl “amazon-junkie since 1996” (Albany, NY USA)

“An enthralling history told through two remarkable lives.”

Jaylia3 (Silver Spring, MD United States)

“I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of, not only, New York, but the United States. The book tells a fascinating story woven through the lives of two unique individuals. It is not a traditional love story. Rather it is the tale of two people who grew together and helped each other through the ups and downs of life. I very much enjoyed it.”

Nancy Famolari (Pennsylvania, USA)

I’m proud!


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Smithsonian Loves Love, Fiercely calls Love, Fiercely a “must-read book”: “This sneakily sweeping history tells the story of early 20th-century America through the “greatest love story never told.”

Read more: Smithsonian Love, Fiercely review.

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Beauty and Comfort

My very first copy of Love, Fiercely arrived today by express mail, deposited beneath the tree at the top of the driveway, and it is more beautiful than I imagined it would be: buffed and burnished, fern green and warm black and gold. It looks to be the perfect size to slip into the pocket of an old corduroy jacket. I don’t know that I have to read it, having read it so many times in the course of writing it, but I’m tempted to, it just looks so nice.

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At the Met

Visited the new American Wing at the Metropolitan today to pay homage to Edith and Newton in all their glory. They looked great. Mr. and Mrs. I.N. Phelps Stokes was not exactly causing a stir but I did notice some wise people going up and admiring it.

Newton and Edith

Two elderly women stand behind me. One murmurs, “An American girl.”

She gets it.

On the other hand, the painting suffers by proximity to Sargent’s so-popular Madame X. Two young men pull up behind me as I admire her lavender shoulders. “This is IT,” says one.

I’d like to hear that said of Edith, with her preternatural glow and straight-shooting gaze.

Maybe when people read Love, Fiercely (out six weeks from now) someone will say that.

In any case, dwarfing both canvases and hung between them is Sargent’s gargantuan doily of a painting that depicts the three Wyndam sisters.

Ladies in White

It gives an idea of how female perfection was conceived at the end of the 19th century, white and light and delicate. Take another look at Edith to see how vastly different she is. Instead of chiffon, cotton pique. No lavish peonies. A boater! A bow tie. Revolution comes to Gilded Age America.

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