The Gilded Edge: Two Audacious Women and the Cyanide Love Triangle That Shook America


Product Details

$28.00  $25.76
Dutton Books
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.3 inches | 1.45 pounds
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About the Author

Catherine Prendergast is a Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Fulbright Scholar. Interviewed by NPR and New York Magazine, she has written on battles over school desegregation, anxieties over the global spread of English, and recognition of disability rights. Dr. Prendergast's previous (scholarly) books include Buying Into English (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008) and Literary and Racial Justice (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003). The Gilded Edge is her first work of narrative nonfiction.

Originally from New Jersey, she now lives in central Illinois with her husband and son.


Praise for The Gilded Edge
The Gilded Edge is a compelling read from start to finish. Gripping, suspenseful, cinematic. This is narrative nonfiction at its best.-Lindsey Fitzharris, Bestselling Author of The Butchering Art

"The Gilded Edge is a gripping tale set in the bohemian culture of Gilded Age California. Prendergast paints an electrifying portrait of a tragic love triangle, featuring the beautiful young poet, Nora May French, her counterpoint, the pragmatic Carrie Sterling, and Carrie's philandering husband, George. With skill, humor, and biting insight, Prendergast reveals the cost of being a woman in a world dominated by men, placing the stories of the women center stage. A brilliant historian, Prendergast also tells the story of her own quest to find out what really happened, including herself in the story in surprising and fascinating ways. A page turner, The Gilded Edge reads like a mystery novel. A poignant and fascinating story of the past, but also a story of the writer herself."--Charlotte Gordon, Author of Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, The Woman Who Named God, and Mistress Bradstreet

"What a story! With the eye of a detective, Catherine Prendergast has brilliantly pieced together the shocking history of the birth of the famed Carmel-By-the-Sea, an early mission turned artists' colony founded in the early 1900s in Central coast California, where the literary elite and hangers-on fashioned a Bohemian existence rife with alcohol, sex, jealousy, drama--loads of it--deceit and suicide. Prendergast's vivid storytelling draws you into the debauchery, weaving the poetry and words of the famous and not-so-famous into a narrative that challenges the sanitized version of Carmel's founding. The women, she discovered, paid the price in those early years in lost lives, careers, ruined reputations, and broken marriages while the men achieved greater accolades. Prendergast puts those women back in the center of the story where they belong, fueling a breathtaking tale about the real lives of the "New Woman" of the early 20th century."--Kate Clifford Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

Catherine Prendergast so vividly recreates the bohemian circles of early 20th century California that I felt transported back in time, witnessing first-hand the challenges, triumphs, and tragedies of Nora May French and Carrie Sterling, her brave and brazen heroines. The Gilded Edge is a highly evocative and unforgettable read.--Abbott Kahler, New York Times bestselling author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park

"We're living in a second Gilded Age, so this feels pretty relevant. There's a love triangle, there's poetry, there's social reform movements, there's a real estate developer; it's just got All the Things. I also love a story where it was HUGE in the news at the time, and then almost no one today has heard of it. This is one of those!"--Book Riot

This punchy feminist tribute offers a fascinating look at two forgotten women of the Gilded Age.--Publishers Weekly