West to Eden

West to Eden

West to Eden

Scritto da:
Gloria Goldreich

West to Eden is the engrossing and dramatic story of one woman’s struggle to forge a new life in Amsterdam in 1897, as beautiful and sensitive Emma Coen suffers betrayal by both her father and her lover. Determined to control her own destiny, Emma leaves Amsterdam, accepting a position as a companion to the wife of one of the leaders of Jewish society in London. When she hears of financier Jacob Schiff’s plans to promote Jewish settlement in the American West, where Jews will be pioneers rather than refugees, Emma is inspired. She sets sail for Galveston, Texas, home to a small but thriving Jewish community, and there meets Isaac Lewin, the wary and embittered survivor of a Russian pogrom.

In spite of her strong attraction to Isaac, Emma remains aloof, fearing the loss of her hard-won independence. But the tidal wave of 1900, which devastates Galveston Island, leaves both Emma and Isaac shaken and keenly aware that life cannot be lived in safety. Still haunted by their pasts, and conscious of the disparity in their backgrounds, Emma and Isaac are swept away by passion, and they marry, settling in Arizona. In the desert hamlet of Phoenix, newly proclaimed capital of the territory, they open a tent store. Calling on abundant reserves of ambition, courage and entrepreneurial daring, Emma and Isaac work together to transform the tent store into one of the West’s largest and most successful department stores.

Yet neither their material success nor their deep pride in their four talented children is enough to bridge the emotional gap between them, and their relationship grows ever more distant. Both Isaac and Emma seek solace in extramarital affairs, even as they are unwilling to break up their troubled marriage. It is only when Emma finds herself caught up in the enchanted life of San Francisco’s “gilded ghetto” that she at last confronts the reality of her life and marriage.

Set against the backdrop of Arizona’s fight for statehood and the cataclysms of the First World War and the Great Depression, West to Eden chronicles a fascinating, largely unknown part of the Jewish immigrant experience. Drawing on the breadth of imagination and the faithfulness to detail that her readers have come to expect, Gloria Goldreich has created characters of rich complexity…and an unforgettable novel.


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