Publication Date: September 2, 2011
Series: The Fitzpatrick Saga
List Price: $4.95
Sensuality Rating: PG
The Promise of America chronicles the tumultuous adventures of an Irish immigrant from his narrow escape from British tyranny to his marriage in 1895. Blessed with grit and good luck, William Fitzpatrick claws and sleeps his way to wealth and power, beginning as a Tammany Hall bagman the New York’s infamous Tenderloin. His assignation with the sensuous Molly Dunn leads to friendship with the Park Avenue Barneys; plain, passionate Anne and her gay husband Harvey. His adventures include a rendezvous with quirky Scottish peers as the scene shifts across America in William’s quest to claim his share of America’s promise.
The Promise of America follows William Fitzpatrick from the death of his father in Ireland to America. It's heartbreaking, reading about how poor William, at the age of 10, watches his father being beaten and taken away for defending his mother's honor. All of a sudden he is the man of the house. Responsible for the welfare of his mother and his younger siblings, he takes them to America where he works his way up from bagman to self-made millionaire. Along the way he makes some very interesting friends who help him realize his potential.
To say I was surprised at the amount of sexual exploits William got into is to say the very least. His character seemed to work his way up the social ladder one bed at a time. The author does not go into explicit detail, however, you do get to know every one of William's sexual conquests, and trust me when I say there are plenty of them. William is not the least bit discriminating when it comes to sex. Young... Old... Heavy... Thin... He loves them all and loves them well until it's time to move on to his next conquest.
I took exception to a couple of things in this novel. The fact that people married and had children young back then does not make it any less disturbing to read about William's sexual exploits with much older women. And let's not even go into the entire situation with Celeste. She's 12 and I believe at the time he was in his early 20s! And everyone's feeling (especially her own mother), that Celeste should be proud that such a wonderful young man wants a future with her is just wrong and disturbing in more ways than one.
This is not to say that this novel did not have good points. So I will end on a positive note. It was an entertaining story. The novel allowed us to follow William as he went from poor Irish immigrant to an important, educated man of great wealth. We don't get a rose colored version of William's life as you would in most novels. We see his troubles, the violence he witnesses, the injustice... Everything. But we also get to see a young boy meet some wonderful people who give him the opportunity and confidence to grow up to be a man of means who never once forgets his roots or the struggles his people back home are still facing and does everything in his power to help. With the exception of the fact that technically he's a child molester by today's standards, William is the kind of person we would all be lucky to know.
Fans of period novels would enjoy this.
REVIEW BY IRIS