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Der Traum des Baders
Beverly Swerling
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Der Traum des Baders (Old New York #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  3,072 Ratings  ·  349 Reviews
In 1661, Lucas Turner, a barber surgeon, and his sister, Sally, an apothecary, stagger off a small wooden ship after eleven weeks at sea. Bound to each other by blood and necessity, they aim to make a fresh start in the rough and rowdy Dutch settlement of Nieuw Amsterdam; soon lust, betrayal, and murder will make them mortal enemies. In their struggle to survive in the New ...more
Published (first published January 1st 2001)
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May 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erin by: Amy Mills
This is a well written novel. My only complaint is that the author builds interest in certain of the characters' lives and then drops them without notice, moving the reader forward by 50 years or so. Actually, that also was the very thing that caused me to feel somewhat melancholy. The reality that I'm going to age, and yikes, die, is a little bit painful. The reality that my little boy is going to grow up and have children of his own someday is a lot painful! But there is no (happy) alternative ...more
Aug 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book follows generations in New York and their ties to medicine it was kind of confusing at times I wasn't sure what the significance of the last chapter was but overall I enjoyed the first two thirds of the book.
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was a massive undertaking, but I think it was worth the effort. It was well written and historically accurate, but dear Lord, was it ever disturbing. The book is the story of Manhattan back in the day before America was a country, up until we became one. The book is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. It was horrifying. The medical procedures that were performed were described in horrific gory detail that made me want to barf on several occasions. There are also stories of b ...more
Lorin Cary
Cultural conservatives who yearn for the good old days will not like this book, because it's fairly accurate descriptions of life in New York from the 17th through the 18th century (until the end of the American Revolution) does not jibe with their peculiar notions. Lucas Turner and his sister Sally arrive in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1661, not long before the British assume control. And so starts a multi-generational novel. The importance of slavery in New York is evident from the fi ...more
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5.0 out of 5 stars - Great story of family secrets, retribution and survival

Loved this one -- the first in a series about colonial times in the early days of the USA. It features a family who are interested in furthering the science and art of medicine -- barbers, surgeons, physicians, and apothecaries. Wow, were those some really barbaric times! The characters were compelling and multi-layered and the saga details the interactions and fueds between families.I have read a bit of historical ficti
Nov 05, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am sorry, as much as I love historical fiction, and as much as I LOVED Shadowbrook: A Novel of Love, War, and the Birth of America, I could not get into this book. While I appreciate the amount of research the author did into medical history of this time and treatment of slaves, the gore factor is WAY OVER THE TOP. Page after page after page, compounded with unappealing characters who even if one started to care, disappeared into another generation.

I gave up after 200 pages. I give the author
N W James
The histories of New York City and early surgical practices are told through the stories of immigrant siblings and their descendants. The author has some things to say about slavery and colonialism as well. It's a very determined book.


My library due date came up when I was 330 pages into this book and I decided to turn it in for something else. My deciding factor was reading a sentence that had the words "heaving" and "bosoms" in it and then reading about how that very same woma
Randi Reisfeld
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NYC history buffs and those into sweeping family sagas
Recommended to Randi by: Mindy Eichler
I'm a sucker for all NYC history -- and this was well worth it! Recommended by brilliant cousin Mindy, it's number one in a trilogy--it earns the moniker, "sweeping generational saga," as it takes us, via two strong, fascinating fictional families, through the settling of "New Amsterdam" in the 1600s through the Revolutionary War. Who knew NYC made a fortune on the backs of slavery?? Who knew about surgeries without pain killers, and beginnings of pharmacies? Who knew Delancey Street was named a ...more
Aug 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed feelings. I loved some of the historical things I learned, LOVED her details of medicine and herbal practitioners and loved some of her characters. I think she is overly ambitious. She starts to develop some great characters then jumps ahead 20 years without warning. Gets you into another generation then right when you figure out a bit about them she jumps ahead again. Yet she carries generational grudges through and I found the grudge/hate wasn't developed enough to pull it off why it sho ...more
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first of Beverly Swerlings historical novels for me. Because it gives such good background about NYC - a very important part of my life - I gratefully took all of it in. Also the healing/surgeon/doctor lineage story. And the wildness of life on the frontier. The stories of the operations were rough but real. We are lucky is many ways to be alive in the US of A at this moment. I went on to Shadowbrook, very romantic and full of adventure as well as history I didn't know about in the ...more
Linda Harkins
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author explores slavery, medical science, the early American bordello, and politics of the Ameican Revolution in this engaging novel set in New York City, originally the Dutch city of Nieuw Amsterdam. Among interesting historical trivia, Beverly Swerling gives us the origin of the term "grog," first used in the 1740s. This is the term applied by British sailors to their watered-down rum rations administerd by Admiral Edward Vernon, a naval officer always identified by his heavy grogram silk ...more
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time getting through this book, mainly because a.) I didn't like ANY of the characters, as they all seemed to be obnoxious, amoral, and given to seriously bad judgement, b.) there was too much awkward, seriously cringe-worthy sex, and c.) ditto gruesome surgery. It was well-researched, though, so I have to at least give her that; I did enjoy the slowly changing history of New York, but ultimately liked Rutherford's vignette approach better.
Shannon Zaremba
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New've come a long way!

Loved following generations of a family through the defining of New York! The writing was captivating and haunting and the characters so visual and emotional. The history of surgery and medicine, along with the history of New York and the life style of those times was an incredible read. Makes me appreciate how far we've come.
Pamela Reed
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For me, the perfect blend of history and family tales (with a little debauchery tied in). Loved it!
The detailing of the progression of medicine (surgeons vs. physicians vs. barbers) was very interesting...tied in with early New York...amazing accomplishment by this author...will certainly look for more from this author!
When I started City of Dreams I had such high expectations. This book had been on on my wish-list for the past 24 months. I sort of expected a magical and amazing reading experience, but unfortunately all I’m left with is mixed feelings. There were times - for a few paragraphs - I thought the story was superbly exciting, and then it felt back into a rather tedious narrative about diseases and lots and lots of primitive healing or (medieval) surgical procedures, amongst others. I think the main f ...more
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to give this an extra half star but Good Reads doesn't allow that. I am a huge fan of historical fiction, particularly NYC. This book delivered and I am about to start the next in the 4 novels of this series. The writing is solid, the characters developed well and have a staying power. A few images were quite vivid and frightening but I checked and some of the barbarism mentioned actually occurred. This author did all her research and made earliest Nieuw Amsterdam and New York not only co ...more
Jan 05, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had to stop reading this one, so I give it one star. It had a lot of promise, it's about the beginnings of New York City, but it got a little too crass for my taste. I prefer to like the main characters when I'm reading a book, and found that I didn't care a hoot what happened to any of them, which helped me make my decision to nix this one. Not recommended to anyone who prefers reading a "cleaner" novel.
James D.
Jan 19, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any pre-med student that likes harlequin romance books
A complete dissapointment. The author takes a solid topic like the history of New York, and has to save herself by throwing in overabundant gore and gratuitous sex for what seems to be shock value.It is very well researched, but the embellishment on the inner conflicts of the characters personalities just makes the book seem like a historical novel for mature audiences only.
Jen Davis
I was looking for something mindless set in old Manhattan, and that's what this was - fun to read, a good distraction etc. I wouldn't put it in the same group as Follett or McCullough, but that's ok. Wouldn't recommend to anyone, but I'm not sorry I read it.
Lauren Rickoff
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love historical fiction and this did not disappoint! Great book, well developed characters with an interesting story!
Nov 24, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Just started this but am really enjoying it so far. Susan recommended it. (Actually, it is her book.)
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really well written.
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating book about the history of New York. This is the first out of four and covers the period 1661 to 1798.
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
City of Dreams is the first in Beverly Swerling’s series of historic novels about early Manhattan. The story begins in 1661 when the Turner siblings, Lucas and Sally, arrive in Nieuw Amsterdam with nothing to their name but their medical skills and no one to trust but each other. The novel’s timeline ends three generations later, at the close of the American Revolution.

Almost as soon as the Turners set foot on dry land we are given the measure of their intelligence and resourcefulness; Lucas is
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Epic and adventurous. I enjoyed this juicy historical novel that follows a feuding family through multiple generations, layered over the creation of New York City. The second half of the book had stronger continuity, as the sections picked up characters just a few years later and didn't make huge 50 yr jumps.

If you fancy drama, pirates, whorehouses, war, sketchy taverns, dysfunctional families and history, all jumbled together, this will keep you pleasantly engaged for a week or so. The family
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like historical novels about colonial times
Recommended to Stephen by: Bill and Pamela

"Revenge is a dish best eaten cold" An engrossing read, the first part, with new insights about slavery in NYC and indeed the history of New York city up to 1798. I read it in about a week, but enthusiasm ebbed in the second half. I need to really like somebody in a big book like this to push me to at least four stars. Cuf is appealing but does not get a major role. Writing is on point, unpretentious This is a much better book than The Goldfinch, which is pretentious and overwritten. This one sh
Ariel Uppstrom
Interesting history, poor writing

The history portions were interesting but the writing was so bad I couldn't get into it. All the characters sounded similar and the dialogue was so childish I couldn't hep but laugh sometimes. The excessive use of certain exclamations was so out of place I couldn't read them most of the time.
Ariel Uppstrom
The history was interesting, but the writing was horrible! Characters kept repeating the same bizarre exclamations like "Bloody Sweet Jesus" every other sentence and every dialogue was so forced and contrived I just wanted it to end.
Jane Benstock
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This entire series is awesome!
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 - I started to lose interest towards the last 100 pages. Too many characters come in to play which is a little confusing.
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Am I being too critical 5 52 Nov 23, 2012 07:33PM  
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I’m told that a number of critics who have said kind things about my books, have been less kind about the very brief bio on my book jackets. First, don’t blame Simon & Schuster; it’s my fault. Publishers use the data supplied by the author for this kind of thing, and I didn’t supply much. I guess because it seems that almost everything needs a long explanation. Which is probably me being egoti ...more
More about Beverly Swerling...

Other Books in the Series

Old New York (4 books)
  • City of Glory: A Novel of War and Desire in Old Manhattan (Old New York, #2)
  • City of God: A Novel of Passion and Wonder in Old New York (Old New York, #3)
  • City of Promise: A Novel of New York's Gilded Age (Old New York, #4)

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