NOTORIOUS ELIZA by Basil Beyea

NOTORIOUS ELIZA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The thought of a mass rape did not disturb her at all."" However, Eliza, a 19-year-old drop-dead beauty, newly arrived in the New York of 1794, hopes she has left such scenes behind her in a Rhode Island brothel. Those formative years of this actual American courtesan were covered in The Golden Mistress, and now Beyea moves on to lively, sexy New York when Eliza took to the stage and to Aaron Burr's bed--via the embraces first of playwright William Dunlap and Alex (""Sandy"") Hamilton. But in 1800, when she becomes the mistress of the wealthy wine merchant Stephen Jumel, history takes over, and there is a noticeable flipping of filing cards as Beyea shoves everything in: Eliza and Jumel visit France; Eliza becomes a Napoleonic groupie; goes to jail for treason; recoups Jumel's fortune by New York real estate deals. Though accepted by French society, notorious Eliza never manages to make the same dream come true in New York society, even after Jumel is tricked into a marriage with her that lasts 28 years. And the autumn marriage to Burr lasts four months before separation, since there is not room for two such egos even in the Jumel Mansion (now a New York tourist attraction). Lots of unsleazy bedroom stuff and assorted fun on the way up--rather fiat on the long slide down.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Simon & Schuster