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From Fields of Gold [Hardcover]

Alexandra Ripley
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 18 1994
A powerful and turbulent turn-of-the-century family saga chronicles the creation of an American dynasty as an ambitious farmer rises to become a robber baron within the tobacco industry and pursues a passionate woman. 300,000 first printing.

Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In her first novel since the blockbuster Scarlett, Ripley offers a lively historical about Southern romance and robber barony. As the 19th century draws to a close, Francesca (Chess) Standish, the drab daughter of an old, once wealthy Virginia family, meets handsome Nathaniel (Nate) Richardson, a struggling North Carolina tobacco farmer with lofty dreams. Though Nate is seven years her junior, Chess thinks he's her only opportunity for happiness. So she persuades him to marry her in exchange for the patent on her grandfather's cigarette manufacturing machine-an invention certain to revolutionize the tobacco industry and make its owner rich. Nate, who values ambition over emotion, agrees and, taking Chess home to his hardscrabble family farm and disapproving mother, sets about transforming himself into a cigarette tycoon. Although Chess is passionately in love with her new husband, he believes that "ladies only put up with" sex, so, while his sexual relations with her remain cold and mechanical, he indulges himself with a series of mistresses, including his brother's scheming wife. Only after Chess is long married and on a visit to England does she prove her husband wrong-in the arms of her cousin, the rakish Lord Randall "Mephisto" Standish. Despite a labored start and the lack of development of several pivotal characters and plot lines, Ripley's feisty heroine and vivid re-creation of the era (there are glimpses of contemporary celebrities including Lillie Langtry and Oscar Wilde) should prove irresistible to readers-or at least to those not put off by protagonists who make their fortunes by nearly singlehandedly creating the cigarette industry. 200,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; Doubleday Book Club Super Release; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

From the writer who was brave-or foolish-enough to attempt a sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (Scarlett, 1990) comes this tale of a wealthy, "ethically challenged" tobacco baron and the woman he loves.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden! July 12 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Alexandra Ripley is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. From Scarlett, to On Leaving Charleston, and now From Fields of Gold, Mrs. Ripley has certainly gotten my attention. If you love an author who can mix drama, passion, humor, and reality with broad strokes of historical detail and intriguing dialogue then you'll love her novels. This one in particular tells the story of a lonely woman, Chess, from the post-Civil War ruins of tidewater Virginia who is so desperate for companionship that she agrees to give her grandfather's patent on a cigarette machine to a man that will agree to marry her and give her children. Boyishly handsome and crudely competitive Nate is the man that takes the deal and leads Chess into a life of triumph and turmoil. Follow Chess as she fails and succeeds in the attempt at finding her true spirit among all of her trials and tribulations. Ripley gives you a character with the strength and passion of Scarlett O'Hara, but the honor and heart of Melanie Wilkes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Gold! Dec 17 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Once I picked this book up I couldn't put it down. It has a very romantic and exciting plot that keeps changing and surprising you throughout the story (almost like a soap opera). Alexandra Ripley is the most discriptive author I have ever encountered and this made it very easy to picture the whole story in my mind and made the book even more enjoyable to read. I love a romantic story that ends well and this fits the bill. Chess was my favorite character throughout the story because most of it is written from her point-of-view. If you like reading about post Civil War, American history and love stories I completely recomend this book for you. It's a must read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Gold Jan. 19 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read two of Ms. Ripley's books, Scarlett and From Fields of Gold. Both are simply wonderful! Reading Scarlett years ago made me curious about Ms. Ripley's other works, and From Fields of Gold was NOT a disappointment! The characters are beautifully drawn, the details vivid, and the story moves at a wonderful pace. The main character, Chess, is multi-faceted and very interesting. Her husband, Nate, is also well-developed. You really get a FEELING of who these people are, how they think, what is important to them. Best of all was the ENDING! I won't reveal a thing except to say it is very, very satisfying! Enjoy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Book About the South April 25 2000
By Martha
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was a very good historical novel with likable characters and for the most part an intriguing plot. I never knew that Southerners and the English could be so scandalous! Chess is one of my favorites heroines ever, and Nate was interesting as well. I was so pleased with the ending, and any reader will be as well. I was a little displeased with Chess's behavior with Randall, not because she was having an affair, but with the utter consumption it had over her. And that Lily, wow, typical religious child gone wrong. Personally, I thought Ripley's Scarlett was superior, but I plan on reading her novels in the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book for any Historical Fiction Fan!! Jan. 20 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read Scarlett, Charleston, On Leaving Charleston, and now From Fields of Gold, and have loved reading everyone of them. I love this author!! From Fields of Gold tells the story of a woman, Chess, from the Civil War ruins of Virginia who agrees to give her grandfather's patent on a cigarette machine to a man that will agree to marry her and give her children. Nate is the man that takes Chess up on her offer which begins a life of wins and losses. As usual, Ripley presents a strong female character with passion and flaws. Don't miss this book!!!
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