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Felix O'Day   By: (1838-1915)

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Felix O'Day by Francis Hopkinson Smith is a captivating and heartwarming novel that takes readers on a journey through the streets of New York City in the late 19th century. The book tells the story of Felix O'Day, a talented yet impoverished artist, and his determination to overcome the challenges that life throws at him.

The character development in this novel is exceptional. O'Day is a likeable and relatable protagonist, as he struggles to balance his dreams of becoming a renowned painter with the need to survive in a city where opportunities seem scarce. Smith skillfully portrays the emotions and the internal conflicts O'Day experiences, allowing readers to deeply empathize with his struggles and triumphs.

What sets this book apart is the vivid and detailed description of New York City during that era. Smith's prose skillfully paints a picture of a bustling and vibrant metropolis, filled with rich and diverse characters. From the smoky taverns to the crowded tenements, every aspect of the city comes to life, immersing readers in the setting and making them feel a part of the world.

The plot is well-paced, and Smith expertly weaves together multiple storylines without losing focus or overwhelming the reader. The author effortlessly balances moments of tension and excitement with quieter, introspective scenes that allow for reflection. It is through these quieter moments that we truly dive into the inner thoughts and motivations of the characters, adding depth and complexity to the narrative.

One of the highlights of the book is the exploration of social and economic disparities. Smith delves into the stark contrasts between the opulent lives of the upper classes and the struggle for survival faced by the working-class citizens. Through O'Day's experiences, the author sheds light on the hardships and injustices prevalent in society during that time period, offering a thought-provoking commentary on class divisions.

While the book maintains a consistent level of engagement throughout, there are a few minor flaws. Some readers might find certain passages overly descriptive, slowing down the pace of the story. Additionally, the ending feels somewhat rushed, with certain plotlines left unresolved.

Overall, Felix O'Day is a beautifully written novel that transports readers to a bygone era. Smith's ability to bring characters to life and create a vivid sense of place makes this book a must-read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. It is a tale of resilience, love, and the pursuit of one's dreams that will leave readers inspired and longing for more.

First Page:


By F. Hopkinson Smith

Chapter I

Broadway on dry nights, or rather that part known as the Great White Way, is a crowded thoroughfare, dominated by lofty buildings, the sky line studded with constellations of colored signs pencilled in fire. Broadway on wet, rain drenched nights is the fairy concourse of the Wonder City of the World, its asphalt splashed with liquid jewels afloat in molten gold.

Across this flood of frenzied brilliance surge hurrying mobs, dodging the ceaseless traffic, trampling underfoot the wealth of the Indies, striding through pools of quicksilver, leaping gutters filled to the brim with melted rubies horse, car, and man so many black silhouettes against a tremulous sea of light.

Along this blinding whirl blaze the playhouses, their wide portals aflame with crackling globes, toward which swarm bevies of pleasure seeking moths, their eyes dazzled by the glare. Some with heads and throats bare dart from costly broughams, the mountings of their sleek, rain varnished horses glittering in the flash of the electric lamps. Others spring from out street cabs. Many come by twos and threes, their skirts held high. Still others form a line, its head lost in a small side door. These are in drab and brown, with worsted shawls tightly drawn across thin shoulders... Continue reading book >>

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