Book: Elixir of the Incas by Edward Farbercategories: Book, 1890s New York, Vaudeville, Music Halls, Tin Pan Alley, Music Publishing, The Guilded Age, Gay 90s, 1890s Song Writers, Broadway, Minstrel Shows, Medicine Shows, Historical Novel
Edward Farberabout this book: It's not ancient history, but a historical novel that transports you to the bawdy, boisterous world of 1890s New York in the music halls and on the vaudeville stages of that fabulous era called the Guilded Age. One 5-star review said: "I find it hard to believe Mr. Farber could have written this book without really having been there himself. Perhaps he really is a time traveler!"
You'll follow Billy Brannigan and Danny Baron, two young entertainers intent on finding fame and fortune after spending their teen years with a medicine show pedaling the cure-all medicine, Elixir of the Incas, and performing in a traveling minstrel show.
Once they launch their song and dance act, they meet and mingle with talented performers, willing showgirls, colorful song writers in the zany world of Tin Pan Alley, and leading personalities of the era including boxing champ John L. Sullivan, popular composer Victor Herbert, famous impresario Tony Pastor and others.
It's a bumpy journey, however, filled with missteps and mayhem along the way. They each find romance but discover that love, like life, seldom follows the path chosen.
The question is, can Billy's relentless thirst for fame, wealth and respect conquer the calamities that befall him--lost career, lost love, failed friendship, intense personal conflict, even a charge of murder? Billy will have to use all the skills and ballyhoo that he learned in the medicine show to reach his goal.
Says author, Edward B. Farber: "Today, a song becomes a best-seller when it reaches the top of the charts in sales by the latest mode of delivery whether that be CD, digital, or whatever it may be now or in the future. Back in the 1890s, however, success of a pop song was measured in sheet music sales for the piano. The phonograph was in its infantcy, hardly know by the general population. In researching music of the era, I discovered a rich and vibrant music world centered in New York, and that world became the setting for my novel. I hope you will become as intrigued as I was."
what to read next: if you read and liked this book...
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