Lady of Yaddo: The Gilded Age Memoir of Katrina Trask
by Lynn Esmay
Release Date: May 8, 2013 French Mountain Press
Price $16 | ISBN 978-0-9884123-1-6
This novel is historical fiction. It is told in the voice and style of the real Lady of Yaddo, taken from correspondence, scrapbooks and records held in the Yaddo archives of the New York Public Library and from Katrina’s own literary works.
Millionaire’s wife, renowned poet, hostess to the well-known in her country estate, beloved of two strong men, Katrina Trask shares her tumultuous memoir of heartache and hope in the exuberant days of the Gilded Age. Her Yaddo estate gifted as a retreat for artists has nurtured since 1926 such cultural icons as John Cheever, Truman Capote, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Henry Roth, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Eudora Welty, Katherine Ann Porter, Bernard Malamud, Alice Walker, Mario Puzo. Yaddo continues as America’s premier artists’ retreat and has been the inspiration for 66 Pulitzer prizes, 61 National Book Awards, 40 National Book Critics Circle Awards, a Nobel prize and notable achievements in film and music.
The memoir lives on a landscape of the social and economic dichotomies of the time: revelry of racetrack and casino and Victorian sobriety; bigotry and greed and progressive reform; factory sweatshops and elite summer colonies; drumbeat of World War I and the peace of woods and water.
The Secretary of the Interior has just designated Yaddo as a National Historic Landmark, based on its valuable contribution to American culture.
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French Mountain Press
Diamond Point, NY 12824
Wiawaka Holiday House – July 10, 2013
Albany Institute of History and Art – October 3, 2013
DAR, Albany Chapter, at Saratoga Springs Public Library – October 5, 2013
Chronicle Book Fair speaker and author – November 3, 2013
Available in Stores:
Northshire Books, Saratoga Springs & Manchester, VT
Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY
The Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake
Lyrical Ballad Bookstore, Saratoga Springs
Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany
Departure, Shop of Capital Region Museums, Albany International Airport
Saratoga History Museum, Saratoga Springs
Pipits of Saratoga, Saratoga Springs
Trees of Bolton Landing
The Emporium, Sagamore Hotel, Bolton Landing
The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY
Hoss’ Country Store, Indian Lake, NY
About the Author
Lynn Esmay summers on Lake George where she sails past Katrina’s island Triuna, views Diamond Island from her own terrace, and enjoys The Lake George Club founded by Spencer Trask and other Gilded Age businessmen in 1909. After touring Yaddo in Saratoga Springs when the artists were not in residence, she felt a connection to the tragic but triumphant Katrina story, and embarked on the research and writing. She has a degree in English from Sweet Briar College and a master’s degree in history from Southern Methodist University. Lynn has taught in private schools in Dallas, Texas, Newport, Rhode Island, and Charleston, South Carolina. This is a debut novel.
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Excerpts from Lady of Yaddo
“Reader, you must know that my decision was not as easy as it might appear, and that loss of “what might have been” for over a decade I wore as a hair-shirt, carefully hidden away but raw and painful. Life has chastened me.”
Fictionalized Katrina Trask
“Mary, I ask you now, why is it a man should be loudly praised because he is willing to die for his principles in War, and yet be called a coward when he is willing to die for his principles of Peace?”
Fictionalized Katrina Trask
“The wretched inequality of life staggers me. What right have I to an income that enables me to live a life of ease and luxury whilst my fellow man can wrest by their toil only the merest pittance. It is all wrong.”
Katrina Trask, Chronicles of Yaddo