Before there was Meghan Markle, there was Consuelo Vanderbilt, the original American Duchess. Perfect for readers of Jennifer Robson and lovers of Downton Abbey.
Karen Harper tells the tale of Consuelo Vanderbilt, her “The Wedding of the Century” to the Duke of Marlborough, and her quest to find meaning behind “the glitter and the gold.”
On a cold November day in 1895, a carriage approaches St Thomas Episcopal Church on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Massive crowds surge forward, awaiting their glimpse of heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. Just 18, the beautiful bride has not only arrived late, but in tears, yet her marriage to the aloof Duke of Marlborough proceeds. Bullied into the wedding by her indomitable mother, Alva, Consuelo loves another. But a deal was made, trading some of the vast Vanderbilt wealth for a title and prestige, and Consuelo, bred to obey, realizes she must make the best of things.
At Blenheim Palace, Consuelo is confronted with an overwhelming list of duties, including producing an “heir and a spare,” but her relationship with the duke quickly disintegrates. Consuelo finds an inner strength, charming everyone from debutantes to diplomats including Winston Churchill, as she fights for women’s suffrage. And when she takes a scandalous leap, can she hope to attain love at last…?
From the dawning of the opulent Gilded Age, to the battles of the Second World War, American Duchess is a riveting tale of one woman’s quest to attain independence—at any price.
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author KAREN HARPER is a former Ohio State University instructor and high school English teacher. Published since 1982, she writes contemporary suspense and historical novels about real British women. Two of her recent Tudor-era books were bestsellers in the UK and Russia. Harper won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for Dark Angel, and her novel Shattered Secrets was judged one of the best books of the year by Suspense Magazine.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Really liked this book. I did not like the way it just ended abruptly - and didn't take you all the way through to the end of Consuelo's life. What happened? You get a little bit of that in the Note From Author at the end, but ... why not just complete the story? I was really surprised. Lots of excitement at the end - with the WWII portion of the story (I don't want to give anything away), and then ... the story just ends. But all that came before was excellent.
The Wedding of the Century - November 6, 1895 Miss Consuelo Vanderbilt, age 18, is miserable as she prepares for her wedding day to marry Sunderland (Sunny), the ninth Duke of Marlborough, age 24, of Blenheim Palace. Consuelo’s mother, Alva Vanderbilt, is currently divorcing her father and is insisting that she marry a titled man, thus providing him with money he desperately needs. As much as she does not want to go through with the wedding, she has no other choice. Two Years Earlier At age 16, Consuelo adores Winthrop (Win) Rutherford, age 29. She, her parents and brothers are sailing to Europe from New York to present her to European society. Winthrop is traveling with them along with Oliver Belmont, a friend of her parents. Her mother is a force to be reckoned with. After a short time in Paris where she receives several proposals they head to London. There, her mother, Alva, zeroes in on the Duke of Marlborough whose family is in need of money to keep Blenheim Palace going. After the wedding, Consuelo works hard as she takes on her new role. Sunny is a tyrant of sorts, but she tries to work with him. After the birth of two sons, she feels like she has done her duty. Years ago, she had met Frenchman, Jacques Balsan. They are in love but apart from one another. Since Consuelo and Sunny have grown apart, she plans to live in London. Their separation is quickly accepted and Consuelo becomes quite involved with helping people who need it. This is a passion of her that she will follow the rest of her life. I’ve read quite a few novels about members of the Vanderbilt family and loved each and every one of them. I was impressed with Consuelo’s strength through all of the trials she faced and her love and devotion to Jacques, her sons, and grandchildren. This is a delightful book that I know readers of this time period are going to love. Enjoy! Copy provided by Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I enjoyed this historical fiction story of Consuelo Vanderbilt and we walk in her shoes as she journeys her life, and although being born with the preverbal silver spoon, we see her trials and accomplishments up close through the eyes of the author. Now I’ll admit I did Google Consuelo, and the story follows the time line, only we are with her and her thoughts. What a life this woman lived, and loved how she was able to forgive those who had hurt her, and was always giving to those less fortunate. A don’t miss book for the new year, and your enjoyment! I received this book through Edelweiss and the Publisher William Morrow, and was not required to give a positive review
I was excited to read this book because it seemed like an interesting topic. But I couldnt really relate to the main character--she was portrayed almost as a goody two shoes with no character flaws. She did charity work but revels in the thanks and acclaim she gets for it and its hard to feel sympathetic to a woman who spends her whole life being pampered and owning so many houses in so many countries that I frankly lost count. The writing style also was disappointing--skipped around through the years, dialogue was trite, and the ending reminded me of a Harlequin romance novel. All in all an intriguing topic but very one dimensional.