American Duchess eBook Ò Ebook


  • ebook
  • 368 pages
  • American Duchess
  • Karen Harper
  • 05 June 2016
  • 9780062748348

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American DuchessThis author apparently has a wide following and if you like fluffed up historical fiction you'll probably be a fanIf on the other hand you like a little than cardboard characters and weak dialogue if you like books that are based on REAL people that make you feel as if you'd met them and want to read about them just leave this one alone and move onPS Edith Wharton makes a cameo appearance here and talks about writing a book she will call The Buccaneers She never finished it but it was published as it was in 1938 Later Marian Mainwaring completed the book and there was a splendid TV miniseries based on it which you can find on YouTubeOne of the characters is Consuelo based not on Consuelo Vanderbilt but on her godmother Consuelo Yznaga Highly recommended Before Meghan and Harry another American ‘princess’ captured the hand of an English aristocrat Now Karen Harper tells the tale of Consuelo Vanderbilt her “The Wedding of the Century” to the Duke of Marlborough and her uest 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 thingsAt Blenheim Palace Consuelo is confronted with an overwhelming list of duties including producing an “heir and a spare” but her relationship with the duke uickly 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 lastFrom 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 uest to attain independence—at any price Her story was interesting but I felt like there was something missing I still advise reading it if you love history novels Listened via Scribd 45 starsThis novel I happened to see on one of my friend’s Instagram and had immediate book envy I absolutely love the cover and the novel itself sounded so intriguingLet me just rave about this cover art for just a moment The orange hues are incredible and if I was walking thru a bookstore and saw this book I would instantly grab it The cover art is elegant and appealing especially to a reader who loves this era like meSo as it happened I shamelessly begged for a copy of this book because I couldn’t stand the thought of missing out on it I only have basic knowledge of Consuelo Vanderbilt and was eager to learn about one of America’s iconsLike many other readers I think this book fit perfectly in with the most recent royal wedding of Meghan Markel and Prince Harry I was primed to read something like this book not just because I loved the royal wedding but I loved the idea of an American marry into British royalty Plus the turn of the century is one of my favorite periods to read about so this was a book I was primed to love from the startFor me this was a little on the fluffy side of historical fiction There was of course historical facts and references woven into the narrative but the bulk of the story focuses on Consuelo as a person rather than her historical impact which was perfectly fine with me Because of this her triumphs and struggles all felt a little personal to meI often found myself Googling little events and facts about Consuelo she led a fascinating life and I couldn’t get enough of her the that I read this book I absolutely detested the Duke of Marlborough or Sunny as many called him I felt so bad for her and was astonished that she persevered in a less than ideal situationI read this book much faster than I anticipated because I was completely taken in by the glitz and glamor of the heiress and the Duke I couldn’t help but stay up reading late into the night The first person narrative was very fitting for this book and made it enjoyable to read and was fast paced Like some other reviewers I wish I had known how many years separated some events in the overall timeline but in general I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction and all things royalSee my full review here Historical fiction is my favorite genre especially when it contains The Gilded Age family money and England American Duchess is the story of Consuelo Vanderbilt who was forced literally by her mother Alva to marry the Duke of Marlborough It was the in thing during this time for American Heiresses to jump the pond to find husbands with titles I found the book interesting but it went so fast barely delving into the characters and their lives It read a bit like a romance that had some historical fiction components to it What kinds of troubles can a young rich American beauty have? Well young Consuelo Vanderbilt did not want to marry the English Duke her mother handpicked for her Oh the horror She was rich and he had the title so in the end she was bullied into it even though she loved another man Oh boy the problems the rich have dont seem to be too awful to me but I guess everything is relative In the end as the feminist movement gained steamed Consuelo asserted herself and lived the life she wanted I enjoyed reading this historical fiction lite It was easy and entertaining “The beauty here was luring but deceptive”Consuelo Vanderbilt is a beautiful bride She is marrying Charles Sunny Spencer Churchill the ninth Duke of Malborough Their wedding is the event of the year Behind her veil Consuelo is shedding tears but they are not tears of happiness This is a marriage of convenience not love Consuelo will gain the title of Duchess while her new husband will earn the money he needs to fix his indebted Blenheim Palace With no other choice Consuelo becomes the Duchess of Malborough and makes up her mind to make the best of her situation As her marriage is but a shadow of a real marriage Consuelo focuses on her children and charities Its not an easy task but the outcome of the journey is worth all the painBefore Meghan Markle although that narrative has since taken an interesting but oh so incredible turn at least I think so there was Consuelo Vanderbilt Consuelo at the behest of her mother marries Sunny and leaves America for England She is a Duchess now living in a palace with every comfort and yet that palace and this marriage are her gilded cage Consuelo never wanted this her mother did As she navigates life as a royal Consuelo learns that not everything that glitters is gold Still she manages to make this place home and with the arrival of her children she learns to fight for what she truly loves While this book is a slow read its one that has an incredible story The pace could have been speed up a bit but I enjoyed the way in which the plot unfolded Characterization was well done as characters I initially disliked I could fell sympathy for at the end Consuelo's development in particular I enjoyed Her process of taking back her life her journey of empowerment is truly a testament of strong will I also uite liked how thw relationship between her and her mother shifted and changed As I knew nothing about her prior to reading this book I loved learning about Consuelo In all honesty I can not say that I had a hard time putting this book down that is largely due to the current situation but its a book that I uite enjoyedConsuelo was the eldest and only daughter of William Kissam Vanderbilt and Alva Erskine Smith At the time of her forced marriage to Sunny Consuelo was the richest American heiress to marry into British aristocracy She was beautiful charming and well mannered but her biggest allure was the fact that she was worth about 4 billion dollars in today's currency Sunny earned 25 million dollars by marrying her about 725 million in todays currency Consuelo was a Dollar Bride when an moneyed American married a British aristocrat; an exchange of money for a title Amidst all this chaos Consuelo found her voice and used her status to help others She formed a great friendship with her husband's first cousin Winston Churchill even when her marriage was a disaster Churchill was a freuent visitor at her house Its widely believed that Consuelo coined the term 'an heir and a spare' after she had her two boys In the end she was able to live a life of her choosing Side note Oddly enough I already own a copy of A Well Behaved Woman by Therese Fowler a novel about Consuelo's mother Alva I am really looking forward to reading that now as she was a complex character in this book to say the least I have been fascinated by the Vanderbilts and Blenheim Palace since the first time I visited Britain in the seventies The American Duchess is entertaining and educational I found myself searching for information to further my reading experience I strongly recommend this novel I enjoyed The Royal Nanny too and feel historical fiction is Karen Harper's forte Can’t wait to share this novel I really wanted to like this book as this time period fascinates me and I have loved touring Blenheim and the Newport cottages But I just couldn’t There was so much left unexplained and presumably pivotal years jumped over We all know the basic story of Consuelo Vanderbilt; one of the first of the American heiresses married into British aristocracy We know the marriage was one she didn’t want and was forced on her by her ambitious mother One of my main frustrations with the book is that it glosses over the disintegration of the marriage Arranged marriages were common on both sides of the Atlantic at that time and often the parties managed to rub along well enough So what happened with the Marlboroughs? One doesn’t need the sordid details but there must have been something significant for not only the Duke’s mother and sisters but Winston Churchill and ueen Alexandra to sympathize and support Consuelo Separation and divorce were not condoned at that time yet Consuelo suffered very little censure over it at a time when most would have lost their social standing completely There were other things that didn’t wow me such as dialogue that tended to be trite I’m sorry because this book had such great promise and it just didn’t deliver for me I wanted to like it I really did It was rather predictable for the era and unfortunately read like a boring tabloid or Page 6 I did however learn some interesting tidbits about the Vanderbilts 3 stars may be a bit harsh 3 34 seems realisticThere was one character who only played a minor role in the story but nevertheless has piued my interest the all too real Gladys Deacon Thanks to this book I do intend to look further into her long convoluted story


About the Author: Karen Harper

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