Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and a Mother in the Gilded Age
by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart
This book came into my library years ago, mostly on the basis of the cover and a visit to Newport which sparked a desire to know more about the people of the Gilded Age.
It finally came to the top of the To-Be-Read pile because of a mystery set in Newport just before Consuelo's arranged (some say forced) marriage to the Duke of Marlborough. It was important to have a real life account of the event that was fictionalized in the book. As it turns out, the fictionalized account in the murder mystery was fairly accurate. Sometimes, the truth is better than anything an author could ever begin to imagine. The mystery did take some liberties with timing, and introduced an element for the mystery, but the basic story was actually what happened.
In the end, it was good to have read this book. The author presents a mostly objective view of both Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt, who did far more things than just arrange a marriage that symbolized the ambitions of the mothers of Gilded Age society daughters.
On the whole it was a very interesting and intriguing view of both women and the characters who populated their lives. Well worth the read, even if you never read anything about either woman again.
One Bear's Opinion: Four cups of tea, served with watercress sandwiches in the gazebo at Marble House
Happy Reading Everyone,