The granddaughter of the richest man in America, Consuelo Vanderbilt was the prize catch of New York Society. But her socially ambitious mother, Alva, was adamant that her daughter should make a grand marriage, and the underfunded Duke of Marlborough was just the thing—even though Consuelo loved someone else.
The story of these two women is not simply one of empty wealth, Gilded Age glamour, and of enterprising social ambition. Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt is also a fascinating account of how two women struggled to break free from the deeply materialistic, stifling world into which they were born, taking up the fight for female equality. In this brilliant and engrossing book, Amanda Mackenzie Stuart suggests that behind the most famous transatlantic marriage lies an extraordinary tale of the quest for female power.
By Amanda Mackenzie, published by Harper Perennial, 656 pages, paperback.