❮Reading❯ ➾ Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and a Mother in the Gilded Age (P.S.) Author Amanda Mackenzie Stuart – Saudionline.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and a Mother in the Gilded Age (P.S.)

  1. says:

    Outstanding biography The genre itself is difficult to approach it s not enough for the reader to be mildly curious about someone s life, you have to be interested for 500 pages If you have only a passing interest in the lives of the rich in the Gilded Age period which in many ways Alva and Consuelo embody don t pick this up If, however, your idea of bliss is a good few days spent reading about first wave feminism, architecture and the class system, this book is a must read Highly readable, detailed enough to be rich and generous in its attempt to give a sense of not only two extraordinary women but also of a whole era, it s a superb account of Consuelo and Alva s lives following both of their paths with equal energy It s also a story of finding your own path despite family ties Consuelo suffered from Alva s dominating personality throughout her childhood and teenage years and yet blossomed into a loving and lovely woman with varied, current interests I was pleasantly surprised to see the author didn t try and demonize Alva who definitely had her flaws eccentricity and total lack of empathy being two but was an astonishing character in her own right and I sided with many of her positions she seemed way ahead of her times and once said that the secret to happiness is not to look back or forward but to live in your time, demonstrating a clarity of thought that s strange for her I loved best the chapter dealing with both women s involvement with the struggle for female suffrage Books that open new doors and leave you eager to read about different things in my case, Winston Churchill and the suffragettes are the best because they manage to convey marvellous scope It s a fine balance to keep evoking a way of life that s almost completely extinct now save for the very few and the author does take pains to explain striking differences and focus intimately on just two figures who experienced those times but in an incomplete fashion and Stuart manages beautifully Excellent account and beautiful photographs Highly recommended.


  2. says:

    I picked this up because I saw it mentioned on Million Dollar American Princesses you re welcome, Britain and it s really fascinating And also sad, because can you imagine what these women would ve done if they d been given the opportunity to really do the things they were passionate about


  3. says:

    So on a trip to England this summer my family stopped by at Blenheim Palace I really knew nothing about that place, excpet that it was where Winston Churchill had been born As we walked through, one of the docents pointed to a rather large picture and said that is the 9th Duke of Marlborough the family that lives there and Consuelo Vanderbilt I was surprised to hear the Vanderbilt name in conjunction with the British aristocrats Especially when the docent explained that it was an arranged and unhappy marriage I am familiar with the Vanderbilt family because of a trip to the Bilt Estate in NC as a girl In the giftshop I found this book and decided to learn about Counselo and how she ended up at Blenheim.This book is quite a doozy and I don t recommend it for the faint of heart as it is over 500 pages of actual text and then about 100 of footnotes, etc Which is one of my biggest complaints about the book, it was so nuanced and detailed that to me it definitely began to drag on I think I could have enjoyed learning about Consuelo and her mother Alva with a lot less detail It seems that Stuart became very wrapped up in these women as she wrote it This book did help me achieve my objective in coming to understand how the wealthy Vanderbilt family ended up connected with the British aristocrats, and it also helped me better understand New York and society in the US in the late 1800s It made me eager to go back and re read Edith Wharton again.The book is really divided into 3 distinct parts1 Background on the Vanderbilts and how Counselo ended up marrying a Duke, and their eventual unhappiness in marriage2 How both Alva and Counselo s unhappiness in marriage led them to great involvement in the International Women s Suffrage movement3 What life was like for Counselo after her mother Alva s death, World War II, and her return to AmericaFor me, while there were interesting details in all 3 parts, I honestly would have enjoyed hearing the 1st story without the 2nd of the 3rd You would have to REALLY want to know a lot about the Vanderbilt women to need to read this whole book.


  4. says:

    Awful Really, really It took me over three weeks to make it even to page 207, and that s not even halfway through Much of the backing information an quotes is totally irrelevant, and I m actually really quite interested in the lives of these women A gross disappointment that left me feeling than unsympathetic to two women about whom I was quite interested in finding out I ll have to turn to other volumes.


  5. says:

    Good Lord, what a mother pure id, and the Versailles pastiche would break them all Reading Consuelo and Alva is less a mother daughter story than a story about a storm system, one that materially affected the lives of women everywhere in ways than I realized Alva Vanderbilt had the first great divorce settlement in American history at 39 and then forced her daughter into marriage with a feckless Duke to maintain her social position She then goes on to present herself as one of the leading lights in women s suffrage I read most of this history before in a biography of Consuelo that my own mother picked out for me when I was about 12, and the thing I still want of is of a social analysis threaded with psychological insight and less on the of clothing changes although one is speculative biography and the other is not It s worth noting that Winston Churchill came out of this world, and Edith Wharton was considered on the fringes of Alva s social set So I m now looking to rereading The Buccaneers as nonfiction.


  6. says:

    This well written and interesting dual biography of perhaps the Gilded Age s best remembered mother and daughter duo is a first time effort the author has a background in independent film making but it would seem this must be her true calling She handles the complex historical backgrounds of New York Society, the English Aristocracy, the Women s Suffrage Movement, British politics and two World Wars with deftness and aplomb Alva Erskine Smith, after her brilliant marriage to William Kissam Vanderbilt, first really came to the public s attention when she challenged Mrs Astor s supremacy as the leader of New York s society elite In a clever and tactical series of assaults she managed to outwit the leader of the 400 and earn a position at the forefront of the upper crust Her daughter, Consuelo, a beautiful but sheltered young woman, was famously married off in a carefully stage managed wedding and at the insistence of her mother, to the young, difficult, fortune seeking, Sunny , 9th Duke of Marlborough The marriage was considered quite a social coup for the Vanderbilts and Alva leveraged it for all it was worth but it brought the new duchess little joy Alva was renowned for her courting of the press and the role of publicity in the cultivation of social power is a recurring theme in the story We watch repeatedly as different players do battle through gingerly placed items or secretly leaked tips to the press Belying the notion that celebrities and publicity seeking are in any way a modern phenomenon However, the author shows us not only the glittering world of wealth and privilege on both sides of the Atlantic and a cast of famous supporting players everyone from the Duke s cousin Winston Churchill, to society hostess Elsa Maxwell, and author Edith Wharton Both of the subjects Alva the forceful, determined mother and Consuelo the lovely, dutiful daughter evolve in some surprising ways as their story unfolds and are revealed to have greater dimension than might first be suspected Over the course of the narrative each of the women adopt new values, pursue roles in politics and philanthropy, find new relationships and attempt to manage their private lives in public Quite a lot transpires to arrive at the Mrs Belmont and Madame Balsan we find in the final chapters Naturally, anyone with an interest in the Gilded Age, the Churchill family, or the writings of Edith Wharton and Henry James will enjoy this book tremendously But even for someone with no special affinity for these topics, this is a well paced, event filled portrait of two very different but equally compelling figures against a rich panorama of Victorian, Edwardian and modern history.


  7. says:

    The story of a millionaire heiress pushed into a love less marriage has to be interesting, and it is The first three parts of the book were great but the story and narrative slowed down in the latter part of the book I lost interest when Alva and her daughter Consuelo joined the suffrage movement, Alva in America and Consuelo in England I skipped entire pages of this part.


  8. says:

    Even I, with my love of all things regarding this time period, couldn t really get through this dry book It skipped around from different years and then doubled back, making you feel like you already knew what she was saying I also felt that important physical details regarding the main charaters were left out, which left me perplexed.


  9. says:

    A very well researched book about Consuelo Vanderbilt and her mother Alva Consuelo was forced pushed by her mother to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough of Blenheim Palace Both the Duke and Consuelo were in love with other people Needless to say, the marriage was not a success Later Consuelo did marry a Frenchman and they had a happy marriage Both Alva and Consuelo were involved in the suffragette movement in America and England This was a fascinating look at the two lives and the era in which they lived.


  10. says:

    This was a 3.5 Star book for me There were parts I found fascinating, but other parts lost me a bit.There is no doubt that the Vanderbilt family was an interesting part of American society in that period Alva certainly sounds like a woman you wouldn t want to mess with I am glad Consuela found her feet and became a powerful force of her own.


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