Friday, January 20, 2012

To Marry An English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol Wallace

"In 1895, nine American girls, including a Vanderbilt (railroads), LaRoche (pharmaceuticals), Rogers (oil) and Whitney (New York trolleys), married peers of the British new money, among them, a duke, an earl, three barons and a knight. It was the peak year of a social phenomenon that began when the entrenched members of old New York snubbed these "new money" families after the Civil War, sending them off to England in quest of class and bequeathing to us Anglomania, Preppy, the Jet Set, and even Princess Di.

Here is the American Heiress's story. Filled with tales of wealth and marriage, sex and snobbery -- and 100-year-old gossip that's still scorching -- To Marry an English Lord is a heavily illustrated and energetically presented popular history. A rich tapestry of essays, sidebars, fact-filled boxes, and lively anecdotes combined with a wealth of portraits, drawings, photographs, and other rare Victoriana -- it chronicles the era of Mrs. Astor, Edith Wharton, King Edward VII, and the Marlborough House Set. Over 100 heiresses swapped dollars for titles. To Marry an English Lord is the only book to tell how they did it."
(from goodreads)


Today I am spotlighting a book for Downton Abbey fans that might be worthwhile trying to locate in your library for a look-see. I read in The World of Downtown Abbey that Julian Fellowes was inspired to create the character of Cora after reading To Marry an English Lord. It's more of a pictorial and anecdotal book so it looks like an enjoyable way to learn about this period in history.

I've been reading many posts around the blogosphere with requests for books that might be similar to the Downton Abbey plot, and I'm also on the lookout for similar books. I've ordered a used copy, so I'm looking forward to receiving it. (Especially since someone in my household removed the season 2 episodes from the DVR lineup in order to make room for American Idol and House of Anubis! grrr! I have plotted my revenge......tonight I am steaming broccoli and clauliflower for dinner --they will be clutching their throats and begging for mercy! That will teach them to muck with mom's Downton Abbey episodes!!!!!)


Anjuli said...

You can also watch the Downton Abbey episodes on PBS- This book sounds think of these young girls going over in search of a Lord or someone of title- wld like to get my hands on it.

Siobian said...

This sounds like an interesting book! I'll have to add it to my TBR list. Good luck with your dinner of revenge tonight! :)

Audra said...

Loves marvelous -- I'm going to have to look for it!

Aarti said...

So I admit when I first saw this post, I thought it was going to be a review of a steamy historical romance novel, but I didn't really believe I'd see that on your blog here, so I kept reading and I'm glad I did! This sounds like the story behind Edith Wharton's novels!

Joanne said...

Oh, Aarti, I actually DO have a few steamy romances reviewed here! LOL!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

This books looks very interesting and I'm going to try and track it down. I can't help thinking of "The Buccaneers" which was a Masterpiece Theatre presentation in the 1990's. Very well done all star cast with many familiar faces too. Have you seen it? About 4 American heiresses who go to London for a season to catch titled husbands in the Victorian age.

Joanne said...

Julie - I haven't seen the Buccaneers but that is exactly the same premise as To Marry An English Lord. I found a used copy of the book on amazon for a few dollars. I'd love to view that masterpiece theatre presentation of the Buccaneers - thanks for the recommendation!

Staci said...

Oh how I laughed at your revenge!! I would quite literally wring someone's neck if they erased any of my Downton Abbey episodes!!

Yvette said...

Another definite addition to my TBR list, Joanne. I am a huge DOWNTON ABBEY fan. :)

I do remember years ago that Masterpiece Theater had several mini-series about a couple of these heiresses and their marriages.

Most of them didn't turn out very happy, unofortunately.

But I am still fascinated.

Evangeline Holland said...

Yeah...check it out at the library or haunt used book shops! The sellers on Amazon have shot the prices sky high for this book when prior to Julian Fellowes' recommendation, it was quite affordable (my copy cost 3 cents in 2009!).

I wrote a pretty comprehensive post about the American Heiress a few years back; you can read it here.

Joanne said...

Evangeline - I'm headed over to check out your review!

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A Light on the Veranda
The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile
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Maisie Dobbs
Howards End
Lady's Maid
Instruments Of Darkness
When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

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