Review

American Duchess by Karen Harper

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Published: William Morrow
Date: February 26th 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

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A woman’s life story to rival any one made up in a fiction novel.

Who knew that so many American wealthy heiresses shored up the coffers of the British aristocracy. In the late Victorian era and early twentieth century this was quite the thing.

At the age of eighteen Consuela Vanderbilt was forced into marriage by a very ambitious and over zealous mother, with the then Duke of Marlborough. The mother achieved the honor of her daughter becoming a Duchess, her husband gained millions from the Vanderbilt wealth to shore up the huge Blenheim Palace.

We track the life of this marriage, the visits with royalty and the life of other famous people they mingled with. She was a good friend of Winston Churchill and his wife, he being a cousin of the Duke.

This is the life of Consuela – her family, her loves, her losses. We see her seek meaning and happiness in what appears to be an historically accurate retelling. As there is no great plot other than a reasonably eventful life, I found the book dragged a little here and there. However just as I felt the drag, I turned the page and my jaw dropped. What drama.

I enjoyed seeing a woman grow in stature and self reliance, seeing her reach out and help others and for herself find happiness.

With a little touch of Downton Abbey, and a reminder of a rather  infamous 1980’s royal marriage, readers who are intrigued by the British aristocracy and their ways should find this interesting.

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8 thoughts on “American Duchess by Karen Harper”

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